Written by: Shannon Polk, Kudos Team Contributor
Hydration was key for the athletes at the London Marathon today. Although the elite men and women runners had their sites on potential world records, temperatures were a bit toasty to sustain a quick pace for a full 26.2 miles. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day for spectating, and exciting races ensued.
Both the men’s and women’s wheelchair races ended in sprints to the finish. David Weir (GBR) won his eighth London Marathon title, while the women’s race had an unexpected winner in Madison de Rozario (AUS), who beat out four-time champion Tatyana McFadden (USA).
In the women’s running event, the pacemakers pushed off at world-record pace. Soon into the race, Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) and Mary Keitany (KEN) were leading the pack, but Dibaba found herself struggling by the halfway point and dropped behind Keitany. Then the heat started overwhelm Keitany, who eventually found herself behind Paula Radcliffe’s world-record pace.
At the 1:56 mark, Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) overtook Keitany, who couldn’t respond. Cheruiyot caught up to the pacemakers, looking strong and clearly running a calculated race. She was all smiles in the home stretch, finishing in 2:18:31 and crushing her personal best of 2:23:50. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) finished second and Tadelech Bekele (ETH) took third, with Keitany coming in fifth.
The men also began the race aggressively, throwing down a 4:22 first mile. Pacemakers were instructed to reach the halfway point in 61 minutes, and they did just that. Not surprisingly, Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) had no trouble keeping up and looked as if he were out for a casual jog—at world-record pace. While Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) dropped back from the lead pack, Mo Farah (GBR) kept himself within view of Kipchoge and second-place runner Tola Kitata (ETH).
With five miles to go, Kitata was still keeping pace with Kipchoge, and Farah—although well behind the leaders—was on pace to beat his personal best and the British record. With a few miles to go, Kipchoge decided to quicken his stride and Kitata couldn’t respond. Like Cheruiyot, Kipchoge ended his race with a large grin, finishing in 2:04:17. Kitata came in second and Farah took third in 2:06:21.
Kudos to all the athletes who pushed themselves and accomplished their goals today! And a huge thank you to the volunteers, medical staff and first responders in London.