“Today was my first marathon, I've run some half marathons and I've done well, I really did not expect this mark."
Kenya’s Paralympic distance runner Jonah Kipkemoi Chesum was the surprise winner of the Barcelona marathon in Spain on Sunday (12 March), crossing the line in 2:08:57 in his first ever race over the 26.2mile distance.
Chesum had started his debut marathon as one of three pacemakers, but just after the 30km mark he realised a winning performance was on the cards as the favourite, Ethiopian Sisay Jisa Mekonnen, dropped out injured.
The 27-year-old stretched the field, and by the time the finish line approached he had established a significant lead, taking the tape nearly 30 seconds clear of his compatriot Jacob Kurui, another of the pacemakers, who finished second in 2:09.24.
“Today was my first marathon, I've run some half marathons and I've done well, I really did not expect this mark," said Chesum after the race.
The Kenyan, who suffered an injury to his right hand as a child, has in recent years been focussing on the UK road-race circuit, competing successfully in a number of 10km and half marathons.
At the London Paralympic Games in 2012 he competed in the 800m and 1,500m T46, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.