Kenya's Kipchoge adds London title to marathon collection

AFP , Sunday 26 Apr 2015

Eliud Kipchoge
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya celebrates after he wins the Men's race in the 35th London Marathon, Sunday (Photo: AP)

Eliud Kipchoge led a Kenyan clean sweep of the podium places as he won the men's London Marathon on Sunday in an unofficial time of two hours, four minutes and 41 seconds.

The final mile saw former world 5,000 metres champion Kipchoge sprint clear of Wilson Kipsang, last year's London winner, with world record-holder Dennis Kimetto finishing in third place.

Victory saw Kipchoge add the London title to his wins in last year's Rotterdam and Chicago marathons.

Kipchoge, 30, who went up in distance after his world title success on the track in Paris in 2003, beat a field featuring the three-fastest marathon runners of all-time.

His winning time on Sunday was well outside Kipsang's London record of 2hrs 04 mins and 29 secs set last year but as he smiled and waved to the crowd down the finishing straight, it was clear that victory meant more to Kipchoge than a fast time.

Kipsang's unofficial time of 2:04:47 would, if confirmed, make him the quickest-ever London runner-up, surpassing Stanley Biwott's 2:04:55 last year.

Kimetto came in third this year in an unofficial time of 2:05:50, with Biwott in fourth place.

In the women's race, there was a shock win for Tigist Tufa as the Ethiopian ended fours years of Kenyan domination in London.

Tufa, 28, was only the ninth-fastest competitor in the elite women's field but, following a protracted tactical battle, broke clear from the pack and even had time to wave to the crowd down the finishing straight as she won by some 18 seconds from Kenya's Mary Keitany in an unofficial time of two hours, 23 minutes and 22 seconds.

Keitany, the winner of the race in 2011 and 2012, just did enough to hold off Tufa's compatriot, Tirfi Tsegaye, in the battle for second place.

Tufa, the 2014 Shanghai Marathon champion, was the first Ethiopian to win the London women's race since Derartu Tulu in 2001.

This year's edition had been billed as four-way clash between the Kenyan quartet of defending champion Edna Kiplagat, Keitany, half-marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo, the London winner in 2013.

Tufa was hardly talked about but, in cool conditions and under grey skies, the relatively slow pace early on meant she was able to stay among the leading group before a 25th mile completed in just 5mins 07secs saw her pull clear, with the chasing pack unable to respond.

The 2015 London Marathon also marked British distance-running heroine Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the event.

Running among the main field, rather than with the elite competitors, the 41-year-old was bowing out on the same course where in 2003 she set a women's world record of 2:15:25 that still stands.

However, Radcliffe's career has been blighted by a series of injuries in recent years, with illness and fitness problems helping deny her an Olympic title.

Radcliffe crossed the line on Sunday in an unofficial time of 2:36:55..

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