London

Classy Kenyans dominate in the London sun

For the second year in a row it was two brilliant Kenyans who took the Virgin London Marathon titles as Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany destroyed two of the best fields ever assembled to win by impressive margins and surely secure their places in Kenya's Olympic team.

Kipsang missed Emmanuel Mutai's course record on his London debut by just four seconds while Keitany became the quickest African of all time as she retained her women's title with a repeat of her sparkling solo win from 12 months' ago.

Kipsang came to London as the second fastest man in history and he stamped his authority on a heavily loaded field with two bold surges in the second half of the race. Breaking free after 20 miles, he crossed the line more than two minutes clear in 2:04:44 followed by Martin Lel, the three-times London champion repeating his second place from 2011.

"I knew when I went away they would have to work very, very hard to beat me as I was feeling so good in myself," said Kipsang.

"I am so sorry I didn't ditch the record but winning is the most important thing for me. I feel little tired now, but I am happy and tired."
Lel finished in 2:06:51 winning a sprint finish by a second from Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede.

While Kipsang led a Kenyan one-two in the men's race, Keitany spearheaded a medal sweep in the women's - the first ever for women in London. Indeed, Kenyans filled the first five places, with world champion Edna Kiplagat second and Priscah Jeptoo third.

Just as she did last year, Keitany made the most of perfect conditions to kick away from a clutch of highly talented rivals in the last four miles before powering home in 2:18:37, making her the third quickest woman of all time.

"The time was OK," she said. "The weather here all week has not been good but when I saw the sunshine this morning I knew it would be all right for me."

Kiplagat challenged the champion until 23 miles and maintained her form over the closing miles to record her first sub-2:20 time. Kiplagat crossed the line in 2:19:50, a personal best by nearly a minute.

There was a PB for Jeptoo too, the world silver medalist running 2:20:14, more than two and half minutes inside her previous best.

While Kenyans dominated the leading positions, there was good news for Britain too as Claire Hallissey clinched an Olympic place, finishing with a personal best of 2:27:44, 40 seconds inside the target time set by Jo Pavey last year.

There was also a brilliant British double in the wheelchair races as David Weir produced a superb spring finish to win his sixth wheelchair title matching the London record of Baronness Tanni Grey-Thompson, while Shelly Woods dominated the women's race to regain the crown she won in 2007.

Weir won by a second from Switzerland's Marcel Hug in 1:32:26 while Woods outpushed the field to take victory in 1:49:10, almost four minutes ahead of Japan's Wakako Tsuchida.