Sunday, Kenyan Amos Kipruto won his first London Marathon championship, while Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw defeated last year’s winner Joyciline Jepkosgei to win the women’s race.
Kipruto made a move with five kilometres remaining and completed the race in two hours, four minutes, and forty-nine seconds to win his first marathon championship after finishing second to world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in March in Japan.
Yehualaw, who is 23 years old, ran her first competitive marathon in April in Germany and won with the fastest debut time ever and an Ethiopian record. She was just as impressive in London, where she easily beat the rest of the field.
The other big names dropped out of the men’s race as it went on. Home favourite Mo Farah had to drop out with a hip injury, and Kipchoge was not there because he had just broken his own marathon record in Berlin last week.
Kenenisa Bekele, who ran the second-fastest marathon of all time and is one of the best long-distance runners of all time, and Ethiopian Sisay Lemma, who won last year’s race, both fell out of the lead group.
After that, there was never any doubt that Kipruto would win his first race in London. He crossed the finish line well ahead of second-placed Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase and third-placed Belgian Bashir Abdi, who was born in Somalia. Bekele worked hard to come in fifth place.
Brigid Kosgei, who holds the world record and has won the London Marathon twice, had to drop out because she hurt her hamstring. By the halfway point, seven women had pulled ahead, led by Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia.
One by one, the people in the lead group dropped out. Yehualaw fell at 33 kilometres, and Kenyan Jepkosgei picked up the pace to pull away from the rest of the runners with 5 kilometres to go.
Yehualaw took a commanding lead in the final stages. He crossed the finish line first in 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 25 seconds, ahead of Jepkosgei and Alemu Megertu of Ethiopia, who came in third.