London Marathon: Keitany and Wanjiru make it a memorable day for Kenya

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Mary Keitany set a women-only world record while Daniel Wanjiru held off a late surge by the great Kenenisa Bekele. Composite: Getty Images

London Marathon: Keitany and Wanjiru make it a memorable day for Kenya
• GB’s David Weir wins seventh title in wheelchair race after hellish year
• Keitany sets women-only world record with run of 2hr17min01sec
Mary Keitany and Daniel Wanjiru cross the finishing line of the 2017 London Marathon
Mary Keitany set a women-only world record while Daniel Wanjiru held off a late surge by the great Kenenisa Bekele. Composite: Getty Images
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Sean Ingle
Sunday 23 April 2017 07.44 EDT Last modified on Sunday 23 April 2017 08.23 EDT
Mary Keitany produced an extraordinary display of frontrunning to win her third London marathon title – and set the fastest “women only” time in history.

The 35-year-old Kenyan broke from the field after the first mile and, while her stride shortened and the pain etched on her faced grew towards the end, she always looked comfortable of victory. Her final time of 2hr 17min 01sec was the second fastest in history. Only Paula Radcliffe, whose outright world best of 2:15:25 in the 2003 London marathon was set with the help of male pacemakers, has ever gone faster.

In the men’s race Daniel Wanjuri made it a Kenyan one-two by holding off the challenge of the Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele to win in 2:05:48.

Bekele had been favourite for the race and looked comfortable until halfway, where he dramatically dropped back after appearing to get a stitch. The 21-year-old Wanjuri – no relation to the his late compatriot Sammy, the 2008 Olympic champion – stayed with a lead pack of four until 21 miles before striking clear. He looked set for a comfortable victory until Bekele suddenly picked up and started carving through the field.

London Marathon 2017: Wanjiru and Keitany win men’s and women’s races for Kenya – as it happened
A brilliant, brutal solo run from Mary Keitany saw her break Paula Radcliffe’s women-only world record, while Daniel Wanjiru just held off late challenge from the great Kenenisa Bekele to win the men’s race
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As Wanjiru went through the tunnel at the Embankment, he had the shock of his life as he saw Bekele closing. With two miles remaining, he had narrowed the gap to eight seconds. Yet he could not produce a desperate last kick to overcome a rival 13 years his junior.

But the lingering memory of the day was Keitany, who beat Radcliffe’s “women only” record by 41 seconds and, just for good measure, also set a world 30km record along the way by nearly two minutes.

Indeed for much for the race it seemed that Radcliffe’s outright world record was under threat as she powered through 5km in 15:31 – a time that would have placed her 14th in the 5,000m Olympic final in Rio – and through halfway in 1:06:54.

At 30km she was 78 seconds of her nearest rival, the three-times Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba from Ethiopia. But in the final stages Dibaba looked to be on a surge until she had to briefly stop after suffering stomach cramps near the Embankment. Even so, she finished strongly to take second in an Ethiopian record of 2:17:56, which puts her third on the world all-time list. Aselefech Mergia was third in 2:23:06.

But there was disappointing news for Britain’s Jo Pavey, who was hoping to qualify for her sixth world championships, in London this summer. The 43-year-old never looked comfortable and dropped out with 16 miles after suffering cramps – only the second time she has done so. Ally Dixon was the fastest British woman home in a personal best to book her place for London, where she will be joined by Charlotte Purdue and, most likely, the third-placed Briton, Tracy Barlow.

Meanwhile Josh Griffiths, a 21-year-old club runner from Swansea, sprung a surprise as he was the first British runner home in 2:14 in his first ever marathon – a time that earns him a place in the British squad for the world championships in London.

3 Responses to London Marathon: Keitany and Wanjiru make it a memorable day for Kenya

  1. Guess who said the following:

    Three-time Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele, for example, appeared on the state broadcaster to denounce athletes who made political statements, saying “politics and athletics do not go together”.

    Yes! It was Kenenisa Bekele. Today he finished second in the London marathon because of his commitment to politcs-free sport and professionalism.

    Thank you Kenenisa; we are proud of you.

    Where did Lelisa Desisa finish in the London marathon. LAST.

    Not only he lost the competition because he was so much obsessed with making himself more famous than he is now by showing his hands crossed again before the whole world.

    The thing is this. The world is not interested in losers. Even as the last to finish, he might have raised his hands, but who pays a rat’s ass what he does if he had lost.

    My prediction is it is a downhill slide to Lelisa from now on. Once he has lost, it is difficult to re-establish himself unless he returns to Ethiopia and trains there eating Ethiopian food and breathing Ethiopian air on its beautiful mountains.

    He has his wife and child in the U.S. If I were him, I will get a job in a factory and raise my child or children who are to come.

    Good luck, bro.

    Avatar for Kiki kaka

    Kiki kaka
    April 23, 2017 at 5:58 pm

  2. Kaka, you Wayanne Punk! Lelisa did not come last ! he came in number 12 among the world’s elite Marathon runners! that is not a small achievement! other achievement of Lelisa is he single highhandedly exposed to 2 billion Olympic audience the plight of Oromo nation under the fascist TPLF! idiots like u can wallow in the mud like your Wayanne benefactors! Lelisa recently won the New York half marathon, he was second in Houston and Honolulu Marathons! so, he had bad day in London for placing 12, but both he and Kenenisa are sponsored by Nike and it could be a business decision to let one of its runners win the race or at least place 2nd or 3rd … Lelisa’s time is not bad when you compare all the global elite runners who were there and some of them did not even finish the race!

    It is cruddy people like you who draw pleasure by some one’s misfortune! Leliisa will run and win the Marathons to come! and Oromo people will continue to cheer him-on!

    Avatar for Burqaa

    April 23, 2017 at 8:15 pm

  3. Where have the treason Feyira Lelessa
    gone . He is fake track and field runner
    he is old enough to run.
    He is ARADA he fooled the diaspora Oromos.

    Avatar for Sokuturye

    April 23, 2017 at 10:20 pm

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