Kenya: 'I Was Scared of Ethiopian Great Bekele,' Munyao Admits After Epic London Marathon Win

Nairobi — Newly crowned London Marathon champion Alexander Munyao admits he was a bit scared of multiple Olympics and world champion Kenenisa Bekele when the race came down to both of them.

Munyao said the Ethiopian's decorated career was playing on his mind but had to gather the courage to give his best to cross the finish line first.

"There was a little fear because I know him...he's a great man but I said to myself to be confident until the last minute," he said.

The Prague Marathon champion stormed to victory in 2:04:01, ahead of two-time London champion Bekele who clocked 2:04:14 as Great Britain's Emile Cairess came third in 2:06:46.

Munyao said the win was also a perfect tribute to fellow Kenyan, Kelvin Kiptum, who won last year's edition in 2:01:25.

The world record holder passed away in February this year in a tragic road crash along the Eldoret-Kaptagat road - together with his coach Gervais Hakizimana.

"He was in my thoughts throughout the race because he was my friend. I ran with him at the Valencia Marathon in 2022 and then he came here and won the London Marathon. He went and broke the world record (in Chicago)...may he rest in peace," Munyao said.

With the clock ticking towards the summer Olympics in Paris, the 27-year-old is keeping his fingers crossed for a place on Team Kenya for the men's marathon.

It is a chance he is ready to grab gleefully with both hands and make the most of.

"When they consider me, I am okay with it. I hope for the best. If they select me, I will go and work for it. When I make the podium, I will be very happy and my Kenyan people will be happy too," the Kagawa Murume International Half Marathon champion said.

Munyao is part of the men's provisional team for the quadrennial games, alongside two-time Olympics champion Eliud Kipchoge, Tokyo Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, the 2022 Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Timothy Kiplagat and the 2022 Madrid Marathon champion Vincent Ngetich.

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