London Marathon: Worldwide Shock As Ethiopia’s Kitata Dethrones Eliud Kipchoge

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge was beaten in the London Marathon as Shura Kitata won a thrilling sprint finish to claim an unexpected victory in the wet English capital.

Four-time winner Kipchoge, pipped as favourite to win his unprecedented 5th marathon title, fell behind with two laps to go and finished eighth.

Ethiopian Kitata squeezed just ahead of Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba on the home straight to finish in two hours five minutes and 41 seconds.

Eliud Kipchoge in action at the 2020 London Marathon. /TWITTER

It was meant to be an easy victory for defending champion Kipchoge following Kenenisa Bekele pulling out injured on Friday, October 2.

However, the 35-year-old Kenyan, who set a world record of 2:01.39 in 2018, never took the opportunity to pull away from an eight-strong leading pack in a slow start.

Kitata pushed the pace with 15 minutes to go and Kipchoge looked increasingly uncomfortable as he fell back.

Others dropped off too and eventually Kitata rounded the final corner into the home straight with compatriot Sisay Lemma and Kipchumba.

The 24-year-old managed to surge ahead and finish one second before Kipchumba, with Lemma three seconds further back.

Bar the Olympic Games, the performance recorded by Kipchoge at the 2020 London Marathon was the personal worst marathon performance from the record holder.

This also became the first marathon that Kipchoge has failed to win since 2013, a run that stretches seven years.

Earlier on, Brigid Kosgei, who holds the women’s world record, successfully defended her title.

Kosgei, 26, went clear of world champion Ruth Chepngetich after mile 18 and finished in 2:18.58, three minutes and three seconds ahead of American Sara Hall.

She was almost five minutes outside her world record set in Chicago last year.

“The weather was not good, so we struggled,” Kosgei, who earned $30,000 (Ksh30 million) in prize money with her win, told BBC Sport. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.

“We have not prepared well due to the pandemic. I will be prepared for good results next year.”

The London Marathon, rescheduled from its traditional April date because of the coronavirus pandemic, is taking place for elite runners only over 19 laps around St James’s Park. The wheelchair races take place later on Sunday.

Brigid Kosgei retained her London Marathon title on October 4, 2020. /TWITTER
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