LONDON – Eliud Kipchoge's four-year winning run at the London Marathon ended Sunday as Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion.
There was no upset in the women's race with world record holder Brigid Kosgei winning her duel with fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the world champion, who was eventually pipped for second by Sara Hall of the United States.
The race, originally scheduled to be run in April, was adapted to 19.7 laps of St James’s Park rather than the traditional street route, and was restricted to elite runners only, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kipchoge, the Kenyan who has had not lost a marathon in seven years, dropped off the pace around the 22-mile mark. The 35-year-old world record holder had no answer as a seven-strong lead group edged away from him, and he ended up finishing down in eighth.
Kitata of Ethiopia claimed victory in two hours, five minutes and 41 seconds, pipping Vincent Kipchumba of Kenya on the line after a thrilling sprint finish.
In the women's race, Kosgei broke for home with seven miles to go leaving Chepngetich, who had looked the stronger in the middle stages of the race, far behind.
The pair were a minute ahead of their nearest challenger at the halfway mark and looked on course to trouble the women’s-only world record of two hours 17 minutes and one second.
But as the rain began to fall harder the pace slowed and Kosgei eventually crossed the line in 2 hours 18 minutes, 58 seconds — almost five minutes outside her world record set in Chicago last year.
“The weather was not good so we struggled,” Kosgei said. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.
“We have not prepared well due to the pandemic. I will be prepared for good results next year.”
A tiring Chepngetich was caught by a stunning late charge from Hall, who overtook her with just a few strides remaining.
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