It was cold, windy and it had rained earlier, but still people were not deterred. More than 38,000 people took part in the 26.2 mile 2015 London Marathon, making it the biggest event in the marathon’s 35-year history. Prince Harry was joined by elite athletes, movie stars, models and famous sportsmen, at the Sunday event.
Like most competitive marathons, the London Marathon was also dominated by Africans, as Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya finished first in the men’s race and Tigist Tufa from Ethiopia won the women’s race. The Kenyans made a clean sweep in the men’s event, while the Ethiopians dominated the women’s event. The races were tightly fought and winners were decided by a difference of seconds.
Kipchoge defeated fellow Kenyan, New York Marathon Winner and defending London champion, Wilson Kipsang to win the race just five seconds ahead. This was the first win for the 30-year-old Kipchoge. “It was a tough race. My training paid off and it went to plan,” Kipchoge told reporters, according to NPR. He broke away from Kipsang in the final 800 meters of the race.
Kipchoge with a time of 2:04:42 was part of the Kenyan domination at the London Marathon as four of the top five in the men’s event were Kenyan. Kipsang took the second spot while Dennis Kimetto came in third, followed by Stanley Biwott. Ethiopian Tilahun Regassa rounded up the top five.
The Kenyan’s four-year winning streak in the women’s event, though ended after Ethiopian Tigist Tufa won the race. Tufa became the second Ethiopian woman to win the race after the 2001 win by fellow compatriot Derartu Tulu. She posted a time of 2:23:22 and beat Kenyan Mary Keitany by 18 seconds. The 28-year-old who has lived in the Bronx, is known for participating in U.S. road races and it was her first marathon win.
The second place winner, Keitany, had previously won the 2014 New York Marathon and was a two-time winner at the London Marathon in 2011 and 2012. Ethiopia ‘s Tirfi Tsegaya came in third with a second’s difference and Aselefech Mergia, another Ethiopian placed fourth. The fifth place went to Florence Kiplagat from Kenya.
The U.S. athletes took over the London Wheelchair Marathon with Joshua George winning the men’s and Tatyana McFadden winning the women’s wheelchair marathon. David Weir’s six-year winning streak at the top of the men’s elite wheelchair marathon was overthrown by George who won with a one second difference. McFadden, who had just won the Boston Marathon’s women’s wheelchair division for the third straight time, beat Swiss Manuela Schaer by a gap of more than two minutes.
None of the records were broken, but the 2015 London Marathon was the biggest year in their 35 year history, also because it marked the last race for veteran athlete Paula Radcliffe. She is the women’s world record holder as she set the course record in 2003 at 2:15:25. The 41-year-old and former British Olympian, has many laurels in her closet, including the three fastest times in the women’s marathon and three wins each at the London and New York marathons. She has been plagued by injuries recently and this was her last race. She did not run with the elite runners and was cheered by the crowd. She was presented an award by Prince Harry.
The 2015 London Marathon was also special for the Beckham family as David and Victoria Beckham cheered for their son Romeo who competed in the children’s race. Romeo’s siblings, Brooklyn and Cruz were also present holding signs, cheering their brother on as he ran in support of the “7” fund, which supports children in danger zones and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Formula One driver, Jenson Button also completed the race in the 918th place.
The 2015 London Marathon was also special as race organizers asked runners to finish while holding each others hands, a gesture which started when a U.S. and Norwegian runner intentionally tied for first place during the first London Marathon in 1981, 35-years ago. The youngest runner had turned 18 today while the oldest entrant was 90. More than 100 requests were received by Guinness for new world record attempts, including the fastest time posted by a man wearing a Spiderman costume. Another couple got married during the marathon and ran the last 13 miles as husband and wife. More than 750,000 spectators were present to cheer on the runners.
By Anugya Chitransh
Photo by Julian Mason – Creativecommons Flickr License