Kenyans on top in London Marathon

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany triumphed in the London Marathon here on Sunday as the African nation served notice of its distance running strength ahead of the Olympic Games.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 22 Apr 2012, 6:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:30 AM

Kipsang, the second fastest man of all time, went clear of a class field in the closing stages and won in a time of two hours, four minutes and 44 seconds — just four seconds outside the course record set by compatriot Emmanuel Mutai in winning last year’s race.

He finished more than two minutes in front of compatriot Martin Lel (2:06:51), who overtook fellow former London champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia with a strong sprint finish

Kebede may have prevented a clean sweep in his race but in the women’s event Keitany successfully defended her title and enhanced her credentials for an Olympic gold in London in a few months’ time as Kenyan runners monopolised the top five spots.

Keitany left an outstanding field trailing to win in a time of 2:18:37, a new Kenyan national record and a personal best — well inside her time of 2:19:19 she posted in winning last year’s London Marathon.

World champion Edna Kiplagat finished second, more than a minute behind in 2:19:50, with world silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo a further 24 seconds behind in third.

Florence Kiplagat was fourth and Lucy Kabu fifth, the strength in depth of the team leaving the Kenyan selectors with some tough choices to make ahead of the Olympic Marathon.

However, this will be run over a significantly different course albeit with a similar finishing stretch along the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

There was success for Britain in the wheelchair races with Dave Weir and Shelly Woods ensuring a home double.

Weir timed his finish to perfection to see off the challenge of Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and so win his sixth London title while Woods overpowered her rivals to claim a second London victory of her career, finishing nearly four minutes ahead of Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida.

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