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Kenya win Japan's Chiba road relay race

CHIBA, Japan (AFP) –

Joyce Chepkirui clinched victory for Kenya at the Chiba international mixed road relay race on Friday

Joyce Chepkirui (pictured in August) clinched victory for Kenya at the Chiba international mixed road relay race in Japan on Friday, as the country successfully defended its title.

Joyce Chepkirui clinched victory for Kenya at the Chiba international mixed road relay race in Japan on Friday, as the country successfully defended its title.

The 24-year-old runner overtook Japanese 5,000-metre national champion Hitomi Niiya with less than five kilometres (three miles) to go in the final leg of the six-stage marathon race.

“I’m very happy, because we won last year and won again. When I started, I was in position two, but I tried hard to win, so I’m feeling very happy,” said Chepkirui.

“It was very cold, so it was very tough for us,” she added.

When Kenya went into the final section, they were 11 seconds behind Japan, followed by the United States five seconds further back.

Chepkirui went into the lead 2.4-kilometres (1.5 miles) into the final section before crossing the finishing line in a final team time of two hours five minutes and six seconds.

The race is divided into five and 10 kilometre sections, apart from the last seven-kilometre leg, and totals a full marathon distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.2 miles).

Japan finished second in 2:05:16, the United States third in 2:06.36, and Russia fourth in 2:09:13.

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