Nairobi, Kenya, Oct 4 – Eliud Kipchoge lost his first race since coming second to Wilson Kipsang in a world-record pace Berlin Marathon in 2013 as he finished eighth in London on Sunday, bringing his reign as the champion to a shuddering end.
Kipchoge seemed to struggle from the 35km mark and was dropped off the leading pack.
From there, it didn’t seem possible for a way back for the World Record holder as he dropped further back the field, the grimace on his face telling half the story of a king seeing his reign fading away.
Ethiopian Shura Kitata who began the bolt upfront to break away from a group of eight that had stuck together all through the race won in 2:05:41 in a sprint finish against Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba.
Kitata and Kipchumba pulled away from the chasing pack in the final kilometre and at some point, it seemed the lanky reigning Amsterdam Marathon champion would wipe the tears off the Kenyan faces with a win as he galloped upfront.
However, the pint sized Kitata proved to have had more in the tank as he darted away in the final 20m, Kipchumba coming second in 2:05:41.
Kipchoge could only settle for eighth after clocking 2:06:49
The leading group of eight remained tucked together for most of the race.
They passed the first 5km in a relatively low pace 14:48 and maintained almost similar tempo to the 15km mark where they posted a 14:46 split from the 10km mark.
The group remained close knit with no one willing to kick out, each watching the other’s move. They passed the half way mark in just over an hour, posting a time of 01:02:54 with Kipchumba upfront while Kipchoge stuck to his wings.
Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew who finished second behind Kipchoge last year was the first to show some intent of injecting the pace.
At the 30km mark, Kipchoge looked keen to throw down the gauntlet and once he threw off his cap and gloves, it looked as though that was the moment he would step on the gas peddles for some pace to try and break away from the group.
At that point, they had done 01:29:00 and were in 2:05 finishing pace.
But, the rain started beating the Kenyan icon at the 35km mark where they timed 01:44:14 and he started slowly gliding backward.
Kitata bolted to the front to take charge of the pace, and he looked the most probable to clinch the title with the gap between the leading pack and Kipchoge growing bigger by the minute.