Kiptum and Hassan take 2023 London Marathon titles

Kelvin Kiptum closes in 59:45 for London Marathon title??!

Kelvin Kiptum produced a devastating second half to tear apart a competitive London field, closing the second half in a scarcely unbelievable 59:45, the second fastest marathon in history 2:01:25 and a new course record.

The men’s race was aggressive from the off, the lead group heading through 5km in 14:30, below course record pace and 29:13 through 10k.As they passed over Tower Bridge just after 20k, Kenenisa Bekele slowly lost contact with the lead group as a large pack passed through halfway in 1:01:40.

The group slowly whittled itself down, reigning champion Amos Kipruto, Legese, Kamworor, Tamirat Tola and Kelvin Kiptum all present as the race gradually picked up the pace.

The Men’s race exploded into life just before 31km as Kiptum did a massive surge with only Kamworor able to keep him in sight.Kiptum already boasted the fastest second half in marathon history in his debut when he ran 2.01:53 in Valencia but improbably over the next 10km he would only seem to get faster. 13.49 from 30 to 35km, 14:01 from 35km to 40km.

With a mile to go conversations moved to whether Kiptum would break the world record but he would fall a fraction short, 16 seconds outside Eliud Kipchoge’s mark.Behind him two-time New York winner Geoffrey Kamworor ran 2:04:23 for a new personal best with Tamirat Tola 2:04:59 in third.

Sifan Hassan comes back from the dead

In the greatest women’s field ever assembled at the London marathon, Sifan Hassan made one of the most impressive marathon debuts of all time moving away from Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir and Alemu Megertu of Ethiopia in the final few hundred metres to finish in 2:18:33.

Hassan looked to have trouble early on, holding her hip and dropping back from the lead pack before the halfway mark but rallying over the second half to chase down and pass a whole host of the world’s best marathoners.  

After the early abandonment of world-record holder Brigid Kosgei all the pre-race favorites were present as a 12-strong pack headed through 10km in just inside 32:37.

The group was reduced to nine including one pacemaker through halfway as the women reached that mark in 68:29, the only notable drop-off in that stretch Hassan.

Such was the quality on show in London that after Kosgei’s abandonment three athletes boasted personal bests within seven seconds of each other, Peres Jepchrichir the fastest with 2:17:16, Almaz Ayana 2:17:20 and Yalemzerf Yehualaw the third of the trio in 2:17:23. World 1500m record holder Genezebe Dibaba with 2:18:05 was barely a fraction behind.

By 25km the pack was reduced to six, Dibaba and Yehualaw sitting behind Jepchrichir whose 15:54 from 20 to 25km was the fastest of the race so far. Hassan kept them in her sights but did not figure at that point in the race winner conversation.

But with Hassan showing an incredible recovery and closing down that lead pack over the next five km Jepchrichir made a significant move at 31km, in the process whittling down the front group to four. Jepchrichir lead, tracked by Yehualaw, Sheila Chepkirui and  Alemu Megertu, Dibaba dropping back.At 36km Hassan regained touch with the lead group as Jepchirchir and Yehualaw seemed to size each other up and a five-strong pack ran together along the Embankment.As they turned towards Big Ben, Megertu made the initial move with 800m to go, Yehualaw slipping back but on the turn for the Mall Hassan moved away, in the end winning comfortably and putting her hands to her head in disbelief. Featured image “Start des Marathons der Frauen von der Tower Bridge in London bei der Leichtathletik-WM” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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