Brigid Kosgei and Shura Kitata won on an unprecedented course for the year’s second World Marathon Major.
So far this year, we’ve seen the Boston Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and the New York City Marathon all postponed and/or cancelled, because of the global pandemic.
But the organisers of the London Marathon have found a way to safely host an elite-only race, making it one of the most anticipated running events of the year.
Taking place on October 4, London will be the first World Marathon Major to take place since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11. Originally scheduled to run on April 26, it will be the first race of the year for many of the runners, including world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge.
Organisers are taking rigorous safety measures to create a safe biosecure bubble in which runners will contest the unprecedented 26.2. Runners are staying at an athlete-only hotel, surrounded by 40 acres on which runners can train, and anyone inside the bubble is subject to strict COVID-19 testing protocols. Sunday’s race will be 19.6 laps of a 2.15-kilometer loop around St. James’s Park, which will be closed to spectators.
Brigid Kosgei Asserts Her Marathon Dominance
After breaking away around the 30K mark, reigning London Marathon champ and world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya ran solo across the finish line to win this year’s race in 2:18:58.
American Sara Hall, who was as far back as 10th at one point, passed Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich in the final stretch to finish second in 2:22:01, a 15-second personal best. Hall is the first American to stand on the London Marathon podium since Deena Kastor set the American record in 2006.
Chepngetich, who crossed in 2:22:04, said the rainy conditions were challenging for her. And when Kosgei made a move at the 30K, she hung back. “For me personally, I decided to go with my own pace,” Chepngetich said.
Australian Sinead Diver crossed the line in 8th place.
American Molly Seidel clocks a personal best by more than two minutes, running 2:25:13 to finish sixth. This was just her second marathon, with her first being February’s Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.
Shura Kitata Wins in a Sprint to the Finish
Shura Kitata of Ethiopia is your men’s London Marathon champion, outsprinting Vincent Kipchumba and Sisay Lemma down the line to win in 2:05:41. Kipchumba finished just a second behind Kitata, and Lemma crossed third in 2:05:45.
Kipchoge, the heavy favourite when Kenenisa Bekele withdrew from the race on Friday with a calf injury, finished a distant eighth in 2:06:49—a far cry from his world record of 2:01:39 on a record-eligible course. In his first marathon loss (!) since 2013, the best marathoner of all time shows that he is, in fact, human.
After the race, Kipchoge said he experienced a blocked right ear, which led to his subpar performance. His agent said it led to Kipchoge not taking his drinks, which also impacted his performance.
Sara Hall Clocks a Personal Best
At 37 years old, Hall just keeps getting better. Going into London, she told Runner’s World she had had a great buildup, and she was hoping for a PR and possibly a spot on the podium. Her fitness was tested in a five-person half marathon on a bike path near Eugene, Oregon, where she ran 1:08:18, a PR.
Hall showed off her signature late kick in this race, picking off runners all the way until the very end, when she sprinted past Chepngetich in the final stretch. Her 2:22:01 is good enough to put her sixth overall on the U.S. women’s marathon leaderboard.
“This is such a redemptive moment,” she said.
Molly Seidel Smashes Her Second Marathon
This was quite the race for Seidel’s second attempt racing 26.2; she went from the screaming crowds in Atlanta for the Olympic Marathon Trials to a looped course in silence in London.
But Seidel ran steadily, finishing in 2:25:13, which makes her the ninth-fastest American woman at the distance.
Brent Lakatos and Nikita Den Boer Win First World Marathon Majors
The wet, chilly conditions were less than ideal for the wheelchair athletes, but Lakatos and Den Boer persevered for their first World Marathon Major wins.
Lakatos stuck with the lead pack of racers until the very end, and outsprinted Marcel Hug and David Weir at the end. For the women’s race, Den Boer made a move with about 5K to go that Manuela Schär could not match. Den Boer also secured a new national record, as well.