TOKYO — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first Olympic men’s marathon repeat champion in 40 years Sunday, winning in Sapporo on the final day of the Tokyo Games.
Kipchoge, 36, marathon world record holder (2:01.39), bolted away from the lead pack just past 30K and breezed to a win in 2:08.38, more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field.
He is the first to win consecutive Olympic men’s marathon titles since East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski at the 1976 and 1980 Games. Before that, Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila won twice in a row in 1960 and 1964 in Tokyo.
In a competitive finish for the remaining two medals, Abdi Nageeye of Netherlands won in a kick for silver over Belgium’s Bashir Abdi (bronze) and Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono.
Galen Rupp, a four-time U.S. Olympian, was the top American finisher, taking eighth in 2:11.41. Rupp is coached by Northern Arizona’s Mike Smith.
Rupp was marathon bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics and 10,000-meter silver medalist at London in 2012.
American Abdi Abdirahman of Tucson, 44, running in his fifth Olympics, was 41st in 2:18.27.
The lead pack went through the midway point in 1:05 with Stephen Mokoka of South Africa leading.
The marathons and distance walking events were held in Sapporo, site of the 1972 Winter Olympics, instead of Tokyo hoping for more moderate temperatures.
But it was hot enough Saturday for the women’s marathon time to be pushed up an hour. The men started their 26.2-mile trek at the regularly scheduled 7 a.m. with overcast, temperature at 79 and 78 percent humidity. In Tokyo at the same time, there was heavy rain.
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