Smooth Eliud Kipchoge holds off Kipsang for London marathon title

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Apr 26, 2015
  • Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line for the London Marathon title.(Photo:Organisers)

  • L-R:Dennis Kimetto, Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang.

Still head. Strong chest,smooth flowing arms. That is how Eliud Kipchoge elegantly crossed the finish line at the London marathon on Sunday in two hours four minutes,42 seconds. Ethiopia's Tigist Tufa sprinted clear to win the women's London Marathon.

A well timed break with 600m to go, did it for the Chicago winner over the resilient two-time London winner(2012 and 2014) Wilson Kipsang after shoulder to shoulder racing for most of the last 2km.

The race had narrowed down to a four man race that included World record holder Dennis Kimetto and Stanley Biwott who could not match the pace Kipchoge upped his ante and opened a gap between him and Kipsang could not match.

Kipsang, the Olympic bronze medalist came home ahead of world record holder Dennis Kimetto, who completed a Kenyan one-two-three.

The 30-year-old, who has moved up to the marathon following a track career winning gold at the world championships in Paris in 2003, opened a clear lead that had him celebrating in the home stretch as he crossed the line five seconds ahead of Kipsang.

Kipchoge said of the run raced in overcast skies: "It was a tough race. My training paid off and it went to plan. The crowd were wonderful and lifted me for my sprint finish."

Classic field

The leading group featured seven top Kenyan runners – Kipchoge, Kipsang, Dennis Kimetto, Stanley Biwott, Geoffrey Mutai, Emmanuel Mutai and Samuel Kitwara – along with the Ethiopians Tsegaye Mekonnen and Tilahun Regassa, and Eritrea’s Samuel Tsegay.

The men made the most of a downhill section of the course to go through 5K in 14:31 – at course-record pace – but the pace then settled, with the 10 east Africans going through 10K in 29:14.Tucked in behind the pacemakers, the men took turns at the front, checking each other out but with no one ready to make a move.

Stanley Biwott, runner-up in last year’s race, led the group through 15K in 44:04 – bang on schedule for Kipsang’s course record.

Geoffrey Mutai was the first victim of the quick pace, slipping back as they headed across Tower Bridge and past the 20K point. The 2011 New York Marathon champion drifted off the back of the group, before dropping out just after half way.

Kipchoge led the group, just a stride behind the pacers with Kipsang hanging towards the back.

Emmanuel Mutai and Samuel Tsegay were the next men to drop out of the leading group. Mutai was London Marathon champion in 2011 and has tackled the course seven times ahead of today, but could not find his best form when it mattered, eventually finishing 10th in 2:10:54. Tsegay dropped out of the race soon after the 25km point; a disappointing day for the Eritrean.

The young Ethiopian Mekonnen was the next to drop off the pace, leaving just six men in the group as they went through 25K in 1:14:03.

Kipchoge and Kimetto moved to the front with Kipsang and Kitwara a pace behind and Biwott and Regassa at the back, all still looking relaxed.

There was nothing to choose between them as six men spread out across the road in a single line, matching each other stride for stride, but once past the 35km point, which they passed in 1:44:02, Kitwara dropped off the pace to reduce the leading group to five men. The 2014 Chicago Marathon runner-up went to on to finish sixth in 2:07:43.

Four men were left to battle for three medals as they headed past the Tower of London and into the final few miles of the race.

Kipsang and Kipchoge made their move as they dipped out of sight beneath an underpass emerging with a 20-metre lead over Biwott and Kimetto.

Both front-runners looked supremely, despite a 2:48 kilometre to reach the 40km

Debutant Tufa cracks the Kenyans talents

Tufa, who won the Shanghai Marathon in 2014, finished in two hours 23 minutes 22 seconds, to beat two-time winner Mary Keitany of Kenya.The biggest win of her career that ended four years of domination by Kenya's women in London.

As for Tufa, she tore up the prediction book to hand Ethiopia its first women’s win since the great Derartu Tulu took the victory 14 years ago.

Tufa grabbed the topsy-turvy race by the scruff of its neck with a devastating burst between 35 and 40K that ripped apart a nine-strong group containing two-times London winner Mary Keitany and world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat.

Tufa threw in a super-swift 40km to pull clear of the pack and strode home alone in 2:23:22.

Keitany won the battle for the runner-up spot with a sprint finish over Tirfi Tsegaye, the New York champion crossing the line one second ahead in 2:23:40, while Aselefech Mergia capped a great day for Ethiopia by finishing fourth ahead of Kiplagat, who couldn’t match her second place from 12 months ago.

As for her namesake, Edna, the defending champion and two-times world champion never featured at the head of the field and lost touch with the fluctuating lead group in the second half, eventually placing 11th in 2:27:16.

Tufa then moved clear alone to win by 18 seconds from Keitany, the 2011 and 2012 winner. Tsegaye was third.

Additional reporting from the organisers