Eliud Kipchoge misses out on world record by seven seconds at London Marathon
Published 24/04/2016 | 12:34
Eliud Kipchoge broke the course record at the Virgin London Marathon, retaining his title with the second-fastest run in history over the distance.
The 31-year-old Kenyan left the field trailing as he powered home in an official time of two hours, three minutes and four seconds.
Kipchoge celebrated by raising his finger as he made the final turn but appeared to realise just before the line that he could have broken Dennis Kimetto's world record.
Kipchoge brought his hand to his forehead as he saw his time, which was just seven seconds outside Kimetto's mark made in Berlin two years ago, but was soon smiling again as he celebrated a stunning run.
Fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott was second with a personal best of 2.03:51, while Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele was third.
The men's race had set off at a fierce pace from the off, with world record pace at 10 miles, the fastest half marathon in the event's history and a world record of 1:27.13 for 30 kilometres.
Kipchoge's compatriot Jemima Sumgong ensured a Kenyan double by winning the women's race despite banging her head in a heavy fall.
Sumgong took a tumble at around 22 miles, apparently tangling feet with Aselefech Mergia in an incident that also saw pre-race favourite Mary Keitany fall and never fully recover.
Sumgong, who has been a runner-up in the Boston, Chicago and New York marathons, cracked her head against the road but ignored her clear discomfort to rejoin the leading pack and eventually pass them.
She finished in two hours 22 minutes and 58 seconds as defending champion Tigist Tufa failed to haul her in over the final 600 metres.
There was significant news for the homegrown contingent too, with the race doubling as the British Olympic selection trial.
Scot Callum Hawkins finished eighth in 2:10.55 to snap up the first automatic spot in Rio, with Tsegai Tewelde also booking his place in Brazil after coming in 12th.
Tewelde is from Eritrea and claimed asylum in Britain after competing in the 2008 World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh.
Hawkins' brother Derek was third and, having also hit the Olympic standard, could be offered a discretionary place.
In the women's race Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels also ensured Olympic selection after going head to head for the majority of the race.
Dixon edged it in a spring finish, but the pair celebrated as team-mates after crossing.
Charlotte Purdue was the next home runner to finish on her debut over the distance and could yet join them in the summer.