Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has affirmed his prowess when he retained his London Marathon title for a record fourth win with a course record time in the British capital.
Kipchoge had told his camp that he was going to attack after halfway – and he was as good as his word, putting in two 4:32 and two 4:34 miles between mile 14 and 18 to burn off Britain’s Mo Farah, who spent the last third of the race in no man’s land, his grimace becoming more pronounced as the race and a personal best slipped away from him.
“I felt great early on,” said Farah. “My aim was to follow the pacemaker and I was OK at halfway but it got away from me. I hoped to reel them back but once the pacemaker dropped back, from 20 miles the wheels came off and I was just hanging there to be honest.”
“Kipchoge’s time was incredible,” said Farah. “He is a very special athlete. He’s humble and a nice guy. But I am definitely disappointed. The spat didn’t distract me, I was concentrating on the race. What I said is the truth – I didn’t mean to take any limelight away from the sport.”
Understandably Farah refused to commit to what he planned to do at the world championships in the autumn, where he could run either the marathon or the 10,000m. “At the minute my brain is all over the place,” he added. “I am going to have a chat with my coach and my agent and have a step back. I think for me I want to do a marathon. I gave it my all, I was aiming to run a low 2:04 but that is what it was.”
Kipchoge, meanwhile, was delighted after securing his 12th victory in his 13 career marathons. “I am happy to make history by winning this race four times,” he said. “And to see this race raise £1bn for charity.”
However victory was only secured in the final two miles as he shook off the attentions of the Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, who was second in 2:02:55, and his compatriot Mule Wasihun, who was third 19 seconds further back. Britain’s Callum Hawkins was 10th in 2:08.14.