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Defending champion Kipchoge sets new bar

Derek Otieno and agencies @PeopleSports11

Jemima Sumgong recovered from a nasty fall to claw her way back into the race and win the Elite Women race of the 2016 Virgin London Marathon yesterday.

In the men’s race, defending champion Eliud Kipchoge produced a devastating pace to blow away sole challenger Stanley Biwott in the dying minutes of the men’s race to register a course record time and give Kenya a memorable double win in the legendary marathon.

Following the win, President Uhuru Kenyatta led in congratulating the duo and other Kenyan athletes who took part in the legendary marathon.

The rank outsider Sumgong was involved in a threesome fall at a water point that left her with a cracked head, before picking herself up from the ninth position to produce the heroic effort that gave her the London win ahead of defending champion Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia.

Pre-race favourite Mary Keitany, who was also involved in the incident, could not give a chase even after picking herself, and so was Ethiopian Aselech Mergia who was also caught up in the pile-up. The fall knocked the stuffing out of Mergia and Keitany, Sumgong sprang back to her feet and, holding her forehead, rejoined the leading group before hitting the front and winding up the pace as she went for the win.

Pictures have emerged showing a man running out onto the route clapping his hands as the Kenyan storms past before she went on to win the race. It’s not clear whether the man, who was dressed in a black jacket and cap, was attempting to sabotage the race or put the 31-year-old off her winning streak.

Eventually left with only last year’s winner Tigist Tufa for company, Sumgong pulled clear in the closing stages to triumph in two hours 22.58 minutes, with Keitany five seconds further back. Kipchoge, in the process, blew away the field to run a controlled race, plodding to the finish line, missing the world record by four second, thereby registering the second fastest marathon in the world.

Former world record holder Wilson Kipsang was hard done by the sudden pace injected by the duo of Biwott and Kipchoge in the race that Kipchoge registerd a time of 2.03.04 for the course record that clouded Eric Mutais record set in 2011.

With Dennis Kimetto’s world record of two hours 2.57 seconds set in Berlin two years ago in his sights, Kipchoge ground his rivals into the ground, dropping the likes of Kimetto and Kipsang early on before bidding farewell to Kenyan compatriot Stanley Biwott with about one mile to go.

From there on it was just a case of how fast Kipchoge could go and he crossed the line in a course record 2:03.04 seconds, missing the world record by just seven seconds for the second fastest marathon time in history.

Biwott stayed on for second while Ethiopia’s former multiple world track record holder Kenenisa Bekele overcame his injury problems to finish third, in a torturous race that left most in the elite race category digging deep to record respectable finish times and positions.

In China, World half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir shattered the women’s course record at the 2016 Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon, an IAAG Gold Label Race, improving it by almost a minute when winning in 1:07:21. The 23-year-old Kenyan barely met any challenge during the race.

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