Beijing, Sep 17 (IANS) Salah Eddine Bounasr became the first Moroccan man to win the 37th edition of the Beijing Marathon here on Sunday while Melesech Tsegaye Beyene extended Ethiopians’ winning streak in the women’s race to four years.

Bounasr, 26, winner of the Guangzhou Marathon last year, timed 2 hours, 11 minutes and 18 seconds to win the IAAF Gold Label Road Race. 2014 winner Girmay Birhanu Gebru of Ethiopia trailed in 2:11.26 while Stephen Kwelio Chemlany of Kenya finished third in 2:11:50, reports Xinhua news agecny.

“It is a little bit hot today. I tried my best in the race but still could not break 2:09 (the minimum requirement for the full prize money),” said Bounasr, who was not considered a favourite before the race. “I came here for the win and I am glad to accomplish the goal.”

Defending champion Mekuant Ayenew Gebre of Ethiopia only managed a seventh finish.

In the women’s race, Beyene, 23, claimed the title in 2:27:44. Kenya’s Rebecca Kangogo Chesir, runner-up at the Vienna Marathon this year, took second in 2:30:31. Rahma Tusa Chota of Ethiopia was third in 2:33:22.

“It’s very nice, very good,” said Beyene, runner-up of the Barcelona Marathon in March.

“It’s a little bit hot. I didn’t expect to win, but I am really happy. This is my first time coming to Beijing Marathon. They city is very good, amazing. I hope I can come here next year.”

Some 30,000 runners took part in the 37th edition of the Beijing Marathon.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.