The much-anticipated duel between two of the world’s fastest marathon runners, Eliud Kiochoge and Kenenisa Bekela, will not take place after the latter withdrew from the Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon.
Bekele, who missed Kipchoge’s world lead time by just two seconds in September last year at the Berlin Marathon, withdrew from the London race with a calf injury.
This is a big blow to the Ethiopian who was touted as among the pre-race favourites.
The injury has clearly robbed the world of what would have been an epic battle of titans staring Bekele, a three-time Olympic champion, and Kipchoge, the reigning Olympic champion.
“This race was so important to me. My time in Berlin last year gave me great confidence and motivation and I was looking forward to show that again. I have worked so hard for it,” said Bekele.
The Ethiopian missed Kipchoge’s world record by two seconds when he won in Berlin in 2019 and he had promised to make up for the mishap in London.
But it is now clear that Kipchoge will head into the start line with a little pressure off his shoulder as he chases a record fifth London title.
Kipchoge posted the world’s fastest time: two hours, one minute, 49 seconds in 2018 in Berlin.
Kipchoge is a man of records, though. Last year, the Kenyan became the first human being to run a full marathon in under two hours at the INEOS Challenge where he cut the tape in an unofficial time of one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
So a meeting with between Kipchoge, the world record holder, and the Ethiopian who holds 17 world titles over cross-country, track and road and the world record in 10,000m would have been an athletic blockbuster.
“To run against Eliud Kipchoge, the two of us, having prepared well. I’m sure something could have happened on that day,” Bekele was quoted by the Olympic Channel last year.
But unfortunately, Bekele could not recover from an injury he picked in Ethiopia in September.
Eliud Kipchoge, the world marathon record holder, left Kenya early this week to defend his Virgin London Marathon title, a race that will bring together some of the world’s greatest long distance racers in recent times.
The Kenyan long distance runner will face off with Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the streets of London in what is expected to be an epic duel.
While Kipchoge has the world best time of 2.1.39, Bekele missed this mark by just two seconds a year ago in the streets of Berlin.
But before he left the country to defend his London title, Kipchoge threw his weight behind Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed who is also running for a seat at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“I see in her the rare trait of exceptional endurance only exhibited by people with outstanding mental and physical stamina. The kind of people who break records in the most unlikely situations,” said Kipchoge.
“It takes a champion to recognize another. I believe that Amina Mohamed is the best person suited to lead the World Trade Organization at this time.”
Just like Kipchoge who wrote history in 2019 when he became the first man to complete a full marathon in under two hours (1:59.40), Amina is also in the race to become the first African to lead the WTO.
Now the Olympic champion believes that the former Kenyan Foreign Affairs minister has the power to excel even in the toughest conditions as she seeks to become the WTO Director General.
“She is a kindred limitless spirit akin to the one that propelled me to venture into the world of invisible limits to set the unthinkable sub-two marathon record broadening the sphere of long-distance running to new levels, now within human-reach,” he added.
“We may not know where the limits in the multilateral trading system are, but Minister Amina is willing to find them and help the WTO membership conquer them.”
Kipchoge will be defending his London Marathon crown on October 4, 2020.
Amina, meanwhile, will be racing through the second round of the WTO Director General selection process that has only four candidates remaining.
London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has heightened his preparations ahead of his title defence in the much-awaited event scheduled for October 4th.
Kipchoge, 35, is currently engaged in intensive training in Kaptagat, Rift Valley, Kenya, in anticipation of a fierce competition from Ethiopian long distance legend Kenenisa Bekele.
It will be yet another eye-catching race between two of the world’s finest athletes, each aiming to leave a mark in the 40th edition of the marathon.
Kipchoge has assured his huge following that all is well in his Kaptagat training base as he yearns to write yet another record in the books of marathon history.
“I can say that my training is going on well. It feels wonderful to focus my mind and body towards a new goal again and to put in the miles towards the London Marathon,” Kipchoge took to Twitter on Monday.
The soft-spoken athlete had earlier said Kaptagat has always been his favourite training site for long, thus enjoying every bit of the preparations in the location.
“Kaptagat has been my home away from home for the length of my career. Here we are all equal. As the running team we push each other to become better runners as well as human beings every day and it has brought so many great memories throughout the years.” He said.
Meanwhile, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both 5000m and 10,000m British Mo Farah has confirmed he will be a pacesetter for Kipchoge, Bekele and the rest of the competitors in the showdown.
Farah, the British marathon record holder, finished third and fifth in 2018 and 2019 events respectively.
“The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help.
“I am in good shape. I’ll be in London that week, and it fits in with my training,” he said in a statement from the organizers.
“I know just how special it is just to compete for your country at theOlympic Games, and it would be great to help other athletes achieve this,” he is quoted by The Star.
Finally, the much-awaited race pitting two of the world’s greatest marathoners, Eliud Kipchoge and his fiercest rival, Kenenisa Bekele, is getting closer after the organizers of the 2020 Virgin London Marathon confirmed a strong field of participants ahead of the October 4th race.
This will only be the fifth time that Kipchoge, the reigning world marathon record holder (2:01.39), and Bekele, who holds the 5,000m world record, race against each other.
The first time the world had a rare opportunity to watch the greatest runners in the distance was in 2014 in Chicago.
Kipchoge has won all but one race of his marathon career.
He is the current Olympic champion and holds another rare record as the first and only human to have completed a full marathon in under two hours.
But he will face off against Bekele, a man who went unbeaten between 2003 and 2011 in the 10,000m before he switched to the road race the following year.
His marathon debut was in Paris where he had a resounding debut; then to Chicago where he raced against before he struggled with an Achilles tendon injury.
It is also chilling to remember that Bekele missed the world record by just two seconds on the streets of Berlin City.
With the these two marathon iconic figures set to face each other, on the one hand, the race promises to be an epic battle for both players, who are under the same stable, to enhance their reputations as well as seek an early ticket to the Olympics in Japan next year.
On the other hand, the race will be more of a Kenyan versus Ethiopia duel. Ethiopia is Kenya’s traditional rival in the long distance.
Kipchoge and Bekele will also face stiff competition from with six other top marathoners who have ran sub 2.05 in the past.
They include Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Mule Wasihun (ETH) who were second and third respectively at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Others are Sisay Lemma (ETH), Tamirat Tola (ETH), Marius Kipserem (KEN) and Shura Kitata (ETH)and reigning European hour record holder Sondre Nordstad Moen (NOR).
The Norwegian broke the the mark in his native country earlier this month by running 21.132km.
Briton Mo Farah will be a pacemaker for this group of Olympic hopefuls.
The news that World Athletics will lift its suspension of the Olympic qualification system for marathon races from 1 September means there will also be a clutch of athletes racing with the ambition to achieve the Olympic standard of 2:11:30.
Farah, the four-time Olympic champion, said: “The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help. I am in good shape, I’ll be in London that week and it fits in with my training.”
“I’ve been training here in Font-Romeu with some of the British guys who are going for that Olympic qualifying time and they are good lads. I know just how special it is just to compete for your country at an Olympic Games and it would be great to help other athletes achieve this. With the current global situation and lack of races, the Virgin Money London Marathon in October is the best chance for athletes to run the Olympic qualifying time.”
At present only two British athletes other than Farah have run inside this time — Callum Hawkins, who has been pre-selected for the Olympic Games marathon and Jonny Mellor who ran 2:10:03 in Seville in January.
Farah himself has opted to run on the track at the Olympic Games.
The elite women’s field is headlined by world record holder Brigid Kosgei from Kenya who will also face a challenge from five other women who have run inside 2:20.
They include the current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (ETH), 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), 2019 Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli (KEN) and 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).
Ashete Bekere (ETH), the winner of last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon, Alemu Megertu (ETH), the 2019 Rome Marathon champion, plus Sara Hall (USA) and Sinead Diver (AUS) are also included in a star-studded race.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the elite races at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will be held on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park in central London with the iconic finish on The Mall remaining the same as in previous years.
The races, which will also include a wheelchair race, will be held in a secure biosphere as has been the case with other major sporting events such as Test Cricket and Formula 1.
No spectators will be allowed on the road-side to watch. BBC Sport, however, is planning eight hours of live coverage of the event.
It will be the 40th race in London Marathon history and the first to have elite-only races.
Those with a place in the mass-participation 2020 event will still have the chance to take part in The 40th Race by running the famous 26.2 mile marathon distance from home or anywhere in the world on the course of their choice.
All finishers will receive the coveted finisher medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt. General entries open on Wednesday 26 August. In addition, all runners and charities will have the chance to defer their place to a future London Marathon – in 2021, 2022 or 2023.
The sporting world will have to wait until October to see the “special promise” Eliud Kipchoge had assured to deliver at the London Marathon.
The 40th edition of the Virgin Money London Marathon is now scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 4, 2020 and not April 26 as earlier planned following the Friday’s announcement by the organisation.
“We know how disappointing this news will be for so many — the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year,” Hugh Brasher, Event Director, said in a statement.
“We know that there will be many, many questions from runners, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through the detailed planning process to deliver the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on its new scheduled date. We will email all runners and charities today and then update them via email by the end of next week at the latest. We will also post regular updates on our website and social media channels.”
“The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of Covid-19 and public health is everyone’s priority.
The entry will remain the same with the organisers announcing that every runner with a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will be able to use their place in the rescheduled event in October without any further payment.
However, those who will choose not to take partin the rescheduled event will receive a refund of their 2020 entry fee or, if they wish, they may donate their 2020 entry fee to the London Marathon Charitable Trust while those who do not take up one of the above options, will be able to defer (rollover) their entry into the next edition scheduled for Sunday 25 April 2021.
Meanwhile, those runners who have already withdrawn from the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon and rolled over their entry to 2021 will be offered the option to take part on Sunday, October 4 or to keep their entry rolled over to 2021.
Kipchoge, the reigning men’s champion, termed the latest development as “unfortunate” but added that he respects the decision.
“It is unfortunate news that the London Marathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes top priority,” the world record holder and Olympic champion said.
“To the thousands of runners who, with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way. I hope to share the starting line with you again soon.”
Kipchoge’s participation at the event was in limbo after the Kenyan government banned non-essential travel by all sportsmen and sportswomen to countries considered high risk to the Covid-19.
Kenya reported her first case of the coronavirus on Friday and Athletics Kenya has since suspended clearance of all athletes from taking part in any international event.
Brigid Kosgei demonstrated an amazing sense of timing to utterly and completely demolish the women’s field at the 2019 Virgin Money Women’s London Marathon on Sunday to cut the tape in an amazingly quick 2:18:20, with Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2018 London Marathon champion, coming in second at 2:20:14.
Rosa Dereje came in third to spoil the Kenyan party, beating Gladys Cherono and Mary Keitany to fourth and fifth respectively.
Billed as the most competitive roster ever assembled in London Women Marathon history, the start list read like a who’s who in road running.
Brigid Kosgei, who has now finished in the top two in eight of the nine marathons she has participated in, appeared the underdog at the start, with the runaway favourite being Mary Keitany, the 2018 New York City Marathon champion and the woman with the fastest time in the world outside Paula Radcliffe’s World Record with a time of 2:17:01 as her personal best.
Gladys Cherono, the three-time Berlin Marathon champ capped off a stellar cast of Kenyan athletes the likes of which have never before assembled at once at the start of any marathon.
With the weather near perfect, the race kicked off and immediately petered to an astonishingly slow pace with the star athletes evidently in awe of each other and waiting on each other to make the first move.
And so, for the first half hour Keitany, Kosgei, Cheruiyot and Cherono were content to run behind the lead group of athletes with Dibaba and Deroji falling in behind the lead pacesetter Eunice Chuma.
With the pace seemingly underwhelming, it took the guts of the incredibly brave 42-year-old Sinead Diver to take the race by the scruff of the neck and build a five-yard lead with 39:33mins lapsed, and stretching the lead such that by 1:08:43 into the race she had built a 30-second gap over the rest of the athletes with Keitany, Kosgey, Cheruiyot, Cherono and Deroji not even attempting to reel in the runaway frontrunner.
However, at 1:18:52, Vivian Cheruiyot had waited enough and finally started to chase the lead group catching up and overtaking Sinead Diver but sticking behind the lead lone pacesetter Eunice Chuma, who until now was doing a stellar job in pace making.
At 1:25:38 it’s Vivian Cheruiyot, Bridgid Kosgei, Deroji and Mary Keitany in that order behind the pacemaker Eunice Chuma.
However, the first signs of fallibility begin to emerge at 1:32:33, with 9.3 miles left to go, when Mary Keitany and Gladys Cherono are unable to keep up with the pace and fall back with Cheruiyot, Deroje and Brigid Kosgey opening an unassailable lead.
Brigid Kosgei, who recently ran the Houston Half Marathon in 65:15 and the Bahrain marathon in 65:20, seemingly feels confident enough to try and bludgeon Vivian Cheruiyot with fast times, with Deroje hanging on afraid to let go. However Vivian Cheruiyot is having none of it, and tucks in behind Brigid, matching her stride for stride.
Two minutes later, evidence of Brigid’s punishing pace begin to show as Deroje is finally broken and falls back with the lead steadily increasing such that by the time its 1:35:00, Deroje is well and truly out of contention and has to watch her back as Gladys Cherono and Mary Keitany find her in their crosshairs.
Up front, Brigid Kosgei is relentless, once again pushing the pace further, asking questions of the defending champ until slowly but surely a gap begins to emerge, increase steadily from five yards to 10 yards, until seemingly for the first time in the entire race, Vivian Cheruiyot no longer seems infallible. Its 1:37:35 on the clock.
At 1:39:45, Brigid Kosgei crosses 30Km with projections showing she is inside 2:20.
Thereafter, Brigid delivers an additional injection of pace, opening a reasonable gap on Vivian by 1:42:02, but the champion decides she’s not done just yet and pulls back such that five minutes later, Vivian has closed the gap and is right behind Brigid matching her stride for stride, in what is evidently developing into an examination of mental attrition.
With 6.2 miles to go and 1:50:00 having lapsed, Brigid is still in the lead unable to shake off Vivian, and it begins to seem probable that this will be decided eventually by a sprint finish.
With exactly two hours lapsed it becomes evident that Vivian’s fitness isn’t up to scratch, as the 25-year-old Brigid finally manages to break her compatriot, quickly opening a 25-metre lead in less than three minutes to herself as the likely winner.
By the time 2:04:00 has lapsed, Brigid looking over her shoulder can no longer see Vivian, having developed a significant gap, having evidently delivered the sucker punch.
Meanwhile, it’s a duel for third between Keitany, Cherono and Deroji.
With 10 minutes to go, the race is now Brigid Kosgei’s to lose. Further back, Vivian is no longer in contention but in a fight for second as Keitany, Cherono and Deroji are joint for third.
Brigid is on the verge of the biggest win of her career and is still relentless on the pace. Last year she was second in London, and this will be an upgrade coupled with a sweet feeling of revenge over Vivian, who beat her here last year.
Coming up on Paula Radcliffe’s insurmountable world record with 2:15:02 having lapsed, Brigid is on course to better her time in Chicago having built an unassailable lead.
And finally, after a painful 26.2 miles, Brigid comes across the line to win and better her personal best in a time of 2:18:20!
Vivian comes in second in 2:20:14 while Deroja is third at 2:20:50. Gladys Cherono comes in fourth with Mary Keitany coming in fifth.
In what is certain to go down in history as one of the most emphatic displays of excellence and mastery of a sporting discipline, Eliud Kipchoge Sunday served up an astonishing display of poise, elegance, endurance and killer instinct to settle any lingering doubts as to his four year reign as the world number one marathoner and well and truly cement his status as the widely acclaimed and universally accepted Greatest Marathoner Of All Time.
In a quest to test the mettle of the returning champ, the race organizers conspired to assemble one of the most competitive rosters in London Marathon history by providing the most attractive appearance package of any of the six marathon events that comprise the Abbot World Marathon Majors, with several all-star elite athletes having run under 2:05:00.
And so, on a bright Sunday morning with near perfect weather and low humidity, almost no wind and no indication of rain, over 40,000 competitors lined up at Greenwich Park at the start of the 2019 edition of The Virgin Money London Marathon with no less than half a dozen pacesetters and elite athletes.
The line-up boasted local homeboy and fan favorite Mo Farah; the Chicago Marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge; the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder as well as three time London Marathon champ, Shura Kitata; last year’s runner-up here, among others such as Daniel Wanjiru; the 2017 champ here, not to mention Wilson Kipsang; the former world record holder, Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew; the current Dubai Marathon champ, Leul Gebresallesie; the Valencia Marathon course record holder, as well as Tamirat Tola to cap off one of the strongest Ethiopian contingents assembled here in recent times.
Donning his trademark arm sleeves, Kipchoge immediately set the tone for the race, tucking in neatly behind the triumvirate of pacesetters in zebra stripe kits, with Tamirat Tola, Leul Gebresilasie, Mule Wasihun, Daniel Wairimu, Shura Kitata, Wilson Kipsang and Mosinet Geremew huddled together right beside the Olympic champ.
Mo’Farah, evidently with his own set of pacemakers immediately decided to fall back onto his own pace, a pattern he would eventually maintain for the first half of the race.
Coming up on 5km, the pace immediately seems fast but underneath WR pace, with the time stamp at 5K indicating 14:23minutes had elapsed. If news filtering in before the race was to be believed, it was agreed that Kipchoge wanted a pace that would be within the course record which he currently owns at 2:03:05. Indications were that he wanted a 61:30 time for the first half of the race. It is worthwhile to note that during his WR breaking endeavor, Kipchoge’s first half split was 61:06, whereas Denis Kimetto’s WR first half split was 61:45.
Four miles into the race and with the time stamp indicating 16:05mins, Kipchoge seems to have established a rhythm, and surges ahead and to his right and picks up a drink from the adjacent drink station, with Kipsang, Kitata and Gebremew stepping up the pace in an apparent state of panic.
Coming up on 10K the pace has settled with the lead group evidently too scared to grab the lead but content to latch onto Kipchoge, who is never two feet behind the three pacesetters forming a protective trifecta in front of him.
At 10K the time is 29:01, indicating a 14:39 last 5K split and an average of 2:55mins per km over the distance covered. Projections indicate the lead group is within 2:03:00 pace, well within the reigning champ’s objective.
Disappointingly, half an hour into the race Mo’ Farah is already lagging more than 10 metres behind the lead group in 9th place with his own set of pacesetters evidently under a different set of instructions from the lead group effectively ending the hyped up contest that had been used to whip up emotion and generate viewership. It would take an amazing sense of mental fortitude or an incurable sense of mental delusion to imagine that Eliud Kipchoge would slacken the pace and allow the Briton to catch up, if past experience is anything to go by (Kipchoge runs negative splits most of the time either half of the marathon).
Coming up on 15K nothing has changed, with the lead firmly in Eliud Kipchoge’s grasp behind the zebra-striped pacesetters. He crosses 15K in 43:42mins, indicating a last 5K split of 14:42. Projections still indicate the lead group are inside the course record and currently under 2:03:00 pace, indicating that Kimetto’s 2:02:57 previous WR time is attainable.
Comparatively the splits for this race compared to Kipchoge’s and Kimetto’s previous WR times were:
Thus, with 15K lapsed, the lead group are already six seconds outside the world record pace, but 25 seconds inside Kimetto’s pace which, then, eventually resulted in a time of 2:02:57, implying if they maintained or bettered Kimetto’s pace for the remainder of the race then the course record of 2:03:05 would be smashed to smithereens.
The marathon is an exact science.
With three quarters of an hour gone, Mo Farah is still playing it safe with the second group of pacesetters 10meters behind the lead group and holding steady, while Kipchoge is relentlessly pushing the pacemakers with the morning mint scent of his toothpaste breathing down their necks.
The Ethiopian contingent for the first time seem to be teaming up in a five man attack going stride for stride while maintaining the slightest distance required not to trip the world record holder.
Wilson Kipsang begins to wilt under the unforgiving pace. Perhaps he made an error in judgement and should have hung back just like he did in Berlin last year which earned him a deserved podium place, coming in third. At this point it doesn’t matter because it’s too late, he begins to fall back and by the hour mark, Kipsang is no longer in contention, and his famous long stride length counts for nothing as Mo Farah easily leaves him for dead.
The lead group crosses 20K at 58:25 indicating a 14:43 last 5K.
Approaching the halfway point the lead group now consists of the pacesetters, Kipchoge and the Ethiopian contingent, with Mo’ Farah still hanging on for dear life.
The lead group crosses halfway in 61:37 indicating they are 8 seconds inside Kimetto’s time (Kimetto’s half had been 61:45), and at least sixteen seconds inside the course record, assuming they maintain or better Kimetto’s pace.
Ominously, Kipchoge has previously been quoted as saying the marathon begins after 30kms.
Up until this point the Kenyan maestro seems unfettered, seemingly unflinching, bringing to bear a punishing training regimen regularly imbued at his training camp, Global Sports Management at Kaptagat, deep within the belly of the Kenyan Rift Valley.
With his face giving no indication of the pressure of incumbency on his shoulders, and the Ethiopian attack battalion forming a vulture like wait and see attitude, pushing the envelope while daring the champ by appearing in his peripheral vision every so often, waiting, bidding for a moment of weakness to expose the chink in his armor, just reminding him not to forget that they’re there, while trying to force him into a mistake. Accelerate too early, or slow the pace, and we’ll pounce.
But for every question asked, Kipchoge duly delivered the answer. Never once relinquishing the lead, content to go stride for stride with the pacesetters, sometimes coming abreast and motioning them to speed up.
To his credit, Mo Farah, with the time stamp indicating 1:06:20 has managed to reel in the lead group and is now right behind the rear of the lead group, but in doing so to recover the 10meters seems to have used up his energy reserves, and with his last remaining pacesetter seemingly wilting under the pressure, Mo Farah begins to flounder, with no straws left to clutch.
Approaching 25K the lead group is down to five, with one pacesetter left, the rest having dropped off. With the time stamp indicating 1:10:50 having lapsed, its Kipchoge right behind the pacesetter with Shura Kitata, last year’s runner-up in this event now abreast of Kipchoge but always half a stride behind, with Mule Wasihun, Leul Gebresellasie and Mosinet Geremew content to conceal their venom until when it matters most to deliver the legendary potent final kick that Ethiopians are famous for, having been handed down from the great Haile Gabreselassie and Kenenisa Bekele to countless Kenyan elite athletes before Kipchoge, Paul Tergat chief among them.
The lead group crosses 25K in 1:12:38 indicating a last 5K split of 14:14 and a last KM average split of 2:50, down from an average of 2:55 for the first 20K, indicating a subtle injection of pace as the last pacemaker drops off leaving Eliud Kipchoge to take the reins of leadership with the Ethiopian battalion in tow.
You do not win 11 marathons out of 12 by being benevolent. It takes a wolf with the mentality of the jungle to recognize that the rule of the jungle is you always fight to the death, because when it comes down to the prize giving ceremony, the winner standing on the podium is the nastiest, fiercest, most vicious, calculating and unforgiving competitor among the crew. There’s no award for sissies.
And so when the last pacemaker dropped off, Eliud Kipchoge, cognizant of the quadruple threat now circling in for the kill in the form of Kitata, Wasihun, Gebreselasie and Mosinet Geremew, gently but firmly subtly increased the pace, while keeping well within his limits. At first it seemed like an effort in futility as the Ethiopians refused to let go of his coattails.
With twelve miles to go the field of 40000 contestants is down to five with the homeboy Mo Farah in no man’s land down in sixth running alone with no one in sight and the likes of Kipsang long forgotten in the context of being in contention.
With one and a quarter hours gone, Kipchoge’s efforts finally begin to bear fruit as Leul Gebresellasie begins to wither, with the lead group ever so slightly pulling away, leaving a desperate sense of inevitability as to the fate that might befall the remaining trio that was once part of the Ethiopian Battalion.
At 1:19:43 there’s only 10miles left to go, and its Kipchoge, Wasihun, Geremew and Kitata left to slug it out.
At 30K the time is 1:27:04 indicating a 14:27 time split for the last 5K and an average pace of 2:54 per Km.
Surprisingly Mo Farah comes back from the dead in true Easter spirit, catching up with Leul Gebresellasie who is reeling from the effects of trying to keep up with the lead group’s relentless pace. Mo duly overtakes the Ethiopian and is now in fifth. It begins to seem likely that Mo Farah might be in contention to break his European Record 2:05:11 that he established in his Chicago triumph last year.
At 1:40:24 it’s Kipchoge, Geremew, Kitata, Wasihun in that order with Mo further back and Gebresellasie floundering in sixth with the potential to drop further as others behind him begin to see him in their crosshairs.
Kipchoge grabs a drink at 1:41:42 as he approaches 35K.
Its 1:41:55 at 35K, projecting a finishing time under 2:03:00, and still inside Kimetto’s time 2:02:57. Kipchoge’s last 5K split is 14:52, for the first time in the entire race losing a significant pace over Kimetto’s whose last 5K split at 35K was 14:10, indicating a 42second loss which however is negated by the cushion built over the first 30K.
Seemingly realizing the imminent nature of the final phase of the race, over the next 5K Kipchoge ups the tempo, delivering a flurry of speed to split 14:26 over the distance, effectively crossing 40K with the time indicating 1:56:20.
And the effects begin to show, with Shura Kitata tiring and falling back within five minutes of the injection of pace breaking his resolve.
Approaching the 40K mark Wasihun throws in the towel, and falls back after Kipchoge emphatically slams the gas and runs a 2:52 kilometer to effectively shake off the Ethiopian.
Having crossed the 40K mark, Kipchoge is left with Geremew but not for long, as the Kenyan maestro effortlessly digs into his inexhaustible energy reserves and ever so slightly delivers the sucker punch. He runs astonishing 2:52s in succession. And Geremew is left for dead as he drifts off to the left.
Kipchoge for the first time in the entire race glances to his rear left to see what the Ethiopian can muster, and as if to say goodbye, opens up the pace further with his arms pumping in rhythm, his torso barely moving, as his legs springing effortlessly off the asphalt now embarking on the final phase of his mission, the course record.
Over the remaining distance after 40K until the finish Kipchoge never once diminishes the pace delivering 2:52 per Km for the rest of the race. With the course record surely within reach barring a catastrophe, Kipchoge grimaces for the first time, and in an apparent sense of fortitude and resilience brings out a grin which resembles a smile because the entire field is broken, and as he turns the final bend and sees Buckingham Palace in the horizon with the finish line beckoning ahead of him, he summons one last gear as he covers the last 600meters seeing the time counting down.
Lapping up the adulation of the crowd lining the final stretch Eliud Kipchoge breaks out into a smile and outstretches his arms as he crosses the finish line in 2:02:37 to smash the course record! He becomes the first man to win The London Marathon four times.
Mosinet Geremew comes in second in 2:02:55, inside the previous course record!
Mule Wasihun comes in third in 2:03:16 with Shura Kitata fourth in 2:05:01 and Mo Farah fifth in 2:05:39, 28seconds outside the European Record.
For his troubles, Eliud Kipchoge is set to receive $55,000 prize money for finishing in first place and $25,000 for breaking the course record. In addition, he will share $100,000 dollars with Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun for running under 2:05:00 effectively receiving $33,333, they can keep the change.
The Dilemma: Does Mosinet Geremew’s 2:02:55 also receive the $25,000 prize money for the course record? It can be argued that by the time he crossed the finish line the course record was 2:02:37!
VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON MEN’S RACE RESULTS
ELIUD KIPCHOGE 2:02:37 KEN
MOSINET GEREMEW 2:02:55 ETH
MULE WASIHUN 2:03:16 ETH
SHURA KITATA 2:05:01 ETH
MO FARAH 2:05:39 GBR
TAMIRAT TOLA 2:06:57 ETH
BASHIR ABDI 2:07:03 BEL
LEUL GEBRESILASIE 2:07:15 ETH
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
From Who Moved my Cheese? By Spencer Johnson
ELIUD KIPCHOGE MARATHON CAREER RESULTS:
April 28, 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon 1st 2:02:37
Sept 16 2018 BMW BERLIN MARATHON 1st 2:01:39
April 22 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon 1st 2:04:17
Sept 24 2017 BMW BERLIN MARATHON 1ST 2:03:32
May 6 2017 Monza Race Circuit, Italy 2:00:25
Aug 21 2016 Olympic Games Marathon,RIO 1st 2:08:44
April 24 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon 1st 2:03:05
Sep 27 2015 BMW BERLIN MARATHON 1st 2:04:00
Apr 26 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon 1st 2:04:42
Oct 12 2014 BOA Chicago Marathon 1st 2:04:11
Apr 13 2014 ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon 1st 2:05:00
In what is surely the most anticipated showdown this year, the world once again assembles to witness what is expected to be history in the making as homeboy Sir Mo Farah comes up against the indomitable Eliud Kipchoge, the current World marathon record holder (2:01:39).
Kipchoge is a man on a mission as he seeks to cement his reputation as the world’s greatest marathoner ever, if his 11 wins in 12 marathons, is anything to go by, while Mo Farah, whose marathon best is 2:05:11 achieved during his Chicago triumph last year, is determined to prove why he is no flash in the pan in road running.
And so, this Sunday, April 28, 2019, the athletics fraternity’s collective eyes will be set on the flat course that lines the green spaces of London that begins from Greenwich Park and ends in Hyde Park near Buckingham Palace.
Race organizers have managed to enlist a spectacular roster of all-star athletes, with one of the most competitive elite start list ever witnessed on this course.
From the onset, the local media has hyped this as Mo against Eliud Kipchoge whereas on the evidence of the start list, this race may pan out to be Eliud Kipchoge versus everyone else.
Let me tell you why.
The owner of the World Record for the Half Marathon, Abraham Kiptum, is here. Having broken Zersenay Tadese’s world record to establish a new Half Marathon WR time of 58:18 in October last year and boasting a marathon PB of 2:05:26, Abraham Kiptum may have a thing or two to say about the perceived Mo vs Kipchoge showdown.
Shura Kitata, who in last year’s edition of the London Marathon gave Eliud Kipchoge a run for his money, emerging second in an impressive 2:04:49, and beating Mo Farah to third by over a minute and a half in that race, is also here.
Former World Record holder Wilson Kipsang is here too. He has run under 2:04:00 on four separate occasions, has won the London Marathon twice before (2012 and 2014) and has been runner-up once (2015) to none other than Eliud Kipchoge. Most recently he came in third in Berlin during Kipchoge’s record breaking achievement.
Evidently the race organizers spared no expenses in bringing the big guns because the owner of Dubai Marathon’s course record 2:04:00 Mosinet Geremew is here. He tasted defeat handed by Mo Farah in Chicago recently and will most likely have a score to settle if he has learnt from his experience.
Leul Gebresilasie, who owns the Valencia Marathon course record 2:04:31, will also be staking his claim to race honours here.
In reality this will be a fight between Sir Mo and the rest of this illustrious cast to establish who can expose the chink in Eliud Kipchoge’s armour.
Pre-race conferences have been filled with all the right words with Mo Farah, utterly enjoying the adulation of the media, saying: “This is my fourth marathon appearance. I am happy, enjoying myself as well as learning and gaining experience. We’ve done everything we needed to do, there’s nothing left to do. I know I can run 2:05 or 2:04, my aim on Sunday is to go out there and see what I can do.”
Asked if beating Eliud Kipchoge would rank high alongside his four track Olympic triumphs, Mo Farah, tongue in cheek, had this to say: “If I do beat him, and it may come down to that, who knows, it would be a great achievement.”
Eliud Kipchoge, on his part, has been content to fly under the radar, occasionally smiling at the broadsides by Mo while yawning at times at the endless press inquisition.
He had this to say: “I’m really looking forward to it. Mo will be enjoying a cheering squad of over a million.”
Asked whether he watched Mo Farah’s Chicago marathon triumph (2:05:11), he said: “I watched Chicago from the first to the last kilometer. Mo has a positive progress in his marathon life. It wasn’t a fast race, but it was a tactical race. I liked the mind and thoughts of Mo.”
Asked about his training and preparation, Kipchoge in his true element, was economical with words. “Training has been going on well. I am good and I am fit.”
The question everyone is asking is whether we might witness a sub two marathon. But that is stretching the imagination a bit too far. In reality, we might not be able to predict what we may see on race day, except possibly to refer to what the legend himself had to say about the future, in the past.
Last year after breaking the marathon world record and was asked what next. Kipchoge said:
“I have run 2:00, 2:01, 2:03, 2:04 and 2:05. Next time I want to run 2:02.”
The weatherman predicts favourable conditions on race day.
Set the date: Sun, 28 April, 09:05GMT (11:05am EAT)
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