enya’s Eliud Kipchoge has become the third runner ever to win back-to-back Olympic marathon gold medal.
This was due to a dominant performance in challenging conditions on the last day of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.
On another hot and humid day in Sapporo, the Rio champion and world record-holder triumphed in two hours eight minutes 38 seconds.
He crossed the line 80 seconds before Dutch Abdi Nageeye, the largest winning margin at an Olympics since 1972.
Belgian Bashir Abdi won the bronze medal as he came in two seconds later, beating Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono to the finish line by two seconds in an exciting final sprint.
The 36-year-old Kipchoge, widely considered the greatest marathoner of all-time, made a decisive move after the 30-kilometre mark.
In the process, he broke up the leading pack and quickly created an unassailable gap.
Within five kilometres, he was 27 seconds ahead of the chasing group.
Kipchoge then went on to become the third runner ever to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles.
It was a feat only achieved by 1960 and 1964 champion Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia and East German Waldemar Cierpinski, who won in 1976 and 1980.
Among his achievements, the Kenyan pieced together an unparalleled 10-race unbeaten streak over a five-year stretch which ended with an eighth place at the 2020 London Marathon.
Though the race started at 7 a.m (2200 GMT Saturday), temperatures were already 26 degrees Celsius, with a humidity of 80 per cent.
Luckily for the runners it was a cloudier day than Saturday and temperatures did not raise as quickly as during the women’s race a day earlier.
That race was brought forward an hour in order to protect the athletes from the heat.
The heat and humidity however did make scores of victims, with some 30 runners —— over one quarter of the starters —— not finishing the race.
These included Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who won the 2020 London Marathon which ended Kipchoge’s streak.
Last to cross the finish line was Ivan Zarco Alvarez of Honduras, who was cheered on by spectators along the route as he finished in 2:44:36.
Marathons and the race walks at the Games were taken out of Tokyo to Sapporo, some 700 kilometres north of the Japanese capital.
This was in order to avoid searing temperatures —- but athletes in Friday’s race walks still competed in heat of over 30 degree Celsius.