Almost in similar versions, Kenya’s Amos Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Yalemserf Yehualaw beat quality fields to emerge victorious in their London Marathon debuts. The two sprang away from their main rivals around the last 3 kilometers of the race to win their respective titles by considerable margins.
From the early stages of the women’s race, the leading pack had gone out at a fast pace that was on schedule to break the women’s only world record of 2:17:01 that is currently held by Kenya’s Mary Keitany. But, the pace slowed as they neared the halfway point.
Two Kenyans took to the front soon after the 30km point after the Ethiopians had led for the better part of the earlier section of the race. But seven women were still in the leading pack, all looking good and in contention for the win.
Under the new control of the pace by the two Kenyans, the pack began to disintegrate at the slight increase in speed, and soon, the lead was down to four at the 35k mark. Two Kenyans, Joyciline Jepkosgei and Judith Korir led at the front while two Ethiopians, Yehualaw and Alemu Megertu followed closely, all appearing like four oxen yoked together pulling a plow.
The race progressed into the expected battle between Jepkosgei and Yehualaw in the last stages as the two broke away from the rest. Still, Yehualaw soon dropped Jepkosgei behind with an incredible increase in pace.
She was 16 seconds ahead of Jepkosgei at 40km before extending the lead further to finish the race in 2:17:26, 25 seconds away from Keitany’s world record. Jepkosgei finished second in 2:18:07, while Megertu won the battle for third place between her and Korir in 2:18:32.
In the men’s race, the only elite from Kenya remained patient in the leading pack until it was the perfect time for him to make a decisive move in the last stages of the race.
From the start, Kenenisa Bekele appeared intent and focused just behind the pacesetters. However, he began to falter in the race’s second half and was dropped from the leading pack as they approached 35km. Nevertheless, he eventually ended up with a master’s world record (40+) of 2:05:53 to finish in 5th position.
With a 4:36 per mile pace as they approached the 40km point, Kenya’s Amos Kipruto suddenly broke away from the leading pack and was soon comfortably ahead as he crossed the 40k mark in 1:58:27 with Leul Gebresilase and Bashir Abdi already 17 seconds behind.
As Kipruto crossed the finish line triumphantly in 2:04:39, Gebresilase would follow in 2:05:12 for second place, ahead of Abdi completing the podium in 2:05:19.
The defending champion, Sisay Lemma, finished seventh in 2:07:26.
Below are the top ten results for men and women:
1 Amos Kipruto (KEN) 2:04:39
2 Leul Gebresilase (ETH) 2:05:12
3 Bashir Abdi (BEL) 2:05:19
4 Kinde Atanaw (ETH) 2:05:27
5 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:05:53
6 Birhanu Legese (ETH) 2:06:11
7 Sisay Lemma (ETH) 2:07:26
8 Brett Robinson (AUS) 2:09:52
9 Weynay Ghebresilasie (GBR) 2:11:57
10 Philip Sesemann (GBR) 2:12:10
1 Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 2:17:26
2 Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:18:07
3 Alemu Megertu (ETH) 2:18:32
4 Judith Jeptum Korir (KEN) 2:18:43
5 Joan Chelimo Melly (ROU) 2:19:27
6 Ashete Bekere (ETH) 2:19:30
7 Mary Ngugi (KEN) 2:20:22
8 Sutume Asefa Kebede (ETH) 2:20:44
9 Ai Hosoda (JPN) 2:21:42
10 Rose Harvey (GBR) 2:27:59