Kipchoge defends London Marathon title, sets course record

 24 Apr 2016 - 15:13

Kipchoge defends London Marathon title, sets course record
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge reacts after crossing the finish line to win the elite men's race of the 2016 London Marathon in central London on April 24, 2016. (AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS)


LONDON: Eliud Kipchoge defended his London Marathon title Sunday by running only eight seconds slower than the world record and setting a course record on a chilly morning.

The 31-year-old Kenyan completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route in front of Buckingham Palace in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 5 seconds.

"I realized I ran a world record for 30 kilometers, then between 30 and 40 I lost about 20 seconds," Kipchoge said. "The record can be for the next time ... but I'm happy I ran the course record."

It was more than a minute faster than the previous London record of 2:04:29 set two years ago by Wilson Kipsang, who finished fifth Sunday.

More significantly, with Kipchoge preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, it was the second fastest marathon of all time, behind the mark of 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014.

"The crowd is what pushed me," Kipchoge said.

Stanley Biwott was 46 seconds behind Kipchoge, while Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia was third.

The men's race was about speed but the women's marathon provided the drama.

Jemima Sumgong claimed her first title after overcoming a fall at a water station with less than four miles remaining that left her holding her head in pain. Aselefech Mergia and Mary Keitany fell with the Kenyan but couldn't recover as strongly, finishing out of the top four.

The 31-year-old Sumgong won in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 58 seconds, with defending champion Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia five seconds behind, and Florence Kiplagat third.

After starting the week by winning her fourth consecutive Boston Marathon, Tatyana McFadden completed a quartet of London wheelchair titles.

McFadden, who was born in Russia and adopted by an American woman as a child, won in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 14 seconds.

"Each year it's going to get tougher and tougher with athletes getting faster," she said. "It was a great day to run, the weather held up thank goodness.

"I was a little nervous towards the end but I found the will within and the drive within."

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won a second London men's wheelchair title in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 24 seconds.