All the highlights from a very special women's London Marathon race
Current world-record holder Brigid Kosgei has won the women’s elite London Marathon race with a time of 2:18:58.
Kosgei beat tough competition throughout from fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich to take the gold in a very different London Marathon, breaking away to secure a two-minute lead on a course that saw athletes run 19.6 laps of length 2.15km. She told the BBC that the weather and the events of the pandemic had caused her and her competitors to struggle.
The real surprise came in the final lap, when US runner Sara Hall took over world champion Chepngetich in a sprint finish, taking a last-minute second place with 2:22:01 after an exceptional run. Chepngetich claimed the third and final podium place, crossing the line just 4 milliseconds after Hall.
The laps added a new, exciting element to the London Marathon, as even the strongest elite runners began to be lapped by Kosgei and the other leaders. This seemed to serve as motivation, particularly for Kosgei, who’s demeanour was visibly lifted with each athlete that she passed. However, today’s race saw no new world record, which is unsurprising due to tough weather conditions and disrupted training schedules earlier in the year. The atmosphere was serious but hopeful, with athletes appearing happy just to return to competitive running.
Welsh athlete Natasha Cockram was the first British woman to cross the line in 2:33:19 after a lengthy battle with Naomi Mitchell, who stayed with her right until the end, finishing around 4 seconds later. The two offered each other an amicable but socially-distanced congratulations at the finish line.
Lily Partridge and Steph Twell, who were expected to lead the British women’s race, both had tough days, being forced to drop out of the race before the final miles.
Several athletes had their sights set on the Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30 and Sara Hall will be likely be feeling the most frustration: she was well within the time, but sadly won’t be going to Tokyo next year due to previous non-qualifying times in shorter-distance races back in the US.
Image courtesy of London Marathon Events