Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s run was hailed as the greatest ever after he set a new course record in defending his men’s London Marathon title on Sunday.
Kipchoge, whose victory formed part of a Kenyan double with compatriot Jemima Sumgong winning the women’s race, beat the previous best London time by one minute and 24 seconds.
His time of two hours, three minutes and five seconds was seven seconds off the marathon world record, although British former runner Steve Cram rated it better than Dennis Kimetto’s Berlin 2014 mark.
“Most people think Berlin is a little quicker, so to run this time in London, I think, is the best ever,” Cram said. “London is the best field as well – you have such a stellar field to beat.”
The men’s race reached the 30km-mark in world record time and Kipchoge, 31, admitted to mixed feelings at missing the all-time best.
“I realised I ran a world record for 30, but between 30-40km I lost about 20 seconds,” he said. “I knew the record was close. I tried to squeeze it, but it wasn’t possible. I’m happy I ran a course record.”
Fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott also ran under 2:04 in coming second, while Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele was third.
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A bloodied Sumgong, meanwhile, won the women’s race in 2:22:58 despite cutting her head when he she suffered a heavy fall four miles from the end of the 26.2-mile course.
“The fall really affected me and I was unsure if I could continue,” said the 31-year-old, who pipped last year’s winner Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia, with Florence Kiplagat, another Kenyan, in third.
“I have a cut on my head and on my shoulder; they’re bleeding but I don’t feel any pain yet. I did feel it in my legs, though, so I am so surprised I won.”
Paralympic champion David Weir had to settle for second behind Switzerland’s Marcel Hug in the men’s wheelchair race.