Unlike last week’s display in front-running in Berlin, the theme of this year’s London Marathon was big late-breaking moves as first-time World Marathon Major champs Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia and Amos Kipruto of Kenya broke up talented fields in the final 5km of their respective races to claim their titles.
Despite the threat of heavy rain, conditions held together, for the most part, to allow for some seriously fast running. Kipruto’s victory was the sixth-fastest in London Marathon history and Yehualaw’s the third – behind two all-time great performances in Paula Radcliffe’s former world record of 2:15:25 and Mary Keitany’s women’s-only world record of 2:17:01.
Full results and runner lookup can be found here. Below, find our quick highlights and analysis from the men’s and women’s races.
– Nothing could stop Yalemzerf Yehualaw – not even a fall at mile 20. The brief trip-up didn’t faze her as she quickly got back up, quickly reconnected with the leaders, and then waited patiently to make her move. When she did, it was astonishing. She dropped a 4:43 at Mile 25 to blow the field apart. The 23-year-old crossed the finish line in 2:17:26 to become the youngest female London Marathon champion ever. It’s her second career marathon and her second sub-2:18 performance. She came just three seconds shy of her 2:17:23 personal best and former Ethiopian national record from her debut in Hamburg earlier in the year. (Reminder: Tigist Assefa broke the Ethiopian national record last weekend in Berlin.)
– London 2021 champion Joyciline Jepkosgei hung on to take second in 2:18:07 – her third podium finish in five World Marathon Major appearances.
– Ethiopian marathoning is so deep right now that 24-year-old Alemu Megertu’s third place finish in 2:18:32 might not get much shine but it’s worth highlighting since it’s her second sub-2:19 performance of the year and a slight personal best. She ran 2:18:51 to win the Sevilla Marathon in February. Imagine running that fast and there are still four women who have run faster than you this year!? This year, nine Ethiopian women and seven Kenyan women have run faster than Keira D’Amato’s 2:19:12 American record.
– Kenya’s Judith Korir ran 2:18:43 and finished fourth. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:18:40 at the 2021 London Marathon) and Angela Tanui (2:18:42 at the 2022 Tokyo Marathon) know what it’s like to run that fast and finish off the podium. That is her third sub-2:20 performance of the year after running 2:19:48 to win the Paris Marathon in April and 2:18:20 to take silver at the World Championships in Eugene. She is just 26 years old and this was her World Marathon Majors debut. Her PB headed into 2022 was 2:22:30.
– Rose Harvey was the top British woman in 2:27:59. It’s an impressive rebound for the full-time attorney after dropping out of the World Championship marathon in Eugene due to cramping. The other good news is that she got under the 2:28:00 qualifying mark for the 2023 World Championships for Budapest.
– Major kudos to 1984 Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson for running a 3:20:20 at 65 years old. In February 2021, she underwent a partial knee replacement. Her daughter, Abby, also raced and ran 2:58:19.
– Amos Kipruto was the lone Kenyan man entered in the men’s elite field, and even in his first time on the course, he managed to put his country back on top of the podium after two years of Ethiopian dominance. He won the men’s race in 2:04:39 after pulling away in the 25th mile with an impressive 4:21 split. It’s been a big year for Kipruto as he now has the third- and fifth-fastest marathon performances of the year. The only man faster is Eliud Kipchoge at #1 and #2, whom he finished second behind at the Tokyo Marathon in March. Today’s results reminded us that there’s some incredible depth in the marathoning world right now behind record-setters.
– Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase flew under the radar leading up to the race and didn’t even get a mention in our preview when we discussed the possibility of an Ethiopian podium sweep. Oops! He took second in 2:05:12. This was his first time at a World Major since his eighth-place finish at the 2019 London Marathon. He’s now run under 2:05:00 on six different occasions so we’ll definitely give him his props the next time out.
– Belgium’s Bashir Abdi, the Olympic bronze medalist from Tokyo and world championship bronze medalist from Eugene, was third in 2:05:19. If marathon gambling offered show bets, I’ll throw a few bucks on Abdi each time out. He has only finished off the podium once in his last six marathons – a 2:05:23 fourth place finish in Rotterdam in April.
– 40-year-old Kenenisa Bekele finished fifth in 2:05:53 to set a new masters world record. The previous record was 2:06:25 by Spain’s Ayad Ladassem. (For those who want to put their tinfoil hats on, you may enjoy this tweet from Geoffrey Burns speculating whether the masters world record could be 2:01:09 by Kipchoge.) This is the fourth-best marathon performance of his career so I don’t think he’ll be retiring soon. Bekele was supposed to run the Boston Marathon in April but withdrew after a setback in training. If he chooses to go back, it will be his first spring marathon since the 2018 London Marathon.
The World Marathon Majors continue next week with the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 9. We’ll have a preview hitting your inboxes later this week. Two-time NCAA champion Conner Mantz will be joining the CITIUS MAG Podcast this week ahead of his 26.2 debut.
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