Tigist and Olympic great Kenenisa finished Runner-up in London marathon

In what was widely regarded as one of the deepest and highest-quality women’s fields ever assembled, the three-time world half marathon champion sprinted away from world record-holder Ethiopian Tigist Assefa, 2021 London winner Joyciline Jepkosgei and last year’s runner-up Megertu Alemu – all of whom finished inside 2:17 – to notch up her third victory in a World Marathon Majors race.

Mutiso Munyao made it a Kenyan double, winning the men’s race in 2:04:01 to defeat Ethiopian distance legend Kenenisa Bekele by 14 seconds.

The front group – which included Tigist Assefa alongside past London winners Jepkosgei, Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Brigid Kosgei – got to 15km in 47:37. Soon after, Sheila Chepkirui – the runner-up in Berlin last year – started to drift off the pack.

The diminutive Kenyan charged through the finish line in 2:16:16, finishing seven seconds ahead of Tigist Assefa. Jepkosgei (2:16:24) and Alemu (2:16:34) followed soon after, making this the first marathon in which four women have finished inside 2:17.

The men’s lead pack was down to five men: Munyao, Bekele, Tola, Ethiopia’s Dawit Wolde and compatriot Milkesa Mengesha.  Less than 10 minutes later, Tola and Wolde had dropped back, leaving Bekele, Munyao and Mengesha as the lead trio. Mengesha lasted five more minutes before him, too, succumbed to the pace, unable to stick with Munyao and the 41-year-old Bekele.

Just before the clock ticked over to 1:55, Munyao finally dropped multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Bekele, who was visibly struggling to match the Kenyan’s pace.

Munyao maintained his lead to the finish, eventually winning in 2:04:01 to Bekele’s 2:04:15, the fastest time ever by an athlete over the age of 40.

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