Wilson Kipsang won the men’s London Marathon yesterday on a day of Kenyan domination. His compatriot Mary Keitany won the women’s event, her second straight victory in the race.
Kipsang clocked a time of two hours, four minutes and 44 seconds, four seconds slower than the course record for the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race, which started in southeast London and ended at the Mall, near Buckingham Palace.
Three-time London champion Martin Lel of Kenya was second in 2:06:51 as he overtook Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede, the 2010 winner, in the final stages. Kipsang, the second-fastest marathon runner of all time, led for the last five miles of the event.
“I knew when I went away they’d have to work very, very hard to beat me as I was feeling very good in myself,” the Kenyan told reporters. “I’m sorry I didn’t break the record but winning is the most important thing.”
World record-holder Patrick Makau of Kenya didn’t finish the race and compatriot Abel Kirui, the world champion, was sixth.
Yesterday’s races had added significance as runners tried to boost their national selection chances for the London Olympics, starting July 27.
“It’s great for me to win the race for the second time,” Keitany said. “I hope they will select me now for the Olympics.”
Keitany had turned up the pace in the second half and went clear of the field to finish in two hours, 18 minutes and 37 seconds, a Kenyan record.
World champion Edna Kiplagat was second, more than a minute behind, with Priscah Jeptoo third as Kenya filled the first three places.
British duo David Weir and Shelly Woods won the wheelchair races. It was a sixth victory for Weir in the London event.
Yesterday’s race took place in sunny conditions, amid temperatures of around 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit). It was the 32nd running of the London Marathon, which started in 1981. As well as elite runners, this year’s event attracted about 37,000 participants, many of them fun-runners taking part to raise money for charitable causes.
The marathon route, starting in Blackheath, included the National Maritime Museum and Canary Wharf as well as taking runners past the Cutty Sark ship, now restored after a fire, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament Square.
Richard Branson’s Virgin financial-services group is title sponsor of the London Marathon.