Jemima Sumgong, 31, took home first in the Women’s VMLM Elite race yesterday, despite a dramatic fall near the 22-mile mark. Sumgong was clipped by Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia, causing Sumgong and Mergia both to fall, as well as Kenya’s Mary Keitany.
The three women showed a speedy recovery as they bounced back up – particularly Sumgong – who, despite brutally crashing her head against the tarmac, causing her visible pain, powered on through to rejoin the leading group.
And just as she got herself back on track, going head-to-head with last year’s winner, Tigist Tufa, the resilient Sumgong found herself surrounded by more drama when a spectator invaded the course where Sumgong was running. The rogue spectator, who according to the Metropolitan Police had “misunderstood what was acceptable in relation to this event”, was grabbed by a marshal in a motorcycle helmet and taken away.
Despite an incident-riddled race, Sumgong ploughed on to finish in 2:22.58, claiming a much-awaited victory, after being a runner up in the Boston, Chicago and New York marathons.
She said to The Guardian:
“The fall really affected me and I was unsure if I could continue. I banged my head very hard and I felt it in my legs, so I am so surprised I won.”
Meanwhile, Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels were securimg their slots in Team GB for the Olympics in Rio this summer, as they crossed the line as the fastest two British women.
History was also made over in the Men’s Elite race yesterday. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge was first to cross the line in a course record of 2:03:04, just eight seconds outside of the world record set by Kimetto in 2014. Kipchoge now stands as the second fastest marathon runner of all time.
Images: Virgin Money London Marathon