OITA (Kyodo) — Kenyan runner Harun Njoroge pulled away with five kilometers to go to win his first Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon title on Sunday.

Kenyan runner Harun Njoroge finishes first in the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, at Oita Athletics Stadium on Feb. 5, 2012. (Mainichi)

Njoroge crossed the finish line at Oita Athletics Stadium in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 38 seconds and Mongolia’s Serod Batochir was a distant second in 2:11:05. Ethiopia’s Yakob Jarso finished a further eight seconds back.

In a field that had been weakened by the withdrawal of Kenya’s Daniel Njenga because of an enflamed Achilles tendon, marathon debutant Kohei Matsumura was the top Japanese finisher coming in fourth in 2:11:18.

Comedian-turned runner Hiroshi Neko, who obtained Cambodian citizenship so that he could have a shot at running in this summer’s London Olympics, slashed his personal best by more than seven minutes to finish 50th at 2:30:26.

Chiyuki Mochizuki won the women’s race for the second straight year, clocking 2:43:12.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon is not an Olympic qualifier for Japanese runners.

(Mainichi Japan) February 5, 2012

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