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Marathon defeat adds to Kenya’s pain

Keith McGhie @PeopleSports11

There was massive disappointment for Kenya in the marathons on a dramatic heat-affected final day of competition yesterday.

As morning temperatures soared even ultimate gold medallists Michael Shelley, from Australia, who defended his Glasgow 2014 title, and Helalia Johannes, who became Namibia’s first ever Commonwealth winner of the women’s race, struggled.

But Shelley’s second successive gold, he won at Glasgow 2014 too, came about as a result of the alarming collapse through heat exhaustion, just a few kilometres from the finish, of previous leader Callum Hawkins of Scotland.

Hawkins held a four minute lead over Shelley when he started meandering uncontrollably. The Scotsman stumbled onto the grass verge then, having taken many seconds to struggle back to his feet and totter on, he fell into the barrier crossing the Gold Coast Highway bridge over the Nerang River, went down again and this time didn’t get up.

While Hawkins received treatment and was taken away in an ambulance, Kenya’s hope Julius Karinga and 44-year old twice former Gold Coast Marathon winner Kenneth Mungara could only manage ninth and 10th in times of 2:24.26 and 2:25.42.

Sheila Jerotich faired slightly better in the women’s race, at the front of the leading group until also becoming distressed in the hot and humid conditions around 5km from the finish and finally coming home fourth, three minutes and 39 seconds behind winner Johannes, who crossed the line in 2:32.40.

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