LONDON (AP) — The last of the elite runners to arrive in London but the first over the line, Wilson Kipsang’s week of travel chaos had no impact on his marathon running. The world record-holder saw off a strong field to capture his second London title by breaking the course record on Sunday.
Kipsang completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 29 seconds – 11 seconds inside the previous fastest run in London by Emmanuel Mutai in 2011 – at the end of a week that began with his passport and visa being stolen from a car at his training base in Kenya. Although he had a spare passport, Kipsang had to travel from the town of Iten to the capital Nairobi to obtain a replacement visa before arriving two days late in London on Thursday.
Little, though, was holding back the 32-year-old Kipsang on Sunday, when he pulled away from fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott in the final two miles.
“The pacemakers went too early for me so I had to push myself,” said Kipsang, who also won the 2012 race. “At around 31km (19 miles) it was then I decided to push harder and I felt very comfortable and strong. And then I pushed again towards the finish line and that was when I broke away.”
Biwott finished 26 seconds behind Kipsang, and deposed London champion Tsegaye Kebede was more than two minutes behind Kipsang in third.
“When Wilson pushed away, I just didn’t have it in my legs to keep up with him for the final meters,” Biwott said.
But despite the sunshine bathing London, the home crowd was left disappointed by the full marathon debut of Mo Farah, who finished eighth, almost four minutes behind Kipsang. But despite failing to match his track feats in the city in 2012, when he won the 5,000 and 10,000-meter titles at the Olympics, Farah will return for another shot at the marathon.
“I’m not going to finish it like this,” Farah said. “I’ll be back. It’s a matter of experience and learning.”
There was a Kenyan one-two too in the women’s race, which ended in a sprint finish in front of Buckingham Palace. Two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat won at her fourth attempt in London, completing the course in 2:20:21 – 3 seconds ahead of namesake, Florence Kiplagat.
“Towards the end of the race I tried to push a few times but she was always there,” Edna Kiplagat said of her rival. “I felt very strong so I wasn’t too worried.”
In the women’s wheelchair race, Tatyana McFadden swapped the slopes for the streets as she successfully defended her London title with a dominant performance, winning in a course record time of 1:45:11. Her win came a month after the 24-year-old American collected her first Winter Paralympics medal – silver in cross-country skiing in Sochi.
“I was not in my chair for three weeks,” McFadden said. “It was a tough race, but I stayed calm and relaxed, and I tried to use the downhills as much as I could.”
David Weir was denied a record seventh title in the men’s wheelchair race as Marcel Hug of Switzerland edged out the Briton.
Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris