LONDON, ENGLAND, April 28—After a disappointing slow opening half, Brigid Kosgei lit up the second half of the London Marathon, attacking every step of the way to the finish to score a remarkable win in 2:18:20. Remarkable in that after an opening half of only 71:38, the 25-year-old Kenyan closed the second half in a stunning 66:42 to land as the No. 7 marathoner ever, with the No. 9 performance. “I am happy with what I have done today,” she said. “It was not an easy competition, but I had confidence in my preparations and was ready for any tactic.”
Defending champ Vivian Cheruiyot managed to stick with the streaking Kosgei the longest and came home 2nd in 2:20:14. Ethiopia’s 21-year-old Roza Dereje (2:20:51) prevailed in a 3-way battle for the final podium spot, besting Kenyans Gladys Cherono (2:20:52), and Mary Keitany (2:20:58). Marathon débutante Emily Sisson finished 6th in 2:23:08—moving to No. 6 on the all-time U.S. list—and fellow American Molly Huddle took 12th in a PR 2:26:33.
This was a tale of two races, the first of which barely got started as almost immediately the lead group ignored the pacers who soon ran off into their own entity, hundreds of meters ahead. Said Kosgei, “I think that there were some problems with the wind and that is why we did not follow the pacemakers.” With the usual pace-protagonist Mary Keitany stymied by a stiff back, Cheruiyot analyzed, “The problem was that nobody wanted to go and chase the group. So, I decided to stay.” Whatever the case, they went out at 2:23 pace—and stayed there through 20K (68:13 for a 2:23:55 pace). Only 42-year-old Aussie Sinead Diver had the gumption to run out front.
The race began in earnest in the 21st K and Kosgei and Cheruiyot led the pack across the halfway mat in 71:38—just a little outside of the targeted 68:30. Dereje joined the Kenyan duo at the front through the 15:56 segment between 20 and 25K. From there it was all Kosgei as she ditched the pack with a subsequent 15:37 that only Cheruiyot could cover. The two ran on together through 35K (1:55:48) with Kosgei always tugging at the pace and Cheruiyot always barely hanging on.
Kosgei settled the score over the closing 7K hitting a gear seldom if ever seen in a women’s marathon. With her arms held high, Kosgei blasted down the Embankment into a slight headwind in 15:32. Yikes! (For Imperialists, that is 4:59 mile pace.) She continued to pour it on all the way to the finish line, saying, “the weather was not a problem for me, I have good experience running a cold and windy half marathon in Houston, and that gave me the confidence to run fast today.”
LONDON MARATHON WOMEN’S RESULTS
World Marathon Major: London, April 28 (point-to-point)—
1. Brigid Kosgei (Ken) 2:18:20 PR (7, 9 W) ($130,000) (1:11:38/1:06:42);
2. Vivian Cheruiyot (Ken) 2:20:14; 3. Roza Dereje (Eth) 2:20:51; 4. Gladys Cherono (Ken) 2:20:52; 5. Mary Keitany (Ken) 2:20:58;
6. Emily Sisson (US) 2:23:08 (AL) (6, 8 A) (debut) (1:11:49/1:11:19);
7. Sinead Diver (Aus) 2:24:11 PR; 8. Carla Salome Rocha (Por) 2:24:47 PR; 9. Birhane Dibaba (Eth) 2:25:04; 10. Charlotte Purdue (GB) 2:25:38 PR; 11. Linet Masai (Ken) 2:26:05 PR; 12. Molly Huddle (US) 2:26:33 PR; 13. Yuka Ando (Jpn) 2:26:47; 14. Lilia Fisikovici (Mol) 2:27:26 NR; 15. Mao Ichiyama (Jpn) 2:27:27; 16. Tish Jones (GB) 2:31:11; 17. Lily Partridge (GB) 2:31:53; 18. Hayley Carruthers (GB) 2:33:59; 19. Tracy Barlow (GB) 2:36:26; 20. Sonia Samuels (GB) 2:36:50;… dnf—Haftamnesh Tesfay (Eth), Tadelech Bekele (Eth), Ruth van der Meijden (Neth); … rabbits—Joyciline Jepkosgei (Ken), Dorcas Tuitoek (Ken), Edith Chelimo (Ken), Eunice Chumba (Ken).