Kipsang and Kiplagat reign supreme for Kenya
13 April 2014
The sun-bathed British capital was treated to a wonderful demonstration of world class marathon running this morning as world record holder Wilson Kipsang broke the men's course record to regain the Virgin Money London Marathon title he won two years ago, while two-times world champion Edna Kiplagat made it third time lucky as she finally claimed the women's crown after finishing runner-up for the last two years.
Both led Kenyan one-twos as Kipsang shrugged off Stanley Biwott in the last mile of the race to cross the line 26 seconds clear in 2:04:29, while Kiplagat won a duel in the sun against her namesake Florence Kiplagat to win by three seconds in 2:20:21.
It was yet another day of Kenyan dominance in London as their great east African rivals from Ethiopia had to be satisfied with two third places, defending men's champion Tsegaye Kebede taking his fifth podium finish in six races here, and marathon first-timer Tirunesh Dibaba clinching third in the women's, just 14 seconds behind the winner.
By contrast, the much anticipated debut of Mo Farah ended in disappointment as the double world and Olympic champion track champion failed in his bid to break the long-standing British record, finishing tired and drained in eighth place, his time of 2:08:21 more than a minute outside his target.
It wasn't all bad news, though, as Farah took 12 seconds from the English marathon record of 1984 Olympic bronze medallist Charlie Spedding, set here in 1985.
"It was just a bad day at the office," he said.
It was a good day for Kipsang though as he added the London course record to those he already holds for the Berlin and Frankfurt Marathons. Two years ago he crossed the finish line more than two minutes clear after dominating the race in the second half. This year, he bided his time, kicking away from a pack of eight after 30km with a burst that only Biwott could match.
The two ran shoulder-to-shoulder for 10km, past the Tower of London and on to the Embankment, before Kipsang made his move with just over 2km left. From there he was never in trouble, and made up for a sluggish first half to break Emmanuel Mutai's three-year-old course record by 11 seconds, sprinting down The Mall to cross the line with arms outstretched.
"It's really great to win the London Marathon again, and I hope to do it again very soon," said Kipsang. "It was around 31km that I decided to push harder as I felt very comfortable and strong. I pushed again towards the finish line and that's when I broke away."
Kiplagat's win was harder to come by. She and Florence Kiplagat broke away from Dibaba when the Ethiopian stopped to pick up a dropped drinks bottle at the 30km feeding station, and then raced together towards Westminster, Florence at first looking stronger before Edna led them into the final 200m stretch towards the famous finish gantry.
Florence broke the world half marathon record recently and many were tipping her to win, but after three minor medals here in the past, this time Edna was having none of it.
"I felt very strong so I wasn't too worried," she said of the close finish.
While it was a good day for the women's world champion, it was a bad one for the men's as Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich finished 12th. It was a tough day for the women's Olympic champion too, as Tiki Gelana could only place ninth on her return to London a year after colliding with a wheelchair racer.
Marcel Hug won the men's wheelchair contest this year as Britain's David Weir was again denied in his bid to make London Marathon history with a seventh title. After finishing fifth last year, the six-times winner was outgunned by world champion Marcel Hug in a four-man sprint.
After placing second three times, the Swiss racer got it right at last as he led Weir across the line in 1:32:41, the Briton just one second behind.
Meanwhile, Tatyana McFadden proved that she is still the dominant force in women's wheelchair racing. The reigning champion hung on to her crown with ease, winning by a massive margin in 1:45:12, smashing her own course record by nearly a minute.
World champion Manuela Schar was second for Switzerland on her London debut, just ahead of former London champion Wakako Tsuchida, while Britain's Shelly Woods was ninth.
El Amin Chentouf was again the first athlete home in the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup. The Moroccan world champion defended his T11-13 title in 2:25:07, more than a minute outside the world record he set 12 months ago.
Spain's Maria Paredes Rodriguez retained the women's T11-13 race in 2:59:22, smashing the world record she set here a year ago.
Britain's Richard Whitehead won the T42 race in 3:42:04, while Brazil's Tito Sena added the T44-46 World Cup title to his T46 marathon gold from the London 2012 Paralympics, beating last year's champion Alessandro di Lello of Italy.
Santiago Sanz won the men's T51/52 wheelchair race in 1:58:16, edging out USA's Raymond Martin and Britain's Rob Smith.