Underdog Kipruto wins London Marathon
Kenya’s Amos Kipruto Kipruto claimed his maiden World Marathon Major title, winning the London marathon in the British capital in 2:04.39 on Sunday.
Kipruto who had finished second at Tokyo Marathon in March this year, perfectly timed his finishing kick as he put up a brilliant run in the final five kilometres to reclaim the title for Kenya.
Ethiopian Leul Gebreselasie was second in 2:05:12 followed by Belgian Abdi Bashir in 2:05:19 as Kenenisa Bekele settled for fifth in 2:05:53. Birhanu Legese also from Ethiopia was sixth in 2:06:11 followed by compatriot and defending champion Sisay Lemma in 2:07:26.
Bekele and Legese exchanged leads at the front covering 10kms in 29:26 and 20km in 59:12 with Kipruto shoulder to shoulder. At the 37km mark, the Kenyan stepped on his pedals and glided away, Leul not managing to keep up with the tempo.
The 30-year-old, 2019 World bronze medallist didn’t look back, commanding the pace and majestically dotting down the finishing stretch to clinch the title. Kipruto had quietly sat in between the leading pack and waited for the opportune time to strike and once he noticed that the rest of the athletes were struggling, he shot to the lead.
He had a 17-second lead with two kilometres to run, and he never seemed to tire, with glory in sight. In the Women’s race, Ethiopia’s Yehualaw Yalemzerf pulled away from defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei in the final five kilometres to title in 2:17:26 on Sunday.
The Kenyan who won the title last season finished second in 2:18:07, with compatriot Judith Korir finishing fourth in 2:18:43. Yehualaw bounced back from a fall at the 35km mark to majestically step up the pace and put up a gruelling effort to clinch her first-ever title.
Traditional spring date This year’s London Marathon marks the third and final time it will take place in October - moved because of the Covid-19 pandemic - with the race returning to its traditional spring date in 2023.
The races were officially started by England’s Euro 2022 champions Leah Williamson, Ellen White and Jill Scott - the latter no stranger to the event after winning the Mini Marathon back in 2001.
Looming rail strikes and a string of high-profile withdrawals - including Mo Farah and women’s world record holder Brigid Kosgei - hit the marathon in race week, while Britain’s Charlotte Purdue was one of several athletes to pull out on Sunday morning through illness.
But with the forecasted rain holding off, some 42,000 runners have taken to the streets of London for the 26.2 mile route from Greenwich to the finish line on the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.
Paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her death in September, the British Army Band played the national anthem prior to the start of the elite men’s race and mass start. Among those running with inspirational stories were the Kerr family, from Annahilt in Northern Ireland, for whom Sunday’s race marked their 50th marathon.
David and Sandra Kerr’s 25-year-old son Aaron has a series of complex needs and uses a wheelchair, so he is pushed around the marathon course by his parents.