Sumgong, winner of this year’s London marathon, timed 2hr 24min 04sec over the 42km-long course on Sunday with temperatures hitting 28° C.
“It was very hot but everybody had to get through the heat. I had to control and listen to my body very carefully,” said Sumgong. “I had prepared that I would move out at kilometre 35 and my body was responding very well, as well as my movement. I am very grateful. This is the first gold medal for Kenya (at Rio 2016).”
Bahrain claimed only their second medal in any sport when Kenyan-born Eunice Kirwa took silver, 9sec adrift of Sumgong, while defending world champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia claimed bronze, at 26sec.
Sumgong admitted, however, that she knew victory was hers with 2km to run, saying it made up for her disappointing showing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“I was in Beijing but I was pretty disappointed that I wasn’t able to win a medal, but I knew one time, one day, I’d be somewhere,” she said. “I was never worried that I’d lose this. At the 40km I knew the gold was mine.”