Kenya sweep London Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon time in history as he retained his London title in the most brilliant and emphatic style. The 31-year-old Kenyan powered away from his compatriot Stanley Biwott after 24 miles before finishing in 2:03:05 – only eight seconds outside the world record.

Kipchoge did not appear to realize he was so close to the record: certainly the way he powered down the Mall suggested he had plenty left in the tank, even after 26.2 miles.

Biwott also ran a personal best in finishing second in 2:03.51. The rest of the much-vaunted field had been blown away. Kenenisa Bekele, the world 5,000-metres and 10,000m record holder, was a long way back in third in 2:06:36.

The race, though, was all about Kipchoge, an athlete talented enough to win 2003 world championship gold over 5,000m as an 18-year-old, and to take Olympic bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008. In the past he has been quick enough to run 3min 33sec over 1500m. But he is even better over 26.2 miles.

“It was a good course,” he said. ‘The support was perfect – the crowd was fantastic and it was good to get a PB.”

In the women’s race Jemima Sumgong sprung a surprise as she recovered from a dramatic fall five miles from the finish to win her first major city marathon.

The 31-year-old Kenyan has been runner‑up in Boston, Chicago and New York and was fourth in the world championships last year, but this time she proved too strong to win in 2:22:58, with the 2015 winner Tigist Tufa second, five seconds back.

Women's race
Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba, Tigist Tufa, Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat and Ethiopia’s Feyse Tadese run as Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong (hidden) falls. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

The race had been run at a serene pace, which left all the leading contenders in contention, but it suddenly erupted into life after 21 miles when Sumgong crashed to the floor while looking at her watch, after being tripped up by Aselefech Mergia.

That fall, which also brought down the pre-race favourite Mary Keitany, left Sumgong rubbing her head. But while Keitany and Mergia struggled to recover, Sumgong was strong enough to pull back a gap of 30m or 40m to the race leaders.

More incredibly, she was soon pushing it on at the front with only Tufa able to challenge her as they ran along the Embankment. Sumgong is not renowned for her sprint finishes but on Sunday she was strong enough to drive to victory.

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