Kenyan athletes swept the topmost honours at the just ended London Marathon, relegating their Ethiopian counterparts to second in both the male and female categories.
Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru beat pre-tournament favorite Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele to win the marathon on Sunday. He finished in two hours five minutes and 48 seconds.
Bekele, who is the world record-holder over 5,000m and 10,000m, fought back brilliantly from being distanced by the front group just after the halfway mark but could not overhaul Wanjiru.
I took it as a part of my training and I knew that I could run the marathon. From there I said to my coach: I am ready to win the London Marathon.
“I first made the Half Marathon to test my body and that was okay because I have done 62 minutes there down.
“I took it as a part of my training and I knew that I could run the marathon. From there I said to my coach: I am ready to win the London Marathon,” Wanjiru said after the victory.
The story was no different in the female category as Kenya’s Mary Keitany broke the women’s only world record on her way to victory. It was her third London Marathon triumph, beating Paula Radcliffe’s previous best by 41 seconds.
Mary Keitany also said in a post marathon interview, “It was a long time that I had not beaten a record. In New York, I had done 2 hours 23 … 2 hours 24 … 2 hours 25, so today, it was my day.”
Each year the London Marathon brings together thousands of people. This edition was more than 40,000 people participating in the race.
Whiles Bekele lost by nine seconds to Wanjiru, Ethipia’s Tirunesh Dibaba (2: 17: 56) also came in second behind record-breaking Keitany (2: 17: 01).
Ethiopia grabbed third spot in the women’s category – Aselefech Mergia (2: 23: 08) whiles Kenya took same spot for the men’s race – Bedan Karoki (2: 07: 41).
Both Kenyan athletes received presidential congratulations for making the East African long-distance athletics giant “proud.”
Proud of Daniel Wanjiru’s #LondonMarathon men’s elite race win. A great win for Kenya 🇰🇪— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 23, 2017
I congratulate Mary Keitany for her #LondonMarathon win and for breaking the women-only marathon World Record! You have made Kenya proud 🇰🇪— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) April 23, 2017