The developing rivalry between Jacob Kiplimo and Kibiwott Kandie took another turn this Sunday as the Ugandan stole the Kenyan’s world half-marathon record thanks to a 57:31 clocking in Lisbon.
Alone in world record pursuit
Kiplimo made his move a startling 3k into the race, finding himself all alone with over ten miles left. Passing through 5k in 13:40 (57:40 pace), Kiplimo covered the next five in 13.25 (56:37 pace) to leave himself around ten seconds below world record pace.
Mindbogglingly Kiplimo went even faster for the next five as he clocked a 13.22 split. It meant he passed through 15k on 56:54 pace. The 40:27 split is a new 15k world best.
Running all alone for over 12k it is unsurprising Kiplimo slowed but he had enough time in the bank, finishing in 57:31 to edge out Kandie’s world record.
Charles Hicks led home the British interest but there were plenty of other good performances across the board. If yesterday taught us anything it’s just how stacked the NCAA is. All athletes’ most recent UK club is in brackets.
Bella Williams – 51 (20:07.0) – Utah (Lincoln Wellington)
The NCAA Cross Country Division 1 has a rich tradition of British runners making their mark. This year is no different. Here’s this years ones to watch. The race will be shown live on BT Sport 2 in the UK from 3pm Saturday 20th November.
Scott Beattie – Tulsa – 3rd Midwest Regional
Alongside Charles Hicks Britain’s best individual hope. The Morpeth athlete ran 28.41 earlier in the summer over 10,000m. He is coached by Mike Bateman.
Adam Fogg – Drake- 4th Midwest Regional
Brit-Aussie Adam Fogg won the most recent Podium 5k in Barrowford (13.45). He is formerly of Coventry.
Rory Leonard – Oklahoma State – 15th Midwest Regional
13.50 over 5,000 earlier this year, the Morpeth man will be gunning for the team title.
Isaac Akers – Tulsa – 23rd Midwest Regional
13.47 over 5,000 in a Watford BMC earlier this summer, the Corby man is coached by Bill Boyd.
Charles Hicks – Stanford – 2nd West Regionals
US based for most of his life, Hicks is formerly of Shaftesbury Barnet. 14th in this event earlier this year he will be going for a top ten finish. Hicks ran 27.47 to finish seventh in the NCAA Div 1 10,000m final this summer.
Logan Rees – Boise State – 18th West Regionals (Individual Qualifier)
An individual qualifier Rees has impressed on the cross. Coached by Ron Morrison he is a Fife athlete.
George Duggan – Portland – 32nd West Regionals
Duggan of Tonbridge finished 14th in the 2018 English National. In the UK he is a Mark Hookway man.
Charles Wheeler – Wisconsin-Madison – 32nd Great Lakes Regional
The MK Distance Project athlete ran 7.58 indoors over 3,000m. In the UK he is coached by James Bennett.
The 10,000m Olympic title belongs to Ethiopia. Selemon Berega’s incredible final 600m took the title away from an expectant Joshua Cheptegui and installed himself as the 25-lap king. Not far behind was another Ethiopian, one used to stalking the more famous stars but who shows increasing signs of setting the pace. Berihu Aregawi could be Ethiopia’s new distance phenomenon.
Aregawi is from Atsbi Womberta, a small town in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia. He only began to take the sport seriously at the age of 14. He’s caught up fast.
Aregawi is from a gifted generation. In 2018 he made his debut outside Ethiopia, finishing third over 10,000m behind Rhonex Kipruto and Jacob Kiplimo in the World U20 Champs in Tampere. A good start but not groundbreaking for a nation that has won 40 golds throughout the championship’s history. Only the USA, Kenya and Russia have won more than Ethiopia.
Whilst Kiplimo and Kipruto broke barriers, Aregawi made steady progress in the background. In August over 3000m he ran 7.42 and 13.15 over 5000m ten days later. Mind-bending runs for a 17-year-old but efforts we have begun to normalise in an era of incredible junior running.
At the end of the year Aregawi ran in the Youth Olympic Games Cross-County, being outsprinted by Kenya’s Jackson Muema for gold. It was a solid introductory year to international running.
2019 was quiet for Aregawi but did not go without one highly impressive win. The Great Ethiopia Run is an annual 10km race held at the altitude of Addis Ababa (c. 2,300m). Times should therefore be slow if not for the world-class calibre of the runners.
Deriba Merga holds the course record from 2006 when he ran 28.18. Since then Mosinet Geremew, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Tamirat Tola and Selemon Berega have all tried to beat it.
None have come closer than an 18-year-old Berihu Aregawi. 28.23, Aregawi had put the world on notice.
If not for the coronavirus pandemic, Aregawi’s arrival on the senior stage may have come much sooner. In February of 2020, in the days running up to his 19th birthday he won in Metz over 3000m before finishing fifth in the World Indoor Tour in Lievin (7.35.78).
His only other appearance that year was a narrow defeat to Nicholas Kimeli at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. A 13.08.91 run at altitude represented another step forward but again a mark likely to go under the radar.
A breakthrough 2021
Aregawi’s 2021 opener was a return to Lieven. A 7.29.24 clocking in any other year would have had us talking of Aregawi as a Tokyo contender for gold over 5000m. Eighth on the all-time list it was only good enough for fourth on the day as Getnet Wale came within 0.08s of Daniel Komen’s 23-year-old world record.
If Aregawi had doubters he answered them emphatically in the Ethiopian Champs in April, beating Hagos Gebrhiwet, Yomif Kejelcha and Tadesse Worku for gold.
Two months later he earnt his Olympic place in Hengelo running 26.50 for third and ran well for fourth in Tokyo. There is no great shame in either performance but Aregawi has since shown he is aiming far higher.
Consistent improvement has Aregawi heading for top
A fifth place at the Pre Classic over two miles (8.11.04) showed good range but it was at Lausanne that he started to show his class. Running 7.33.39 it was the way he pushed Jakob Ingebrigtsen all the way that will have given him the greatest comfort.
In Zurich he kicked on, dominating Nicholas Kimeli, Birhanu Balew and Yomif Kejelcha to run sub 13.00 (12.58.65) on the city-centre street track.
Last week Aregawi rounded off the year in style, winning over 5km in Lille and coming within a second of Joshua Cheptegui’s World 5k record. He did so finishing over 30 seconds clear of second place.
It marks another year of impressive improvement for Aregawi, a man who is still early on in his professional career.
If he improves once more he may well find himself with no-one left to follow. Ethiopian running and Berihu Aregawi are in rude health.
Featured image is an edit of original image Meeting-de-la-Tchaux-champsseries-2021-09-09T011342.692
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Peres Jepchirchir underlined her status as the finest female marathon runner on the planet with a devastating kick to take the New York Marathon title. In doing so she becomes the first female ever to win both Olympic gold and New York in the same calendar year.
In the men’s race an impressive Albert Korir improved on his 2019 second place to defeat the pre-race favourites and take his first major marathon honours. It was a fitting reward for a bold move over six miles from the finish.
Jepchirchir leaves it late on streets of New York
Through halfway in 1.12.43 the leading pack was nine strong. It included four Americans in Annie Frisbie, Laura Thweatt, Molly Seidel and Kellyn Taylor. But it was at 30k where the race really took shape, a leading trio of Violah Cheptoo, Ababel Yeshaneh and Jepchirchir slowly pulling away from Molly Seidel in fourth.
Gaps behind them grew as the three of them covered 30-35k in 16.19 (sub 2.18 pace) before taking 35-40k in 16.43. From there it was Ababel Yeshaneh who was the first to make the move. Surging inside with around 800m to go Jepchirchir then made her own dash for home. Violah Cheptoo would track her but fail to close the distance.
Jepchirchir’s winning time was 2.22.39 ahead of Cheptoo just five seconds back. Yeshaneh finished in 2.22.52 for third.
Molly Seidel came home an impressive fourth in 2.24.42, herself running a significant negative split. (72:43: 71:59)
Jepchirchir’s half splits were 72.43/69:56 as she came just eight seconds short of Margaret Okayo’s 2003 course record.
The men’s race ignited only 10k in as Eyob Faniel and Mohamed El Aaraby set an aggressive pace for the second 10k. After an opening 30:46, Faniel split 29:45 from 10-20k to lead a seven-strong pack behind by 43 seconds.
By the half El Aaraby and Faniel’s lead had stretched to 51 seconds as they passed through in 63:57. At 25k Kibiwott Kandie and Albert Korir began to deem the gap too dangerous aggressively closed. 43 seconds behind at 25k they made the catch by 30k, splitting 14.11 on the way.
Both men would slow down but it was Korir who held firmest, covering 30-35k in 14.57 as distance grew to El Aaraby and Kandie. Faniel was enduring a difficult patch in fourth. Pre-race favourites Abdi Nageeye and Kenenisa Bekele were over two minutes behind and out of the equation.
All were suffering but it was Korir who managed best, extending the lead over El Aaraby to 27 seconds in a 15.43 35-40k. Korir rallied further by the finish to win in 2.08.22. El Aaraby was second (2.09.06) and Eyob Faniel a well deserved third (2.09.52). Kandie would fade to ninth in 2.13.43.
2021 has been a great year for elite marathons and Sunday 5th December may witness the best of the lot with the 41st edition of the Valencia Marathon. With an elite field to rival most marathon majors expect world record tilts and epic showdowns. Here’s our Valencia Marathon preview.
Lawrence Cherono is the fastest in the men’s elite field courtesy of his second place finish in Valencia last year. His 2.03.04 is a truly world class best and he comes off the back of a fourth place finish in Tokyo.
Brutal conditions there saw him fare worst in a three-way battle for second but the Kenyan remains a class act. The winner of both Boston and Chicago in 2019 he also took the Amsterdam title in 2017 and 2018.
In Geoffrey Kamworor, Cherono may face his greatest challenge, despite the three-time New York winner having only the seventh fastest personal best. Kamworor made his marathon debut in 2012 and his third place finish that day in Berlin remains his fastest to date (2.06.12). That doesn’t tell the full story of Kamworor who has rarely found himself at the traditional fast courses, at least since he seems to have mastered the distance. His marathon career so far reads as follows:
2012 – Berlin – 3rd – 2.06.12
2013 – Rotterdam – 4th – 2.09.12
2013 – Berlin – 3rd – 2.06.26
2014 – Tokyo – 6th – 2.07.37
2014 – Berlin – 4th – 2.06.39
2015 – New York – 1st – 2.10.48
2017 – New York – 1st – 2.10.53
2018 – New York – 3rd – 2.06.26
2019 – New York – 1st – 2.08.13
Kamworor will hope Valencia rewrites his personal best.
Amos Kipruto is the third fastest in the field thanks to his fourth place last year (2.03.30). The Kenyan is also a world bronze medallist from 2019. Kipruto’s career as a marathon runner has featured wins in Rome (2016) Seoul (2017) as well as podiums at Tokyo and Berlin (both 2018). The Kenyan will hope to return to form having dropped out of the Olympic marathon and finished 18th in Tokyo in 2020.
The Ethiopian challenge
Mule Wasihun will spearhead the Ethiopian challenge and boasts a 2.03.16 best from London in 2019. Somewhat shockingly Wasihun has never won a city marathon, but has podiumed at Dubai (2017), Amsterdam (2018) and London (2019). It would be some time to break that duck. Wasihun was last seen finishing fifth at last year’s London Marathon (2.06.08).
Getaneh Molla is no stranger to upsetting the odds having won Dubai in 2019 in the fastest marathon debut of all-time (2.03.34). But his quiet 2020 and 2021 mean he will not start favourite. Since winning Dubai, Molla has raced sparingly, finishing 19th in Tokyo last year (2.08.12) and 10th in the Ethiopian 10,000m trials for Tokyo (27.44).
Kinde Atanaw has tasted what it feels like to win in Valencia, having taken the title in 2019 (2.03.51). He failed to finish in his attempt to defend the title in 2020 and was last seen finishing sixth in Prague earlier this year (2.11.00). This is only Atanaw’s fourth marathon and he will hope to return to form.
Half marathon star Amdalak Belihu will hope for a competitive debut at the marathon distance. The Ethiopian boasts a 58.54 best over the half, finishing second in the Delhi Half in 2020. Belihu was fifth at World Half Champs in 2020 and won Delhi Half in 2019. He is one to watch.
The best of the rest
Gabriel Geay of Tanzania is a marathon stud on his day but will hope to find consistency in Valencia. Geay failed to finish his first two attempts at the distance, both in Lake Biwa in 2019 and 2020. He ran 2.04.55 earlier this year in Milan to finish sixth but failed to finish the Olympic marathon. This is his fifth attempt at the distance.
The women’s field at Valencia isn’t quite as strong as previous years but does feature some talented athletes.
A stacked Ethiopian quintet
Guteni Shone heads the field with a 2.20.11 best from Dubai in 2020. The Ethiopian was second earlier this year in Prague (2.21.46) and is a Ottawa Marathon winner from 2017 (2.30.18), Seoul in 2015 (2.26.22) and Seville in 2019 (2.24.28). The experienced campaigner lines up for her 19th marathon.
Azmera Gebru will share Ethiopia’s hopes and has had a solid career at the distance. Third in Amsterdam on debut in 2018 (2.23.31), she was second the next year in Paris (2.22.52) and sixth in Tokyo in 2020 (2.22.58). Her last attempt was in Milan earlier this year, where she failed to finish but if she does get round the course she always seems to perform.
Tadelech Bekele is the third of the Ethiopians on paper, with her 2.21.40 best ran in 2018 thanks to a third place in London. Bekele won Amsterdam that year (2.23.14). Her more recent marathons include a DNF in London in 2019 and a ninth place in Valencia two years ago (2.22.53). With no racing since January 2020, it remains to be seen just which Bekele we will see.
Rahma Tusa is a three-time Rome winner with her last title coming in 2018 where she ran her 2.23.46 best. The Ethiopian’s last outing came in a seventh place finish in Siena (2.25.09)
The Seville winner from 2020, Juliet Chekwel of Uganda is another who will hope to return to form. That day she ran 2.23.13 over half an hour better than her 69th place finish at this years Olympics. With horrible conditions in Japan, Chekwel may yet be Valencia’s surprise package.
Nancy Jelagat may only have a 2.36.22 best but her 65.21 clocking at the Berlin Half suggest considerable scope for improvement. Jelagat’s last attempt at the distance resulted in a DNF in London (2020) and her only other attempt remains her win in Treviso in 2019. With a 30.50 10km clocking on the roads if she can judge her effort the Kenyan may be one to watch.
Melat Kejeta has performed admirably for Germany. Kejeta was sixth at the Olympics over the marathon. and won a silver medal at the World Half Marathon Champs in 2020. It would perhaps be disingenuous to call her a surprise package (she’s well credentialed) but her best remains a 2.23.57 clocking from Berlin in 2019 (6th). This will be her third marathon.
This is the fourth marathon of Bornes Chepkirui‘s 2021 and she will hope to improve on a difficult year so far. Failing to finish in Milan she was 41st in Eldoret in June and third in Rotterdam in October. With a very swift turnaround from her Dutch outing it may be a tough ask for her to challenge the best of the Ethiopians. Chepkirui holds a 2.21.26 best, achieved in winning the Ljubljana Marathon in 2019.
Dorcas Tuitoek makes her second attempt at the marathon with her previous attempt resulting in a 2019 DNF in London. That year she ran 66.33 over the half has not yet shown that form in 2021. The Kenyan has run 69.04 and 70.58 over the half so far this year.
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For almost 29 years Kevin Young’s 1992 mark of 46.78 stood untested. One of the greatest world records in history it is perhaps the American who has valid cause for a place on this list.
On 1st July 2021 that mark finally fell, Karsten Warholm nudging the record lower by eight hundredths of a second. That enough was outstanding but by the measure of what came next it was pedestrian.
In Tokyo on August 3rd Warholm and Rai Benjamin went toe-to-toe for Olympic gold. Stride by stride heading into the final 40 metres Warholm was the one to edge it. With it he decimated his own world record and became the first man under 46 seconds (45.94). Behind him Rai Benjamin (46.17), himself over half a second beneath the previous mark, with Alison Dos Santos (46.72) also running faster than Young’s mark.
The greatest hurdles race in history, it perhaps has cause to be higher up the list.
Yulimar Rojas is the sports most dominant triple jumper. It is a fact made all the more astounding by the fact she started her career as a high jumper.
The Colombian came to Tokyo knowing that a world record was within her grasp and she had many hoping she would do it.
Inessa Kravets jumped 15.50m in the 1995 Gothenburg World Champs, the same competition in which the men’s world record was set. Her world title triumph and subsequent Olympic gold reveal that was no fluke but it was not without some scepticism. The Ukranian was banned twice in her career for performance enhancing drugs.
In May Rojas got within seven centimetres of the mark, two better than her previous best from 2019 and in Tokyo she took lift off. 15.67 metres Rojas now possesses five of the six biggest jumps in history and looks set to rewrite those records some more. Rojas has just turned 26.
3. Anita Wlodarczyk – Tampere – August 2016
No athlete to have ever lived can claim the levels of dominance of Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland. The three-time Olympic champ has broken the world record on four separate occasions.
Wlodarczyk’s 82.98m best from Tampere is truly otherworldly sitting over 2.5m ahead of the next best athlete.
With fifteen of the sixteen best throws in history Wlodarczyk is more than worthy of her place at number three of athletics craziest records.
You could make a case that Bolt’s 200m world record was just as worthy but it is his 100m performance from Berlin that takes our place.
Everyone knew Bolt was special. Beijing had shown us that but it was Berlin that made things silly. 9.58 seconds, eleven hundredths of a second quicker than any other man in history. To make things even more ludicrous it is a wider margin than his 200m world record (0.07 seconds).
Sparking debates of whether Bolt would be the first man under 9.50 seconds, Bolt would never run faster.
You’d hard pressed to find many who think his record will fall anytime soon.
1. Jackie Joyner-Kersee – Seoul – September 1988
Top of our list is a record that may well last half a century or more. Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s performance would make her compete in three of the events as an individual.
100m Hurdles – 12.69s – Would have finished 5th in the Tokyo Olympic Final (1172 Points)
High Jump – 1.86m (1054)
Shot Put – 15.80m (915)
200m – 22.56s – Would have finished 8th in the Tokyo Olympic 200m Final (1123)
Long Jump – 7.27m – Would have won gold in the Tokyo Olympic Long Jump final (1264 – Heptathlon highest score ever for a single event)
Javelin – 45.66m (776)
800m – 2.08.51 (987)
Joyner-Kersee stands over 250 points above the next best in history, Carolina Kluft (7032), and has the top six scores in history.
10. Paula Radcliffe – London Marathon – April 2003
Within two years of taking to the event, Paula Radcliffe had broken the world record twice but it was her second that really pushed the event to a new level.
After winning Chicago in a new mixed race world record (2.17.18), Radcliffe came to London already in possession of the course record.
London wasn’t supposed to be the course to shatter the world record once more.
Two hours, fifteen minutes and twenty-five seconds later that illusion was shattered. Radcliffe’s time is still the second fastest in history, only bettered by Brigid Kosgei in an era of supershoes. That it has been broken is the only reason Radcliffe’s run doesn’t rank higher in athletics all-time craziest world records.
9. Jonathan Edwards – Gothenburg – July 1995
No this isn’t a British all-time list!
The 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg was the occasion where Edwards made his mark. Jumping a wind illegal 18.43m earlier in the year in the European Cup came to Sweden with only a pair of Commonwealth silvers to his name.
By the end of the final he had broken the world record twice. His first jump made him the first man to legally break 18 metres before jumping even further next time up. Edwards mark of 18.29m remains the furthest in history, over 26 years since he managed the feat.
Only six men in history have jumped over 18 metres. Edwards did it twice in one night.
Genzebe Dibaba’s place on this list is assured by virtue of just how mental the previous world record was. Qu Yunxia’s mark of 3.50.46 was run at the Chinese National Games in 1993 and broke the existing world record by over two seconds.
In the 22 years after Yunxia’s feat no athlete came within three seconds of her time, Dibaba herself running a personal best of 3.54.11 just nine days before Monaco.
When Dibaba set out at world record pace at the Stade Hercules only Sifan Hassan would dare follow. 60, 64, 60 once more, Dibaba would close the final 300m in just over 45 seconds to break Yunxia’s record.
No-one has got within a second of Dibaba’s 3.50.07 since.
7. Stefka Kostadinova – Rome – August 1987
High-jumper Stefka Kostadinova now possesses the third oldest world record in track and field. The Bulgarian possesses five of the top ten jumps in history and it is her 1987 Rome World Championship 2.09m winning jump that sets her apart.
Kostadinova is now head of the Bulgarian Athletics Federation and would add Olympic Gold to her resume in Atlanta 1996.
The best since? A 2.08m clearance by Blanka Vlasic in Zagreb in 2009. It is a mark that could last a few more years yet.
Hicham El Guerrouj has a very strong case for being the finest middle distance athlete in history. The Moroccan even has an argument to say this isn’t his best world record (The other being his 3.43.13 mile best).
But it is difficult to argue against El Guerrouj’s 1500m run in Rome being one of the best in athletics history.
3.26.00 he took 1.37 seconds off Noureddine Morceli’s 1995 mark and backed it up by finishing with seven of the nine fastest times ever.
Bernard Lagat and the banned Asbel Kiprop are the only to come within a second of his now 21-year-old record.
Benson Kipruto and Diana Chemtai Kipyogei ensured a Kenyan double atop the Boston marathon podium, as bold runs for home were rewarded with 2021 glory. In a captivating race for the neutral, both races featured high drama without ever chasing fast times. In an era of pace-maked processions this was marathon running at its enthralling best.
Kipruto with one of the fastest closes in history.
The men’s race featured a surprise leader thanks to the USA’s CJ Albertson. Albertson, who ran 2.42.30 over 50k on the track in November for a world best, came to Boston with a 2.11.18 personal best over the marathon. With a lead of almost one minute by 5k (14.29), one minute 37 seconds by 10k (29:32) and over two minutes through the half (64:08) Albertson was slowly reeled in by a huge chasing pack. The twenty-eight-year old caught past the twenty mile mark.
And it was from here that the race really came alive as sixteen men were within five seconds of the lead through 35k. Benson Kipruto was the man to make the move with a ludicrous 14:06 split from 35-40k. It was enough for a 37 second lead. Though the gap would not significantly lengthen Kipruto continued to close hard with a massive negative split for the win in 2.09.51 (66:21/63:30).
Kipruto’s win, whilst the biggest of his career comes after an impressive win in Prague earlier this year. It is his first major marathon honour.
Behind Kipruto, Lemi Birhanu Hayle and Jemal Yimer battled it out for second place with the 2016 winner Lemi Birhanu Hayle winning the sprint in 2.10.37 (Yimer was one second behind).
Colin Bennie ran a smart race for seventh and first USA athlete home in 2.11.26 with CJ Albertson rallying to 2.11.44 for a highly creditable tenth.
Kipyogei is rewarded for bold bid for Boston glory
In contrast to the men’s race, the women’s race was tactical until the 25k mark where Diana Chemtai Kipyogei made her move. A pack of thirteen featuring all the pre-race favourites was splintered as the Istanbul Marathon winner built a ten second lead through 30k. Behind her one group of six and a second five seconds adrift.
Half-marathon star Netsanet Gudeta deemed Kipyogei’s move too dangerous to let go, slowly reducing the arrears until the two shared the lead past 35k, a three strong group of Ngugi, Kiplagat and Ngige thirty seconds behind.
Gudeta’s move to close the gap slowly proved the Ethiopian’s downfall as Kipyogei pulled away once more with now Edna Kiplagat her closest challenger 27 seconds back at 40k. For a few fleeting seconds Kiplagat’s dash for home looked like it may provide one of the most epic finishes in Boston history but as the excitement amped up Kipyogei held firm, running a huge negative split for the win (74:11/70:34).
Kipyogei’s first marathon major win in 2.24.45 was 24 seconds ahead of Kiplagat with Mary Ngugi a highly impressive third (2.25.20). Ngige finished fourth (2.25.32) with Gudeta suffering for fifth (2.26.09). Like Kipruto, Kipyogei is an athlete in form having won in Istanbul in 2020.
Nell Rojas was the first USA athlete home in 2.27.12 for sixth.
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Joyciline Jepkosgei and Sisay Lemma both ran away from the rest of the field to claim the titles at the 2021 London Marathon.
The women’s race – Jepkosgei shows her class
If anyone wants a lesson in marathon running, tell them to watch Jepkosgei’s performance today. The Kenyan went through halfway in 68:51 before running the second half just one second slower to run 2.17.43, seventh on the all-time list.
Heading through the half the pack was eleven strong, with all the favourites in contention. Slowly it was whittled down. Alemu Megertu was the first to go, not far past halfway. Next up Tigist Girma and Birhane Dibaba starting to feel the pinch at 25k. Next came Joan Chelimo Melly, then Valary Jemeli, by 35k the race had revealed its final cast.
Five remained. Jepkosgei hit the front through 35k, Degitu Azimeraw, Ashete Bekere, Lornah Chemtai Salpeter closing tracking with Brigid Kosgei slowly starting to crack.
As the 2020 winner started to become detached Jepkosgei made her move, pulling away from the pack and establishing a fifteen second lead relatively quickly. In her wake Azimeraw and Bekere.
By 40k the gap was fourteen seconds with Azimeraw the first of the two Ethiopians and it was a lead Jepkosgei was to maintain down the Mall. In doing so Jepkosgei adds London to her 2019 New York triumph and has established herself as the closest challenger to Olympic champ Peres Jepchirchir. That would be some battle one day down the line.
Azimeraw finished fifteen seconds back, her 2.17.58 enough to make her the ninth fastest female of all-time, with Bekere twenty seconds behind and eleventh on the same list.
Lornah Chemtai Salpeter
Joan Chelimo Melly
Britain’s Charlotte Purdue produced an impressive run with a slight negative split (71:44/71:42) for third on the British all-time list, just seven second behind Mara Yamaouchi. Rose Harvey impressed also with 2.29.45, just fifteen seconds outside the World Champs qualifying time.
The men’s race – Lemma has his moment
The men’s race had early drama with 2020 winner Shura Kitata dropping back after just five kilometres. By 10k the Ethiopian was twenty-five seconds adrift of a lead pack running aggressively from the off.
Evans Chebet, Vincent Kipchumba, Titus Ekiru, Mosinet Geremew, Birhanu Legese and Sissay Lemma lead a pretty elite group up front, four of which have run 2.03.00 or under. 29.13 through 10k the leading six passed half way in 1.01.25, with Eliud Kipchoge’s 2.02.37 course record looking under some threat.
Six became five shortly after 25k with the withdrawal of Titus Ekiru. The Milan winner from early this year was one of the big pre-race favourites. Barring Ekiru’s withdrawal none of the contenders proved willing to show their cards, something that at the time looked tactical but was made clear by what came next.
Sissay Lemma splits
The London Marathon winner would be decided by who could hold their pace best. While Lemma looked to be flowing away from Kipchumba and Geremew from 35k you need only look at his splits to see it was more a case that the Ethiopian held it together best.
Lemma crossed the line in an impressive 2.04.01, a time all the more creditable given a strong early pace. His splits of 61:26/62:35 were enough to deliver the greatest win of a highly consistent marathon career.
Three podiums at London, Berlin and Tokyo are now joined by the biggest them all and one that will do well to erase the dissapointment of his DNF at the Olympics. His 22nd career marathon, it is also a lesson many marathon men would do well to heed.
Sesemann wins British marathon title.
Behind Lemma the British contest was took shape from 20-25k with Phil Sesemann putting a significant dent to his nearest challenger Josh Griffiths. A 15:31 5k split saw him put 32 seconds into the Swansea athlete who showed serious strength to rally over the final miles. 1 minute 26 seconds behind at 30k Griffiths would close the gap to 41 seconds by the finish. Sesemann finished in an impressive debut of 2.12.58, Griffiths, 2.13.39 with Matt Leach running 2.15.31 for a significant personal best.