Wanjiru trumps Bekele, Keitany smashes world record


Mary Keitany crossed the London Marathon finish line in a new world record.(PHOTO/Courtesy)
Mary Keitany crossed the London Marathon finish line in a new world record.(PHOTO/Courtesy)

Coming into this race as the second fastest woman of all time, Mary Keitany took the London Marathon field to the cleaners with an astonishing 2:17:01 winning time to annihilate the women-only world record.

Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba crossed the tape in second and had a record of her own as she broke into the 2:18 barrier for the first time – joining the class of Keitany and Paula Radcliffe for whom the world record belonged.

It was an incredible show of guts for the 5000 metres world record holder who recovered from what looked like a stitch that paced her down. But the afternoon belonged to Keitany, whose race was in every stretch an amazing show of sheer power.

How quickly she went out, and how much of the race she ran alone to give Kenya and the world a memorable show.

In the men’s race, Daniel Wanjiru recorded the greatest win of his career on Sunday taking the London Marathon in an unofficial time of 2:05:48.

The 24-year-old beat Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, who recovered from a poor patch mid-race to come roaring back in the final eight miles, but ultimately fell just short.

The 2015 World cross and world half silver medalist, Bedan Karoki had a motivational debut over the distance as he finished third in 2:07:45 ahead of two-time world champion and Chicago Marathon champion Abel Kirui (2:07.45).

The men’s race started off after the women had gone for about 16km as Bekele took an early command of the race just behind the pacemakers though Kirui and Wanjiru kept a close eye on him at the 12km mark  in 37:21, a speed of 4:43 per kilometer.

At 23km, Bekele ran behind to cross at 67:14 looking strong at halfway, with Haile Gebrselassie right behind him, as Rio 2016 Olympics silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa Bekele ran shoulder to shoulder with Kirui. Meanwhile newcomer, Karoki stayed close at fourth place.

Wanjiru took the lead at the 30 Km in 1:30.11 and crossed in 1:35:12 at the 35km as Kirui Karoki and Gebrselassie chased him. Bekele, who was eight seconds behind tried to catch up with them but with little success.

By the time they got at the 38km, Wanjiru had opened a wider gap putting pressure on Bekele who was struggling to close in. Wanjiru crossed the marker 1:52:56 at a speed of 3:01.

The relatively unknown Wanjiru continued to open the gap to avoid a sprint finish between him and the track legend Bekele, though he made a few anxious looks over the shoulder to keep tabs  on Bekele  who was 10 seconds behind as they approached the 40km.

Wanjiru held on the little gap he had between him and Bekele as he ventured in a new territory in a Major marathon with two kilometers to go. Bekele almost closed the gap but Wanjiru increased the pace to shake off the Ethiopian great and take the men’s title.

‘Ms London’ rules-

Mary Keitany, also known as ‘Ms London’ took an early lead of the of the women’s race from the gun to the tape to seal a London three-peat.

Ethiopians, Tirunesh Dibaba finished second by stopping the timer at 2:17:56 followed closely by Aselefech Mergia (2:23:08) for third place. Rio Olympics 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver medalist Vivian Cheruiyot, had an impressive ran in her debut to closk 2:23:50, 5 for fourth place.

Keitany, a three-time New York Marathon winner made a brave move to take an early lead in the first two kilometers in 3:09 just behind her pace maker Caroline Kipkirui as Beijing World championships silver medalist Helah Kiprop stayed tacked in the chasing pack.

In the third kilometer, Keitany broke away with Kipkirui where they ran in splits of 4:59 and 5:17. She tore the course apart at the sixth kilometer, crossing in 18:36 in a flying speed of 3:01, 7km in 3:30 and 8km in 4:59 with a possible finish of 2:15. As the chase pack led by two time Chicago Marthon champion Florence Kiplagat and Dibaba tried to keep up with her.

At 10km Keitany crossed the marker in 5:14 her, giving her an eight seconds lead over Cheruiyot. Where she proceeded to cross the 12Km at 37:37 and 14km in 40:38 at a rate of 3:01 per km but crossed the 14th in 3:19.

Half way the race the second place woman was nowhere to be seen as Keitany crossed in 1:22:58 at an average of 3:17 per Km with the 12 year old world record in mind.

At 30km Keitany slowed at the watering point which she crossed at 1:36:05 in as Dibaba started opening a small gap between her and Kiprop. She ran in second place on a 2:18 pace.

With less than 5km to go Keitany was still running hard at 1:59:26 for 37km in a speed of 3:20 as Dibaba started to struggle at the back looking like she was suffering a stomach upset to a point making of a brief stop where she recomposed herself and went on with the race.

At 40km Keitany still had some gas left in the tank in her as she ran inside the world record to the finish line.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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