LONDON – Eliud Kipchoge won the London Marathon for the first time on Sunday, leading home a Kenyan top four ahead of defending champion Wilson Kipsang.
Kipchoge, a former world 5,000-meter champion, completed the 42.2-km route in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 42 seconds in overcast conditions in the British capital.
“It was a tough race,” said the 30-year-old Kipchoge, who won the Chicago and Rotterdam marathons last year. “My training paid off and it went to plan. The crowd were wonderful and lifted me for my sprint finish.”
In a tight finale, Kipchoge broke clear of Kipsang in the final 800 meters before waving and pointing at the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace as he finished five seconds in front of his compatriot. They were followed by Dennis Kimetto and Stanley Biwott.
Kipsang holds the course record of 2:04.29, which he set last year.
While Kenya dominated the men’s race, a four-year winning streak for the East African nation ended in the women’s event.
Tigist Tufa became the first Ethiopian woman to win in London since Derartu Tulu in 2001.
The 28-year-old Tufa won her first major marathon in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 22 seconds, with two-time winner Mary Keitany of Kenya 18 seconds adrift. Tufa’s compatriot, Tirfi Tsegaye, was third.
“The weather was very difficult for me and I found it a very slow race until the end and I was pushed,” Tufa said. “I was unwell at the end but I am very happy that I am OK now. I’ve always dreamed about winning the London Marathon.”
Running with the masses rather than the elite field was three-time winner Paula Radcliffe. The world record holder completed what could be her final marathon in an unofficial time of 2:36.55.
“I really didn’t care about my time, I just wanted to thank as many people as possible,” said Radcliffe, who still holds the course and world record of 2:15:25, set in 2003.
The Americans swept the wheelchair races, with Tatyana McFadden winning for the third successive year in London and Joshua George capturing the men’s title for the first time.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5