London Marathon: Kebede sees off Kenyans
Ethiopian Olympic bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede defied the combined efforts of a powerful Kenyan contingent to win the 30th men's London marathon yesterday.
Kebede ran unopposed in the final 10kms to clock two hours, five minutes, 19 seconds -- nine seconds outside the course record set by Kenyan Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru last year.
Chicago champion Liliya Shobukhova won the women's race in 2:22:00 on a cool, damp morning.
The men's field remained bunched until the halfway stage shortly after Tower Bridge, where Wanjiru, whose training had been hampered by a back injury, started to fade.
World champion Abel Kirui and the world silver medallist Emmanuel Mutai took up the challenge for the Kenyans, bidding for a seventh successive men's success, but Kebede proved too strong, winning by 64 seconds ahead of Mutai.
The admirably consistent Moroccan Jaouad Gharib, twice a world champion, finished third in 2:06:55.
Shobukhova (32), one of a host of distinguished track runners who have graduated to the marathon, launched her challenge after the halfway mark.
The European 5,000m record holder always looked confident and strode comfortably over the closing kilometres to win by 19 seconds ahead of Inga Abitova, with Aselefech Mergia third.
German defending champion Irina Mikitenko, who was looking to equal compatriot Katrin Dorre's three successive victories, dropped out at 18kms with an injury to her left foot, while British hope Mara Yamauchi finished in 10th place.