Kenya: Brigid Kosgei Retains London Marathon Title

Brigid Kosgei on her way to victory during the Kalya Half Marathon in West Pokot County in 2018.
4 October 2020

Kenya's Brigid Kosgei successfully defended her London Marathon title on a wet St James's Park on Sunday.

It was a two-horse race between Kosgei and World champion Ruth Chepng'etich from 25km mark before the marathon world record holder pulled away with 12 kilometres to go to win in two hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds.

It's United States Of America's Sara Hall, who zoomed past Chengétich on the home straight to take second place in2:22:01 as Kenyan, who was making her debut in London, settled third in 2:22:05.

Kosgei would miss the women's only world record of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017 but the time is now ranked 15th all-time best. The record wasn't going to happen, what with conditions and race set up.

The race that was occasionally interrupted by hailstorms and rains involved 19 clockwise laps of a 2.15km route around the park plus an extra 1345m, with a traditional finish on The Mall.

It was at the Chicago Marathon last year that Kosgei set that new world record of 2:14:04 in the mixed race.

The race started off well with pacesetter Sheila Chelangat from Kenya taking the pack of four athletes including Kosgei, Chepng'etich and Valary Aiyabei through 15km in 48:31 minutes.

The pack was within Mary Keitany's women only world record of 2:17:01 as Chelangat dropped, having accomplished her mission.

Remaining pacesetter Vivian Kiplagat looked strong pulling along Kosgei and Chepng'etich through 20km in 1:04:35 but the pace looked too hot for Aiyabei, the 2019 Frankfurt champion, to handle as she drifted back.

Kiplagat encouraged Kosgei and Chepng'etich to step on their gas pedal, taking them through halfway in 1:08:11 but Aiyabei sunk further by 55 seconds with Everline Chirchir from Kenya and Ethiopian Ashete Bekere in tow.

The race curved to a two-horse battle with a thrilling exchange between Kosgei and Chepng'etich as Kiplagat, who looked comfortable injected good pace up front.

Chepng'etich and Kosgei hit the 25km mark in 1:21:17 before Kiplagat paved the way for the duo, who are in Kenya's marathon team for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The duo went shoulder-to-shoulder as they teased each other while approaching the 30km mark.

Kosgei then stepped on the gas pedal. She built a 10 seconds lead from Chpngétich, hitting the 30km mark in 1:38:18. Third-placed Bekere sank one minute and 10 seconds off the pace with Aiyabei falling off by two minutes and three seconds.

Kosgei crossed 35km in 1:55:00 with a hamstring injury starting to take toll on Chepng'etich who fell off the pace by 46 seconds. Bekere fell behind two minutes allowing Hall to catch up.

It was clear that women's only world record won't happen when the grinning Kosgei sliced through the 40km mark in 2:11:41, two minutes and 17seconds ahead of Chepng'etich. At that time, Hall was charging through to overtake Bekere as they approached 40km.

As Kosgei triumphed, Hall was pumping all her pistons to glide past a tired Chepng'etich with less than 50 metres to go to settle second.

Selected results

1. Brigid Kosgei (Ken) 2:18.58

2. Sara Hall (USA) 2:22.01

3. Ruth Chepng'etich (Ken) 2:22.05

4. Ashete Bekere (Eth) 2:22:51

5. Alemu Megertu (Eth) 2:24:23

6.Molly Seidel (USA) 2:25:13

7.Gerda Steyn (South Africa) 2:26.51

8.Sinead Dive (Australia) 2:27:07

9.Darya Mykhaylova (Ukraine) 2:27:29

10.Valary Aiyabei (Ken) 2:28:18

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