Kenyan Amos Kipruto won his first London Marathon title on Sunday and Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw stormed to victory in the women’s race ahead of last year’s winner Joyciline Jepkosgei.
Kipruto made a move with five kilometres left and finished in two hours four minutes and 39 seconds to take his first marathon title after coming second to world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Japan in March.
Yehualaw, 23, who only ran her first competitive marathon in April in Germany, winning it with the fastest debut time in history and an Ethiopian record, was equally impressive after making light work of the field in London.
Without home favourite Mo Farah, who withdrew with a hip injury, and Kipchoge absent after smashing his own marathon record in Berlin last week, the other big names fell away in the latter stages of the men’s race.
Veteran Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest marathoner of all time and one of the greatest distance runners in history, dropped off the leading group as did last year’s champion, Ethiopian Sisay Lemma.
Kipruto’s title on debut in London never looked in doubt after that as he crossed the line well ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase in second followed by Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi in third. Bekele dug deep to finish fifth.
In the absence of world record holder and twice London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei, who withdrew due to a hamstring injury, seven women had pulled clear by the halfway stage, led by Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere.
One by one the leading group dropped out, with Yehualaw, who fell at the 33-kilometre mark, and Kenyan Jepkosgei picking up the pace to open up a gap over the field with five kilometres remaining.
Yehualaw established a commanding lead in the closing stages, crossing the line in two hours, 17 minutes and 25 seconds, ahead of Jepkosgei and Ethiopia’s Alemu Megertu in third.
Ghebresilasie finished ninth in a new personal best time of 2:11:57, followed closely by compatriot Philip Sesemann.
Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner clinched a wheelchair race double for Switzerland, with British pair David Weir and Eden Rainbow-Cooper winning bronze for Great Britain in their respective men’s and women’s events.