Alphonce Simbu akimaliza mbio kwa saa 2:09:10 na kushika nafasi ya 5 katika Mbio za Virgin Money London Marathon 2017.
Daniel Waniru kutoka Kenya akimaliza wa Kwanza katika Mashindano hayo kwa Saa 2:05:48.
Daniel Wanjiru kutoka Kenya ashinda Mashindano hayo, Huku akimuacha nyuma mpinzani wake Kenenisa Bekele. Alphonce Simbu ashika nafasi ya 5 katika Mashindano ya Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 kwa kumbia kwa Saa 02:09:10.
"Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu ran a well-judged race, moving from 15th at halfway to fifth in 2:09:10 with world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea the sixth runner to finish within 2:10, clocking 2:09:57."
Wanjiru outduels Bekele on World Marathon Majors debut
Daniel Wanjiru won the Amsterdam Marathon last October in 2:05:21 with a sizeable negative split, but the 24-year-old was not considered a threat to succeed Eliud Kipchoge as the champion of the men’s race.
Wanjiru has only raced once this season, finishing 12th at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 1:02:16 – which was won by Bedan Karoki in 59:10 – but Wanjiru still arrived in the British capital full of confidence for his World Marathon Majors debut.
“I did 62 there and I took it as part of my training and I knew I was OK to do the marathon,” he explained after the race. “After that race, I told my manager ‘I’m ready to win the London Marathon’.
Wanjiru was firmly ensconced in the group through halfway in 1:01:43 but at this point, arguable pre-race favourite Kenenisa Bekele was beginning to fall off the pace.
At 30km, Bekele was 18 seconds adrift of a leading group of five athletes including Wanjiru, but once the Kenyan made his break with 4:52 in the 21st mile, the Ethiopian began to reel in those ahead of him.
Bekele passed two-time world champion Abel Kirui just after the 35km checkpoint and then Karoki came into sight. The gap to Wanjiru had reduced to 14 seconds but the Kenyan was not fatiguing, nor was he daunted by the looming presence of the world 5000m and 10,000m record-holder who made up a significant gap on Wilson Kipsang to win the Berlin Marathon last September.
“I was not scared because in a competition, anything can happen,” said Wanjiru, who had kept something in reserve. “You have to plan what to do if someone is coming from behind.”
The gap between Wanjiru and Bekele reduced to five seconds for a while but Wanjiru, who was contesting his fourth marathon to date, was still running strongly and held Bekele off with a brilliant finishing mile of 4:27.
Wanjiru crossed the finish-line on The Mall in 2:05:48 and while Bekele had to settle for second in 2:05:57, the Ethiopian was upbeat after the race.
“I’m happy I finished this race. Of course, after Dubai, I lost some weeks because of injury so for me, coming back from injury and competing like this is encouraging for later races,” said Bekele, alluding to his fall at the Dubai Marathon in January which caused him to drop out.
A podium finish seemed improbable at halfway when Bekele began to lose ground. After the race, Bekele explained he developed blisters on his feet at about the 15km mark and said he “changed his style to protect it” which led to hamstring problems in his right leg. After 30km, Bekele said he was “feeling better and I increased the pace.”
By contrast, Karoki felt in excellent condition at the halfway point on his marathon debut before the distance caught him out in the last six miles. He staggered across the line in third in 2:07:41, four seconds ahead of Chicago Marathon winner Abel Kirui.
“When I saw 61 at halfway, I was expecting to run 2:03,” said Karoki. “But after 30km, I felt tired and I got a blister problem which forced me to slow down. I know, maybe next marathon, I’m going to better than today.”
Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu ran a well-judged race, moving from 15th at halfway to fifth in 2:09:10 with world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea the sixth runner to finish within 2:10, clocking 2:09:57.
Club runner Josh Griffiths, who was entered in the race as part of the mass start, was the top British man, clocking 2:14:49 on his marathon debut to earn selection for the World Championships. Alyson Dixon finished 14th in the women’s race in a PB of 2:29:06 to also secure her spot on the home team for later this year.
Steven Mills for the IAAF
Wanjiru completes Kenyan sweep
Daniel Wanjiru held off the Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele in a thrilling finish to win his first London Marathon today in 2:05:48 shortly after fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany won the women’s race in a world record.
The 24-year-old Kenyan made a break just before the 21-mile mark and battled hard over the last five miles to hold off the fast-finishing favourite Keneisa Bekele, who had fallen behind after suffering with blisters caused by ill-fitting shoes.
Bekele, won ran the world’s second fastest time in Berlin last September, was just six seconds behind with one mile to go, but he couldn’t quite close the gap and had to settle for the runner-up spot, eight seconds behind the winner.
The 2016 Amsterdam Marathon champion, Wanjiru didn’t beat his personal best time of 2:05:21 today but he did beat one of the greatest distance runners of all time.
“I’m really happy as it’s my biggest win at my first attempt at a World Marathon Majors race,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been preparing to win this race since Christmas so I’m very grateful that I achieved my goal.”
The men’s elite field was set on its way at 10:00 from Blackheath by Prince Harry and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a perfect morning for marathon running.
A group of 10 east Africans quickly formed behind the three Kenyan pacemakers as the runners in the mass race streamed across the Start Line behind them.
Bekele immediately went to the front, tucked in behind the pacers, as if to signal that he would be the man to beat. He was joined by four of his countrymen, Feyisa Lilesa, Asefa Mengstu, Tsefay Abera and Tilahun Regassa, along with a trio of Kenyans, Wanjiru, Abel Kirui, the 2016 Chicago Marathon champion, and Bedan Karoki, making his debut at the 26.2-mile distance at the age of 26.
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Amanuel Mesel from Eritrea, and the Tanzanian runner, Alphonce Simbu, completed the 10.
The pacers took the group through 10K on world record pace at 28:51, the athletes making the most of the first few downhill miles, before the pace settled down to 4:45 miles, which suited Wanjiru perfectly.
“The pace was fast at the start but we all helped each other, rather than trying to destroy each other,” he said.
It was too much for Abera though, who fell back from the leading group just as the young world champion Ghebreslassie joined Bekele behind the pace makers at the front.
The remaining nine looked comfortable as they ticked off the miles through Deptford and Rotherhithe before crossing Tower Bridge and onto The Highway, passing half way in 61:40 – the perfect pace if they were to break Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 world record of 2:02:57.
The group of nine stretched out down the road with Lilesa – the Rio Olympic silver medallist – taking his turn on the front while Bekele, surprisingly, began to struggle.
“From 15K to 20K, I was getting blisters because my foot wasn’t in a good position in my shoe,” he explained later. “I changed my running style and that affected my pace and balance, which made my right hamstring sore and slowed me down.”
Bekele’s difficulties were far from the thoughts of the leaders, however, as the remaining eight strode through the twists and turns of the Isle of Dogs, now bathed in spring sunshine. At 25K, Bekele dropped out of the top 10, still in touch but looking uncomfortable, shaking his arms at his sides.
Ghebreslassie, Mengstu and Regassa also began to feel the early pace and they slipped back to leave four in the leading group. Wanjiru and Kirui were shoulder to shoulder at the front, with Lilesa a stride behind and Karoki fourth.
Ghebrslassie rejoined them at 30K as they clicked through that mark in 1:28:21, but the five didn’t stay together for long.
Lilesa cracked as they turned west along Poplar High Street, leaving four to battle it out for the three podium places. At least that’s how it looked.
Wanjiru put in a burst as they passed mile 21 in 1:40:01, pulling away from Kirui who was 10 metres ahead of Lilesa as they turned onto The Highway and past the colourful masses on the opposite side of the road, streaming east towards Canary Wharf.
Now Wanjiru was 20 metres ahead of his nearest rival and seemingly clear. But Bekele wasn’t done. The world record holder for 5000m and 10,000m pulled himself back into third, then passed Kirui to move into second.
It seemed only a matter of time before the Ethiopian would reel in the inexperienced Wanjiru, who couldn’t resist a glance behind to assess the threat.
“I looked behind at 39K and knew someone was coming, so that gave me renewed purpose,” said Wanjiru.
“I wasn’t scared when I saw Bekele behind me; if someone’s coming from behind you have to push on to win the race.”
And push on he did, keeping the gap between the two men to around 10 seconds as the pair battled it out, thrilling the crowds lining the Embankment.
As the pair past Big Ben, Wanjiru started to look more relaxed as he extended his lead over the chasing Bekele from eight seconds to 10 thanks to a 4:27 mile.
The crowds had just seen Kenya’s Mary Keitany set a new women-only world record, and they went wild again as the two leading men hit Birdcage Walk.
Bekele responded to Wanjiru’s surge, putting in a final effort to bring the gap between the two men down to six seconds, but the Ethiopian didn’t have enough in his legs to reel in the Kenyan. He started to rock and roll as he realised the London title was slipping out of his grasp.
As Wanjiru turned onto The Mall, the victory was his. He crossed the Finish Line, arms aloft, to become the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon champion in 2:05:48, proving that mind over matter works for elite runners as well as the masses by holding off a man reputed to have one of the most devastating sprint finishes in the business.
“I am the happiest man in the world,” he said. “The fast pace at the start helped me enormously, and the rest of the race was just good for me. Everything went well, it was perfect.
“I’m looking to the future and hope to come back here to defend my title and do even better next year.”
Bekele’s second place effort of 2:05:57 was one better than his result here last year, and better than he could have hoped after his mid-race problems.
“I’m not too disappointed because anything can happen in a marathon,” he said. “I planned to run better than I did but I was 400m back at one point so to come back to the leaders wasn’t easy.
“I feel I have more good marathons in me and I plan to achieve more because that’s life: you do your best, you prepare well, try to achieve more, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
In third place, Bedan Karoki made a great marathon debut, crossing the line 2:07:41, followed by Abel Kirui who finished in fourth in 2:07:45 to put three Kenyan men in the top four. Simbu came through to finish fifth in 2:09:10.
In the race for British World Championship selection, Josh Griffiths of Swansea Harriers delivered the shock of the day by finishing first Briton in 2:14:49 on his marathon debut.
The 23-year-old wasn’t even part of the elite field but his performance has earned him a place on the British team for the London World Championships in August.