Virgin Money London Marathon recap: Kipchoge vaults to top of Series X Leaderboard
In today's Virgin Money London Marathon, reigning Abbott World Marathon Majors champion Eliud Kipchoge shattered the course record to retain his London title with a 2:03:05 win. He now leads in points for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series X, sharing the top leaderboard spot with Ethiopia's Lemi Hayle.
His Kenyan compatriot Jemima Sumgong won a dramatic women's race in 2:22:58, recovering from a fall to hold off defending champion Tigist Tufa.
Kipchoge, who missed the marathon world record by just seven seconds, in the post-race press conference stressed he was not disappointed, and that "he tried to squeeze it in, but it was just not possible."
"It was a good course," he told the London Marathon team. "The support was perfect the crowd was fantastic and it was good to get a PB."
Kipchoge was relaxed and in control throughout the race, beginning with a blistering pace in the brisk, sunny conditions that led him to break the 30K world record while running the fastest-ever marathon on the London course. He out-kicked second-place winner Stanley Biwott in the Embankment part of the course, and the the two Kenyans had pulled away from Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele with less than 10 miles to go.
Biwott's 2:03:51 was his personal best, and Bekele finished third in 2:06:36.
While the men ran at world record pace for three quarters of the course, the women competed at a comparable level. Seven runners, who had run tight and close from the start, bunched together to prepare for the last five miles, and at mile 21, Aselefech Mergia clipped Sumgong's heels and she fell into Mary Keitany, which led all three to tumble to the ground.
Sumgong recovered quickly while Keitany and Mergia struggled; she then moved in front of 2015 London champion Tigist Tufa and world champion Mare Dibaba to take her first major marathon victory.
�"I got up again as quickly as possible and got my pace back," Sumgong said.
Ethiopia's Tufa was just five seconds behind in second place. World half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat, of Kenya, came in third in 2:23:39.
Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug remain comfortably on top of the wheeler leaderboard, continuing their AbbottWMM Wheelchair Series winning streak with first-place finishes today.
American McFadden came straight from Boston, and is now a four-time London Marathon champion after sprinting through the finish line one second ahead of Switzerland's Manuela Schar at 1:44:14. McFadden, a dominant women's wheelchair athlete with unparalleled success in Abbott World Marathon Majors races, took a lead early from Japan's Wakoko Tsuchida but she did have to fight off Schar at the end.
"I hung by a piece of thread at the end," McFadden said. "Manuel is a great competitor. I knew it was going to be a close finish. I'm really happy to come out on top."
Switzerland's Hug regained the London Marathon wheelchair title just six days after winning in Boston. In his last marathon before he competes in Rio's Paralympic Marathon, he led the charge on the final push to the finish in front of Australian Kurt Fearnley and Britain's David Weir.