Kelvin Kiptum wins the London Marathon after posting the second fastest marathon time in HISTORY
As the ‘grandad’ exited the stage, the new kids on the block burst on to it.
Thousands of soaked spectators braved the driving rain in London on Sunday to bid farewell to the great Mo Farah. But they left to dry off at home having also witnessed the future of men’s marathon running.
In his final race over 26.2 miles, 40-year-old Farah showed his age as he finished ninth in a personal worst time of 2hr 10min 28sec. That was more than five minutes outside his best and nine minutes behind the Kenyan winner Kelvin Kiptum, who at 23 broke the course record with the second-fastest marathon run in history.
It was not just Kiptum, though, who announced his arrival on London’s soggy streets on Sunday. There was also a stunning marathon debut from 25-year-old Emile Cairess, who overtook Farah 10 miles from home and finished sixth. A changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, if you will.
It was the first time Farah had been beaten by another Brit at the London Marathon. And he was actually only the third home runner to finish, as 30-year-old Leeds doctor Phil Sesemann overtook him down the Mall. ‘You can call me grandad,’ joked Farah afterwards.
Kelvin Kiptum won the London Marathon after running the second fastest marathon in history
The Kenyan broke the course record and was just 18 seconds off Eliud Kipchoge’s world record
However, despite the disappointment of his performance and his placing, Farah preferred to remember the reception he received from fans all the way from Greenwich Park to the Mall.
‘If it wasn’t for the crowd, at some point I would have dropped out,’ admitted the four-time Olympic champion. ‘That’s what kept me going. It was amazing support. Part of me wanted to cry.
‘I will miss that feeling. I am emotional today. London has been so great to me over the years and I wanted to be here to say thank you to the crowd.’
London is, of course, the city Farah was smuggled to from Somalia at the age of eight. It was where he ran the Mini London Marathon five years later. And where he enjoyed his greatest moment, with that double track gold at London 2012.
But if he has any regret in terms of his career achievements, it will be that he has never won the London Marathon. In his four appearances, his best finish was third in 2018, the same year he claimed his only major marathon success in Chicago.
‘When I moved to track on to the marathon, I honestly thought it was going to be an easy transition, but I did struggle,’ conceded Farah. ‘In terms of my preparation for this race, I felt great. I was confident and I thought I could do between 2:05 and 2:07.
Mo Farah finished in ninth place in what is likely to be the final major race of a legendary career
‘But the body didn’t respond today and it was a little bit disappointing. That’s when you know when it’s time to call it a day.’
While this will be the last we see of Farah in a marathon and in London, he revealed he will run in two more events before retiring – the Great Manchester 10k next month and then the Great North Run in September. He then wants to help the next generation of British distance runners, the best of whom took him down on Sunday.
When Farah won the first of his six world titles in 2011, Bradford-born Cairess had just finished 74th in the English Schools’ Cross-Country Championships.
But making his marathon debut on Sunday, he comfortably beat the man 15 years his senior in a time of 2:08:07 – the third-fastest marathon run by a Brit, behind only Farah and Steve Jones.
‘I did beat Mo Farah but it’s not the Mo Farah who won the Olympics,’ said the modest Cairess, who won a silver behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen in December’s European Cross-Country Championships and broke the European 10-mile record last month.
‘I know it’s Mo Farah but you just have to treat everyone in the race the same. I was treating him like another competitor. Running the full marathon distance has been a dream for a while. It was a really good day.’
Sifan Hassan was a surprise winner of the women’s race after battling injury throughout
It was a good day for Britain overall, with Chris Thompson ensuring four home runners finished in the top 10 of the men’s race. But it was an outstanding day for Kiptum in just his second marathon.
His first was in Valencia in December, when he finished in 2:01:53, the third-fastest time in history. Yet here he went even quicker, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s course record and coming just 16 seconds off the great Kenyan’s world record with an astonishing run of 2:01:25.
Kiptum burst clear of the pack at mile 20 and never looked back. He completed the second half of the race in a staggering 59min 45sec and finished almost three minutes ahead of fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor, with Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola in third.
‘I was not thinking about the world record,’ insisted Kiptum, who was wearing eye-catching Nike prototype trainers, which were approved by World Athletics. ‘My aim was to run 2:03 or maybe 2:02. I am so happy with the result.’
For all the latest Sports News Click Here