World record holder, Kipchoge, dethroned as Kitata wins men’s London Marathon, Kosgei retains women title

Shura Kitata
The winners, Shura Kitata and Brigid Kosgei at the finishing line

Ethiopian Shura Kitata has won the London Marathon as world record holder Eliud Kipchoge suffered his first defeat in seven years.

Kipchoge had claimed victory in all four of his previous London Marathons – but this time, he came in eighth place.

The 35-year-old Kenyan fell behind with just over three miles to go, leaving the title open for Kitata to win it in two hours, five minutes and 41 seconds.

The new champion beat Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba by one second in a sprint finish.

A faster race was predicted due to the nature of the course – 19.7 laps of St James’s Park rather than the traditional street route – but the cold, wet conditions put paid to that.

Kipchoge’s official world record is a much faster two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, and was set in Berlin two years ago.

He was seen grimacing in pain during the race and later revealed that he had a problem with his right ear, followed by cramping in his hip.

“I’m very disappointed but, all in all, this is sport,” he said.

He kept going and made sure to finish the race to show “there is always hope.”

“It’s not the end of the world that I can’t win,” he added.

Earlier, Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei defended her title, comfortably winning the women’s race in two hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds.

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The 26-year-old broke for home with seven miles to go, leaving her competitors far behind.

“The weather was not good so we struggled,” said Kosgei. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.

“We have not prepared well due to the pandemic. I will be prepared for good results next year.”

Fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the women’s world champion, lost second place to American Sara Hall.

Chepngetich finished at the third position in 2:22:05 after being overhauled by America’s Sarah Haul.

Hall overtook 2019 world champion Chepngetich in the final 150 meters to take the second position in 2:22:01.

Kenya will be hoping for another win when marathon great takes to the streets in the men’s race.

The races, originally postponed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, were held on just four streets of London rather than the traditional route from Blackheath to Buckingham Palace, with no crowds.

Although there was no mass field this year, around 40,000 people are running the distance at venues of their choice throughout the day.

Sky News correspondent Enda Brady was among them, having just finished his 34th marathon.

He said: “I’m just happy it’s over because it hasn’t stopped raining for days, certainly in this part of England. I ran cross-country and it was ankle deep mud water.”

He said the marathon was “slow going” but a “wonderful event”, with people around the world competing virtually through an app.

They will receive official finisher’s medals, having raised millions of pounds for charitable causes.