Brilliant Kipchoge and brave Sumgong light up London

Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:40am EDT
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By Ian Chadband

LONDON (Reuters) - Eliud Kipchoge produced the second fastest run in marathon history to successfully defend his London Marathon title while his Kenyan compatriot Jemima Sumgong showed remarkable courage after a fall to win the women's race on Sunday.

There was sheer brilliance from the elegant Kipchoge, who retained his crown in a course record 2 hours 3 minutes 5 seconds and looked faintly disappointed to finish an agonizing eight seconds outside Dennis Kimetto's landmark of 2:02:57.

From Sumgong, though, there was nothing but bravery as the 31-year-old picked herself up after banging her head on the ground when she was tripped at a water station eight kilometers from the finish.

Astonishingly, the experienced Kenyan battled back into contention and prevailed in a duel with last year's winner, Ethiopia's Tigist Tufa, for her first major marathon title since Rotterdam three years ago.

Kipchoge, the former teenage track phenomenon whose performance confirmed him as one of the greatest all-round talents seen in endurance running, won his sixth of seven marathons with a sublime display.

In cool conditions perfect for a stellar field, Kipchoge demolished his opponents one by one as they could not live with the world-record pace. He finally broke away from fellow Kenyan, New York champion Stanley Biwott, in the final three kilometers.

The 31-year-old powered home to beat Biwott by 46 seconds and shatter Kenyan Wilson Kipsang's course record of 2:04:29.

In third place was Ethiopian distance great Kenenisa Bekele, who was over three and a half minutes behind the champion in 2:06:36. World record holder Kimetto finished ninth in 2:11:44.   Continued...

Athletics - 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon - London - 24/4/16
Great Britain's Prince Harry poses with the winner of the men's race Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and the women's race Jemima Sumgong
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs