Fantastic showings from Daniel Wanjiru and Mary Keitany ensured a double triumph for Kenya at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday (23 April). In the women’s race, Keitany ran alone for all but two of the 26.2 miles, powering clear of the greatest field ever assembled to take her third London title in a world record time of 2:17:01.
Only Paula Radcliffe has run faster, when she set the mixed-race world record in 2003, but she had to watch from the commentary box as Keitany smashed her women-only record of 2:17:42.
The Kenyan party continued in the men’s marathon, as Wanjiru held off Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in a thrilling finish to take his first major marathon win at the age of 24. His countryman Bedan Karoki finished third on his marathon debut in 2:07:41 to add to Kenya’s medal haul.
Wanjiru and Bekele enjoyed an enthralling battle. Bekele had been favourite for the race and looked comfortable until halfway, where he dramatically dropped back after appearing to get a stitch. 24-year-old Wanjiru kept up with the lead pack before storming clear at 21 miles. It looked like victory was all but confirmed until Bekele suddenly found a new lease of life and began to carve through the field.
The first elite racer across the finish line in The Mall was Great Britain’s David Weir, finishing ahead of his long-time rival Marcel Hug to clinch a record-breaking seventh London Marathon title in the men's wheelchair race. Weir's victory marked his 18th appearance at London Marathon and was made all the sweeter as he’d waited five years since his last win. His magnificent seven victories make him the most successful elite athlete in the race’s history.
In the race for World Championship places, 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 at this summer’s Championships alongside fellow mountain runner Robbie Simpson.
Alyson Dixon was the first British woman under the gantry, taking 24 seconds off her personal best to finish in 2:29:06 and securing her place on the team. Charlotte Purdue was right behind her – the 25-year-old dipping under 2:30 for the first time as she clocked 2:29:23.
For a full list of results, visit our race listings page.