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Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei win London Marathon | Coastweek

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Britain’s Prince Harry is seen with men’s winner of 2019 London Marathon, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge and women’s winner Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei. XINHUA PHOTO - RICHARD WASHBROOKE

Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei win London Marathon

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- World record holder Eliud Kipchoge won his fourth London Marathon title with the second fastest time in history on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Kenyan clocked two hours two minutes and 38 seconds, a time that is only slower than his world record of 2:01:39 set in the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

He also broke the London Marathon course record of 2:03:05 set by himself when he won the event in 2016. He had previously won the title in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew took second place in 2:02:55 and his compatriot Mule Wasihun finished third in 2:03:16.

Local hero and four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah of Britain was fifth in 2:05:39.

25-year-old Brigid Kosgei of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:18:20 to become the youngest female winner in London.

Defending champion and compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot was second in 2:20:14 and Roza Dereje of Ethiopia finished third 2:20:51.
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UPDATES FROM LONDON MARATHON SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:

Historic race as Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge completes London quadruple

LONDON United Kingdom -- Eliud Kipchoge confirmed his status as the greatest marathon runner of all time when he was crowned elite men’s champion for a record fourth time at the 39th Virgin Money London Marathon this morning, after a historic race started by Britain’s tennis superstar Sir Andy Murray.

It was billed as a bout between the reigning champion and another of Britain’s sporting knights, Sir Mo Farah, but the European record holder struggled to play a major role as king Kipchoge shrugged off three dogged rivals to smash his own course record with a winning time of 2:02:37.
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Kipchoge made London Marathon history as he became the first man to complete the men’s quadruple in London, adding yet another superlative to a glittering marathon CV that includes four Berlin titles and Olympic gold.

No one has ever run quicker on this course, and no race has ever been faster bar Kipchoge’s own world record, run in Berlin last September.

After previous London victories in 2015 and 2016, the farmer from Kapsisiywa became the only man to notch up consecutive wins on two occasions as he defended his title in style, taking an 11th career win from 12 races over 26.2 miles and extending an undefeated streak that stretches back to September 2013.

"It feels strange to be considered the most successful elite man in racing," said the ever-humble Kenyan afterwards.

"I’m very, very happy to have won [this race] four times.

  Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei win London Marathon | Coastweek

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge celebrates after winning the men’s race of the 2019 London Marathon. XINHUA PHOTO - RICHARD WASHBROOKE
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"It’s a surprise when everybody tells me I’ve made history, but I’m just pleased to be part of the £1 billion for charity event," he added, dutifully referring to the London Marathon’s own record-breaking fundraising achievement.

Yet this wasn’t a parade for the 34-year-old Kenyan master, for he had to draw on all his racing nous and mental strength to secure the victory ahead of a trio of swift young Ethiopians, who stuck to his tail until the 40km point.

It was Mosinet Geremew who hung on longest and the 27-year-old was rewarded with a runner-up place and an Ethiopian record of 2:02:55 – the fastest ever second place time and third best of all-time, while Mule Wasihun also entered the world top 10, placing third in 2:03:16.

It was the first time in history two men have gone under 2:03 in the same race, as Geremew moved to second on the world all-time list.

As for Farah, the Chicago Marathon champion simply couldn’t stay with the pace. After finishing third in 2018, Farah again followed last year’s runner-up Shura Kitata under the gantry, placing fifth in 2:05:39, less than 30 seconds outside his European record.

"After 20 miles a gap was there that became harder to close," said Farah.

"I tried to reel them in but the wheels came off and I was just hanging on at the end.

"I’m disappointed because training’s gone well."

Farah insisted his controversial build-up this week hadn’t affected his performance.

Indeed, he seemed utterly relaxed at the Start Line, waving his arms to the crowd as his name was announced.

Pacemakers Eric Kiptanui, Stephen Kiprop and Gideon Kipketer led the pack away under overcast skies with Kipchoge immediately taking his customary spot a step behind.

He had set his sights on lowering his own course record of 2:03:05 and conditions were good for the challenge, with cool temperatures, light cloud and a moderate headwind – a welcome change from the record heat of 12 months ago.

The target was to reach halfway in 61 minutes 20 seconds and they were just behind schedule at 5km in 14:23, a steady start before they turned east through Woolwich, Kipchoge looking effortless in his hat, welcome protection against the chilly headwinds.

Kitata hung on to Kipchoge’s heels for all but the last two miles in 2018, and he seemed intent on doing the same this time, striding shoulder-to-shoulder with the master as nine men followed the pacers into Greenwich where they passed 10km in 29:01, matching Kipchoge’s split during his world record run last September.

Wasihun and Geremew were also prominent, while Farah was at the tail of the group, seemingly adopting the well-practiced tactics that have brought him four Olympic and six world titles on the track.

They hit 15km in 43:42, on a for sub-2:03 finish, and clipped past the 10-mile point in Rotherhithe in 46:52, Kipchoge’s focus fixed on the wall of pacers’ backs ahead of him.

That’s how it stayed as they swept through Bermondsey and swung right over Tower Bridge passing 20km in 58:25.

There were still nine together as they hit half way in 61:37, but that soon changed as the leaders threw in a 4:32 mile and six opened a gap on the rest, leaving Farah four or five seconds adrift.

This was the first significant move of the race, a sustained surge at the front as Kipchoge shrugged off the pacemakers and took four Ethiopians with him onto the Isle of Dogs.

The king now had the quadruple in his sights and the course record in his legs.

Still wearing white arms bands, the Kenyan looked as serene as ever, Kitata a step behind over his right shoulder, Geremew to his left and Wasihun between the two.

The champion gestured for one of them to do their bit at the front, but these were men hanging on at a pace no one has ever run here before.

He took them into the twists and turns of Canary Wharf, and led the field through 30km in 1:27:04 after a 14:26 5km split, the quickest of the race.

The quartet of leaders turned into the westerly breeze with three podium places up for grabs.

Again Kipchoge gestured for help; again his rivals refused.

History beckoned for the world’s greatest, but they weren’t going to make it easy.

Behind them Britain’s greatest was trying to claw his way back into contention, now in fifth, 46 seconds off the pace as Kipchoge passed 35km in 1:41:55 (14:51) and headed down The Highway with a trio of shadows stuck to his heels.

Now it was a battle of mental and physical strength, and no one has more of both than Kipchoge.

A year ago, Kitata was the last to hold on, sticking to Kipchoge till Blackfriars underpass.

This time he was the first to slip back, but the world record holder still had two with him as they emerged onto Victoria Embankment.

He kicked again and Wasihun lost touch.

He moved to his right to take a last welcome drink, and Geremew was gone.

Kipchoge now opened his legs to pass 40km in 1:56:20 with a two-second lead after a 4:30 25th mile.

At last a thin smile began to show on his face and he knew the race was his.

Yet again, he’d led from start to finish; yet again, he’d proved to be supreme.

Now running freely in glorious isolation, he strode through Parliament Square, around St James’s Park and onto The Mall, saluting the cheering crowds on both sides as he broke the tape with his arms outstretched at his sides.

"It was a very tactical race as everyone was there," he said.

"But I know how to win this race and I was confident.

"I didn’t feel it was in doubt at any point.

"The crowd in London is wonderful. In the last kilometer, when everyone is shouting, it’s just amazing.

|It made me so happy to cross the line."

Behind the medallists, Farah’s training partner Bashir Abdi took the Belgian record with 2:07:03, while Callum Hawkins was the second Briton home in a huge personal best of 2:08:14, clinching World Championship and Tokyo Olympic qualification in the process.

Brigid Kosgei makes it a Kenyan clean sweep

LONDON United Kingdom -- Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei elevated herself to the real elite of endurance running on Sunday, recording the fastest second half of a marathon ever seen as she destroyed the finest field in history to be crowned the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon champion.

The 25-year-old produced a veritable tour de force, clocking 2 hours 18 minutes 20 seconds – the ninth fastest run in history - to leave last year’s victor Vivian Cheruiyot trailing in second by nearly two minutes and preventing fifth-placed Mary Keitany from fulfilling her dream of a record-equalling fourth title.
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Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei win London Marathon | Coastweek

  Kosgei’s triumph stemmed from a fantastic second half of the race, which she covered in 66 minutes 42 seconds, quicker even than Keitany’s incredible 66:58 in New York last year.

And by running away from her two world-beating 30-something compatriots, Kosgei, the sixth different Kenyan winner of the women’s race in the last seven editions, confirmed herself as a major new force in marathon running following her triumph in Chicago last year.

In the 2018 edition of the race, Kosgei finished runner-up to the 35-year-old Cheruiyot, who stormed through the second half after the first had been run phenomenally quickly.

This time, though, after a contrastingly pedestrian first 13.1 miles, it was Kosgei who emphatically turned the tables on the champion with a breathtaking performance.

LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei celebrates after winning the women’s London Marathon. XINHUA PHOTO - RICHARD WASHBROOKE
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She reckoned it wasn’t easy in the windy conditions over the first few miles but her second-half surges over the last nine miles, all run into the wind at just over five-minute mile pace, made it look that way as she repelled a courageous fightback from Cheruiyot after one break by then surging away again to victory over the last four-and-a-half miles.

"The wind was a problem for me to start with today, but not in the closing stages.

"It was hard for me to get my breath but I’m very happy to have done so well," said Kosgei, who could celebrate a sixth win in her 10th marathon.

"I’m extremely happy in my performance and everything went to plan."

She crossed the line 1 minute 54 seconds clear of Cheruiyot (2:20:14), making it the biggest winning margin in the women’s race since Paula Radcliffe demolished the field in 2005.

Effectively, Kosgei had dominated the highest-quality women’s marathon in history, with three other Kenyan sub 2hr 19min runners in the field having to bow to the younger woman.

The hugely promising 21-year-old Ethiopian Roza Dereje (2:20:51) won the sprint on The Mall for third place to prevent a Kenyan podium sweep, outpacing the duo of three-time Berlin champion Gladys Cherono and Keitany, the greatest marathoner of her generation who, at 37, just never really looked in the form to achieve her quest of equalling Ingrid Kristiansen’s four titles.

Nobody wanted to push the pace over the first half, which left Kosgei frustrated.

"I’m not happy because nobody wanted to push so I had to go alone towards the finish," she explained.

And she was so focused on breaking the challenge and spirit of Cheruiyot that she didn’t even stop to take on water at the drink stations.

"I don’t want water to drink, I felt happy," she explained, as her rivals definitely didn’t look happy.

Not that Cheruiyot had any complaints about losing her crown.

"In athletics, it’s mine today, tomorrow it’s for another person.

"Brigid was stronger than me."

In contrast to last year’s blistering early pace, the main contenders set off far more conservatively, running nearly two minutes slower than in 2018 over the opening 10 kilometres.

The first to shine on a cool, windy morning was 42-year-old Australian Sinead Diver who looked impatient to push on the pace and, helped by pacemaker Eunice Chumba, forged on to open up a 16-second lead over all the main contenders at halfway in 71 minutes 21 seconds.

In 2018, the leaders had covered the same distance over four minutes quicker but it was still uncharted territory for the Australian veteran, who was soon roped in at the 14-mile mark as the pace was upped and the real race, featuring all four Kenyan favourites, began to unfold.

The leading group of six was quickly broken up as Cheruiyot, Kosgei and Roza Dereje inserted a blistering burst, covering the 15th, 16th and 17th miles in 15:22, effectively ending Keitany’s hopes.

Kosgei made what looked like an early but decisive push for home over the next two miles, opening up a significant 30m gap, trying to run the speed out of the Olympic 5000m champion’s legs.

Yet Cheruiyot, unfazed by her rival’s scintillating sub-five minute 18th mile, was back on terms within two miles, leaving the pair in an absorbing side-by-side duel until the in-form Kosgei surged once again, while throwing in a 22nd mile in 5:05 to again surge clear.

This time, the move was decisive as she poured on the pressure over the closing miles.

Yet Kosgei was convinced we have not seen the best of her yet. "I will run better than I have today," she smiled.

             

 

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