London Marathon 2020: Ethiopian Shura Kitata vrooms to victory as favourite Eliud Kipchoge cracks

The 2020 London Marathon was the first Eliud Kipchoge hasn't won since finishing second in Berlin in 2013 — he had won all 11 others he raced in, including the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Agence France-Presse October 04, 2020 17:21:53 IST
London Marathon 2020: Ethiopian Shura Kitata vrooms to victory as favourite Eliud Kipchoge cracks

Ethiopia's Shura Kitata crosses the line to win the London Marathon on Sunday. AP Photo

London: It proved 13th time unlucky as world record holder Eliud Kipchoge fluffed his lines at Sunday's London marathon, won in a thrilling sprint finish by Ethiopian Shura Kitata.

The coronavirus -hit marathon, limited to elite runners and with no crowds, was the first Kipchoge hasn't won since finishing second in Berlin in 2013 — he had won all 11 others he raced in, including the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Dropped at the 38km mark of the 42.2km race, Kipchoge could only watch from a distance as Kitata outpaced Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba in the final strait to win in 2hr 05min 41sec. Ethiopian Sisay Lemma took third.

Originally due to be run in April, the London Marathon was rescheduled to October because of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen many top track and field events either cancelled or postponed, most notably the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Rather than the usual mazy run through the streets of the British capital, the course was made up of 19 1.5-mile loops around St James Park, with the iconic Buckingham Palace framing the finish line.

The men's race had been touted as a showdown between Kenyan legend Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the best track athlete in the world.

But Bekele pulled out Friday with a calf injury, taking the gloss of what would have been a battle for the ages.

Instead, Kipchoge seemed to have missed the hot pace he is used to, meaning a lead pack of eight runners unusually remained in the running late into the race, held in cold, rainy conditions.

Having to negotiate the curves of the looped course, the pace fell well below the personal bests of the leading peloton. Fireworks were promised at the end, and so it proved.

The podium finishers came into the final kilometre three abreast.

Lemma was dropped as Kipchumba surged, but Kitata somehow found a last drop of energy to reel the Kenyan in and keep his nose in front to win by a second in a dramatic finish.

"Kenenisa Bekele was helping me for this race and he advised me how to run. I trained for the same course, I am very happy to win the race," Kitata told BBC.

There was some joy for Kenya, however, as Brigid Kosgei retained the women's London Marathon title, producing a brilliant solo run to claim a fourth career win in the event.

Updated Date:

also read

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Virus could force Games' cancellation, says top Japanese politician
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Virus could force Games' cancellation, says top Japanese politician

Toshiro Nikai, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's number two, said the Olympics must be cancelled "without hesitation" if the virus situation is too severe.

Harmanpreet Singh says Indian men’s hockey team hoping to gather momentum for Tokyo 2020 in Argentina tour
Sports

Harmanpreet Singh says Indian men’s hockey team hoping to gather momentum for Tokyo 2020 in Argentina tour

The tour includes four practice matches apart from back-to-back FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Argentina on 11 and 12 April.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Australia likely to prioritise vaccination for Games-bound athletes
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Australia likely to prioritise vaccination for Games-bound athletes

Earlier this month, the government in Canberra joined a growing number of countries halting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for younger people over fears it can cause serious blood clots.