Records were broken today in London; not world records unfortunately, but the fact remains that 41,000 people lined up to participate this year on a hot day in London. The event in question? The Virgin Money London Marathon. A magnificent 26.2 mile race around the streets of Britain’s capitol. With world class elite fields and thousands of casual athletes running to raise money for their charities – it was a sight to behold.
In the Elite Women’s race, a face off for the ages was rearing to go with Mary Keitany (the clear favorite) getting chased by Tirunesh Dibaba, one of the sisters to a family which claims an abundance of World and Olympic medals. The race set off with clear intentions, Keitany set off well within World Record pace (Held by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe – 2:15:35) with Dibaba hot on her heels, by the 10k mark they were all alone. However, as the rave unfolded, it was clear that both women were not feeling up to the task, with Dibaba dropping off the pace, then soon dropping out of the race. Keitany did not stop, but after a subsequent of 5:40 miles, was soon caught by Vivian Cheruiyot – the World 5000m champion on the track. Stepping up in distance, Cheruiyot demonstrated that she was a force to be reckoned with on the roads, having no trouble claiming the victory in 2:18:31 – a 5 minute PB. Brigid Kosgei came in for a fine run in second (2:20:13) with Tadelech Bekele securing the final podium position (2:21:40). Despite a brave race and a World Record chase; Mary Keitany finished back in 5th, clocking 2:24:27. The first Brit back today was Aldershot’s Lily Partridge, coming home in 8th place in a PB of 2:29:24.
In the Elite men’s race, as many eagerly anticipated the return of Mo Farah; there was a clear favorite before the gun went off – Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge was involved in Nike’s ‘Sub 2’ project last year, and covered the 26.2 miles in 2:00:25 – an unofficial World Record, to go along with his 8 victories out of his 9 marathon races. It was a fierce opening half, covered by the leaders in 61 minutes flat. Unheard of in the competitive marathon, the men were also on track for a World Record. The leading group consisted of several fine athletes, with likes of the great Keninesa Bekele, Mo Farah and last years victor Daniel Wanjiru. Mo Farah demonstrated his inexperience at the discipline as he struggled to pick up his water bottle at 3 consecutive water stations – perhaps showing Kipchoge even more that he has nothing to worry about. Approximately the 35km mark, Kipchoge made a big surge, hoping to break all of the other athletes. To nobody’s surprise, Mo Farah Joined, with the surprise presence of Tola Kitata, who the athletics world did not predict to feature. The three broke away clear of a world class field, with Kipchoge leading the entire way, it was his race to lose. Farah was the first to drop off, taking a turn for the worse in the latter stages of the race, fading badly. It wasn’t till on a few miles to go until Kitata faded, proving to be a good race for the Kenyan. After falling off World Record pace, Kipchoge cruised to the finish line in a time of 2:04:17. Kitata crossed the line in second in a big personal best of 2:04:49, with a very tired Mo Farah coming in third in 2:06:21 – breaking a 33 year old British Record in the process.
A good showing also came in the Wheelchair races, with both the men’s and women’s races podium positions only being determined in the final 100m. In the men’s race, David Weir (GBR) narrowly claimed the victory over Marcel Hug (SUI), with both athletes been given the same finishing time of 1:31:15.Daniel Romanchuk (USA) crossed the line just a second behind the others, claiming third.
In the women’s wheelchair race, an unexpected victor emerged in the shape of Madison de Rozario (USA), who demonstrated her fine finish in the last 100m to pull away from perhaps the race favorite – Tatyana McFadden (USA), with again both athletes crossing the line in the same time of 1:42:58. Only two seconds behind, Susannah Scaroni (USA) claimed third, proving the podium dominated by Americans.
A fine showing for all the athletes there today, with exciting races all around.
Full results can be found here: