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Shura Kitata from Ethiopia prevailed against two others in the last section and won the London Marathon on Sunday in 2:05:41. Defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge had the most difficult race of his career and finished eighth in 2:06:49.
Vincent Kipchumba from Kenya was second behind Kitata in 2:05:42 and Sisay Lemma from Ethiopia was third in 2:05:45.
The only American in the 39-man field, 2016 Olympian Jared Ward, finished 17th in 2:12:38.
Instead of the usual London route, the race took place over 19.6 laps of a biosecure bubble in St. James Park.
The planned pace of 61:00 halfway through, which Kipchoge would have brought within reach to challenge his world record of 2:01:39, never materialized. The big pack went halfway through in 62:55. Nine men were still fighting, the last pacemaker failed in the 17th mile.
When the pace slowed by 35 km, Kitata moved forward and started pushing. Within minutes, Kipchoge began drifting onto the back of the eight-man pack. soon afterwards he finally lost contact. Kitata kept the pressure on as the pack dropped to five, then four, and finally the three eventual top finishers by 600 meters.
The three of them walked down the last stretch of The Mall together. Kitata, who just lost a sprint finish at the 2018 New York City Marathon, had the best kick today.
To date, Kipchoge’s only defeat in a marathon was his second, Berlin, 2013, when he finished second after a world record set by Wilson Kipsang. The 35-year-old Kipchoge went to London hoping to become the first five-time winner of the race.
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