Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa stunned the fantastic four from Kenya to take the honours in the corresponding women’s race ahead of two-time champion, Mary Keitany.
The men’s race came down to a sprint finish between Kipsang and Kipchoge after matching each other stride for stride over the last two kilometres before the Chicago Marathon champion prevailed in 2:04:41.
Kipchoge 30, beat Kipsang on his London Marathon debut 12 seconds short of the latter’s course record as he celebrated by pointing at the crowds in the final metres.
The former champion’s unofficial time of 2:04:47 made him the fastest ever runner-up, better than Stanley Biwott’s 2:04:55 from last year with world record holder Dennis Kimetto completing the Kenyan podium sweep in 2:05:50. Biwott was fourth.
“It was a tough race. My training paid off and it went to plan. The crowd were wonderful and lifted me for my sprint finish,” Kipchoge said after his biggest triumph in his short lived ultimate distance career as he paid homage to the vociferous crowd.
“I am happy with second. The race was good and I don’t mind the cold weather. The crowd kept me going; it’s a wonderful atmosphere as always,” Kipsang magnanimously offered.
Four time World Marathon Majors races winner, Geoffrey Mutai failed to finish the race.
The women’s race produced one of the largest shocks in the history of the World Marathon Majors race that ran its 35th edition when another debutant, Tufa, 28, prevailed over an imposing field.
She upset the form book to win the women’s race and end a four-year run of Kenyan success in the event.
Following a protracted tactical battle, the 28 year-old broke clear from the pack and even had time to wave to the crowd down the finishing straight as she won by some 18 seconds from Keitany in an unofficial time of two hours, 23 minutes and 22 seconds.
Keitany, the winner of the race in 2011 and 2012, just did enough to hold off Tufa’s compatriot, Tirfi Tsegaye, in the battle for second place.
Tufa, the 2014 Shanghai Marathon champion, was the first Ethiopian to win the London women’s race since Derartu Tulu in 2001.
This year’s edition had been billed as four-way clash between the Kenyan quartet of defending champion Edna Kiplagat, Keitany, half-marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo, the London winner in 2013.
Tufa was hardly talked about but, in cool conditions and under grey skies, the relatively slow pace early on meant she was able to stay mong the leading group before a 25th mile completed in just 5mins 07secs saw her pull clear, with the chasing pack unable to respond.
Edna Kiplagat, last year’s champion, eventually finished 11th in 2:27:16. Her namesake Florence, second a year ago, was fifth in 2:24:15, one place behind Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia.
Prisca Jeptoo, the 2013 champion came 7th in 2:25:01 with Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal holding on to eighth to finish as the top European.
Athletics: London Marathon results
London, United Kingdom | AFP | Sunday 4/26/2015 – 13:13 GMT | 119 words
Leading finishers in the 2015 London Marathon on Sunday:
1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2hr 04 mins 42sec, 2. Wilson Kipsang (KEN) 2:04:47, 3. Dennis Kimetto (KEN) 2:05:50, 4. Stanley Biwott (KEN) 2:06:41, 5. Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:07:16, 6. Samuel Kitwara (KEN) 2:07:16, 7. Javier Guerra (ESP) 2:09:33, 8. Ghebre Kibrom (ERI) 2:09:36, 9. Aleksey Reunkov (RUS) 2:10:10, 10. Serhiy Lebid (UKR) 2:10:21
1. Tigist Tufa (KEN) 2:23:22, 2. Mary Keitany (KEN) 02:23:40, 3. Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH) 02:23:41, 4. Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:23:53, 5. Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:24:15, 6. Jemima Sumgong (KEN) 2:24:23, 7. Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 2:25:01, 8. Ana Dulce Felix (POR) 2:25:15, 9. Volha Mazuronak (BLR) 2:25:36, 10. Rkia El Moukim (MAR) 2:26:33
-Additional material from Agence France Presse