Lemma takes the London limelight

Sisay Lemma ended his wait for an Abbott World Marathon Majors title as he streaked to victory in the London sunshine.

Until Sunday, the Ethiopian had managed no better than a third place in his marathon career, earning that spot in both Tokyo and London in last year’s elite only races.

But today he was not to be denied as he set off from Blackheath, this time with the returning masses following the elite men through the starting gate.

Lemma’s fellow Ethiopian Shura Kitata was fancied to be in contention to retain the crown he won last year, but a hamstring problem he flagged to the media in the pre-race press conference was clearly still an issue, and he was soon well down on the leading pack.

Lemma remained safely tucked into a group containing Tokyo champion Birhanu Legese and last year’s second place London finisher Vincent Kipchumba as well as regular podium finisher Mosinet Geremew.

Lemma finally made his move between 35 and 40km, and as he stretched away from his rivals there was no response, his winning time of 2:04:01 some 27 seconds ahead of Kipchumba who came second for the second straight year with Geremew in third.