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Mutiso Munyao gives Kenya another London Marathon win after tribute to Kiptum

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Mutiso Munyao gives Kenya another London Marathon win after tribute to Kiptum
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Sport

Mutiso Munyao gives Kenya another London Marathon win after tribute to Kiptum

2024-04-21 20:23 Last Updated At:20:40

LONDON (AP) — Alexander Mutiso Munyao delivered another win for Kenya on a day the London Marathon remembered last year's champion Kelvin Kiptum.

A race that started with a period of applause for Kiptum, who was killed in a car crash in Kenya in February, ended with his countryman and friend running alone down the final straight in front of Buckinhgam Palace to earn an impressive victory in his first major marathon.

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Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya reacts after winning the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

LONDON (AP) — Alexander Mutiso Munyao delivered another win for Kenya on a day the London Marathon remembered last year's champion Kelvin Kiptum.

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya reacts after winning the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya reacts after winning the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Runners including Tamirat Tola, Kenenisa Bekele and Norman Shreeve at the start of the men's elite race at the London Marathon, London, Sunday April 21, 2024. (Zac Goodwin/PA via AP)

Runners including Tamirat Tola, Kenenisa Bekele and Norman Shreeve at the start of the men's elite race at the London Marathon, London, Sunday April 21, 2024. (Zac Goodwin/PA via AP)

Mutiso Munyao said he spoke to Kiptum after his win in London last year and that the world-record holder is always on his mind when he's competing.

“He’s in my thoughts every time, because he was my great friend,” Mutiso Munyao said. “It was a good day for me.”

It was a Kenyan double on the day, with Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir pulling away late to win the women’s race and cement her status as the favorite to defend her gold in Paris.

With around 400 meters (yards) to go to, Jepchirchir left world-record holder Tigst Assefa and two other rivals behind to sprint alone down the final stretch. She finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 16 seconds, with Assefa in second and Joyciline Jepkosgei in third.

Her time was more than 4 minutes slower than Assefa’s world record set in Berlin last year, but it was the fastest time ever in a women-only marathon, beating the mark of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017. The elite women’s field in London started about 30 minutes ahead of the elite men.

For Jepchirchir, though, the main goal was to show Kenya's selectors for the Olympic team that she should be on the team again in Paris.

“So I was trying to work extra hard to (be able to) defend my title in the Olympics,” she said.

Mutiso Munyao denied 41-year-old Kenenisa Bekele a first London Marathon victory by pulling away from the Ethiopian great with about 3 kilometers to go Sunday for his biggest career win.

Mutiso Munyao and Bekele were in a two-way fight for the win until the Kenyan made his move as they ran along the River Thames, quickly building a six-second gap that only grew as he ran toward the finish.

“At 40 kilometers, when my friend Bekele was left (behind), I had confidence that I can win this race,” the 27-year-old Mutiso Munyao said.

He finished in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 1 second, with Bekele finishing 14 seconds behind. Emile Cairess of Britain was third, 2:45 back.

Bekele, the Ethiopian former Olympic 10,000 and 5,000-meter champion, was also the runner-up in London in 2017 but has never won the race.

Mutiso Munyao is relatively unknown in marathon circles and said he wasn't sure whether this win would be enough to make Kenya's Olympic team for Paris.

“I hope for the best,” he said. “If they select me I will go and work for it.”

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya reacts after winning the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya reacts after winning the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the women's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya reacts after winning the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya reacts after winning the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Alexander Mutiso Munyao of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

Runners including Tamirat Tola, Kenenisa Bekele and Norman Shreeve at the start of the men's elite race at the London Marathon, London, Sunday April 21, 2024. (Zac Goodwin/PA via AP)

Runners including Tamirat Tola, Kenenisa Bekele and Norman Shreeve at the start of the men's elite race at the London Marathon, London, Sunday April 21, 2024. (Zac Goodwin/PA via AP)

Next Article

Climbing limits are being set on Mount Fuji to fight crowds and littering

2024-05-21 14:41 Last Updated At:14:50

TOKYO (AP) — Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails on Japan's iconic Mount Fuji will have to book a slot and pay a fee as crowds, littering and climbers who try to rush too fast to the summit cause safety and conservation concerns at the picturesque stratovolcano.

The new rules for the climbing season, starting July 1 to Sept. 10, apply for those hiking the Yoshida Trail on the Yamanashi side of the 3,776 meter- (nearly 12,300 feet-) high mountain that was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013.

Only 4,000 climbers will be allowed to enter the trail per day for a hiking fee of 2,000 yen (about $18). Of those slots, 3,000 will be available for online booking and the remaining 1,000 can be booked in person on the day of the climb, Yamanashi prefecture said in a statement via the Foreign Press Center of Japan on Monday. Hikers also have an option of donating an additional 1,000 yen (about $9) for conservation.

Climbers can book their slots via the Mount Fuji Climbing website, which is jointly run by the Environment Ministry and the mountain's two home prefectures, Yamanashi and Shizuoka.

Mount Fuji is divided into 10 stations, and there are four “5th stations” halfway up the mountain from where the Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri, and Gotemba trails start to the top.

Under the new system, climbers must choose between a day hike or an overnight stay at the several available huts along the trail. The day of their climb, they are given a QR code to be scanned at the 5th station. Those who have not booked an overnight hut will be sent back down and not allowed to climb between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m., mainly to stop “bullet climbing,” or rushing to the summit without adequate rest, which authorities are worried puts lives at risk.

A symbol of Japan, the mountain called “Fujisan” used to be a place of pilgrimage. Today, it especially attracts hikers who climb to the summit to see the sunrise. But the tons of trash that's left behind, including plastic bottles, food and even clothes, have become a major concern.

In a statement, Yamanashi Gov. Kotaro Nagasaki thanked people for their understanding and cooperation in helping conserve Mount Fuji.

Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Mount Fuji, where climbers can also access the mountain, has sought a voluntary 1,000-yen ($6.40) fee per climber since 2014 and is considering additional ways to balance tourism and environmental protection.

The number of Mount Fuji climbers during the season in 2023 totaled 221,322, according to the Environment Ministry. That is close to the pre-pandemic level and officials expect more visitors this year.

Just a few weeks ago, a town in Shizuoka began setting up a huge black screen on a sidewalk to block a view of Mount Fuji because tourists were crowding into the area to take photos with the mountain as a backdrop to a convenience store, a social media phenomenon known as “Mount Fuji Lawson” that has disrupted business, traffic and local life.

Overtourism has also become a growing issue at other popular tourist destinations such as Kyoto and Kamakura as foreign visitors have flocked to Japan in droves since the coronavirus pandemic restrictions were lifted, in part due to the weaker yen.

Last year, Japan had more than 25 million visitors, and the figures in 2024 are expected to surpass nearly 32 million, a record from 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Workers set up a huge black screen on a stretch of sidewalk at Fujikawaguchiko town, Yamanashi prefecture, central Japan Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Just a few weeks ago, the town began setting up a huge black screen to block a view of Mount Fuji because tourists were crowding into the area to take photos with the mountain as a backdrop to a convenience store, a social media phenomenon known as “Mount Fuji Lawson” that has disrupted business, traffic and local life. (Kyodo News via AP)

Workers set up a huge black screen on a stretch of sidewalk at Fujikawaguchiko town, Yamanashi prefecture, central Japan Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Just a few weeks ago, the town began setting up a huge black screen to block a view of Mount Fuji because tourists were crowding into the area to take photos with the mountain as a backdrop to a convenience store, a social media phenomenon known as “Mount Fuji Lawson” that has disrupted business, traffic and local life. (Kyodo News via AP)

FILE - The shadow of Mount Fuji is casted on clouds hanging below the summit, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Japan. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE - The shadow of Mount Fuji is casted on clouds hanging below the summit, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Japan. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE -A group of hikers climb to the top of Mount Fuji just before sunrise as clouds hang below the summit Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Japan. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE -A group of hikers climb to the top of Mount Fuji just before sunrise as clouds hang below the summit Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Japan. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2010 file photo, snow-covered Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak at 3,776-meters tall (12,385 feet), is seen from an airplane window. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2010 file photo, snow-covered Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak at 3,776-meters tall (12,385 feet), is seen from an airplane window. Those who want to climb one of the most popular trails of the iconic Japanese Mount Fuji will now have to reserve ahead and pay a fee as the picturesque stratovolcano struggles with overtourism, littering and those who attempt rushed “bullet climbing,” putting lives at risk. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

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