All the highlights of a race nobody could have predicted...
We were never expecting the hotly-anticipated face off between Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele and Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge to play out exactly as expected, due to the completely unpredictable nature of the year 2020. But when Bekele pulled out of the men’s elite London Marathon race with a calf injury just days ago, the odds were most definitely in Kipchoge’s favour.
In a strange race that started slowly, a clear pack of frontrunners emerged that remained 10-strong throughout the majority of the race. It wasn’t until the last few laps that a smaller group that included today’s winner, Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, began to break away, leaving Kipchoge in their wake and unable to pick up enough speed to challenge any of the leaders.
Kipchoge came in 8th place, a minute behind the winners, defeated for the first time since 2013 with one of his slower times: 2:06:49. He told the BBC that he had a problem with his right ear being blocked throughout the race, and that he wasn’t sure what happened.
Kitata crossed the finish line with 2:05:42 in an exciting sprint finish that saw him just snatch a win from Vincent Kipchumba, who was a second behind. Sisay Lemma came in three seconds behind Kipchumba, after all three athletes managed to form and maintain a strong leading pack throughout.
The British race was an event in itself, with Ben Connor and Jonny Mellor engaging in an epic battle that saw Mellor come out on top, crossing the line in 2:10:06. Conner followed shortly afterwards, looking emotional and exhausted, comforted by Mellor.
Image courtesy of London Marathon Events