LONDON: World record-holder Wilson Kipsang won the men’s London Marathon in a course record two hours, four minutes and 29 seconds yesterday as Britain’s Mo Farah found life tough on his debut over the distance.
Kipsang’s smashed the previous London record of 2:04:40 set by fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai in 2011.
It was a second London victory for Kipsang, the 2012 champion, who outpaced compatriot Stanley Biwatt in the finishing straight.
Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, last year’s winner was third, and Ayele Abshero of Ethiopia was fourth.
Kenya celebrated a race double as Edna Kiplagat, runner-up for the past two years in London, won the women’s event.
Kipsang and Mutai were always among the leading men’s group and gradually pulled clear of the field.
Farah, reigning Olympic and world 5,000 and 10,000 metres champion, finished in eighth place having failed to break Steve Jones’s British record of 2:07:13, which has stood since 1985.
“I will be back,” Farah told the BBC.
“I’m not going to finish it like this. I gave it my all but I’m disappointed I didn’t go out there and give what the crowd deserve.”
British distance great Brendan Foster, commentating on the race, urged Farah to stick to defending his track gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
However, the 31-year-old Farah refused to be rushed into a decision on his future, saying: “It was pretty tough. I’m disappointed but you try things and sometimes it doesn’t work, but you have to give it a go.
“You learn -- life goes on.”
Farah, not helped by missing a drink station shortly after the half-way mark, added: “I gave it a go. That’s all I could do. I’m just disappointed I didn’t go out there and give a bit more what the crowd deserve and the people supporting me.
“But the field was tough. You’ve got Olympic champions just finishing now. It was the strongest field ever put together by the London Marathon.
“I’ve gone straight in at the deep end, but that’s what athletics is all about.”
The two-times reigning world champion Edna Kiplagat won in 2:20:21 in with Florence Kiplagat three seconds further back in second place.
After breaking away from the field, the pair remained close together until the final bend when Edna Kiplagat surged ahead.
Florence Kiplagat could not respond and Edna Kiplagat broke the finish line tape several yards in front.
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, the Olympic and world 10,000 metres champion, marked her marathon debut by finishing in third place.
She had looked set to challenge the Kenyan duo for much of the race but paid a heavy price for dropping a water bottle and stopping to pick it up. Dibaba finished 14 seconds adrift.
In the men’s wheelchair race, David Weir’s bid for a record seventh London title saw the Briton just edged out in a sprint finish by Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, who won in a time of 1:32:39.
“This is a really sweet victory and it feels great to finally win this race,” said Hug. “It is great to compete against David Weir and also great to beat him.”
Weir added: “It is disappointing but I felt strong all the way through but Marcel was just that bit ahead.”
In the women’s wheelchair race, Tatyana McFadden of the United States successfully defended her title just a month after winning a cross-country skiing silver medal at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi.
The 24-year-old won in a course record 1:45:11, more than a minute-and-a half clear of Swiss runner-up Manuela Schar.