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04 October 2020

Shura Kitata has won the elite men's race at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon in a time of 2:05:41.


The wet conditions and unfamiliar looped course in St James’s Park revealed that world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge was human after all, as Kitata denied him the chance to make history by becoming the first male runner to win five London Marathons.


Kipchoge started with a typically solid, sensible pace that meant the rest of the world-class field were never far behind for the majority of the race. It wasn’t until around two miles to go that a close pack that contained Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, Sisay Lemma and Mosinet Geremew, plus Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba, began to move away from Kipchoge – who ended up in a surprising eighth place.


But it was Amsterdam Marathon champion Kipchumba and last year’s fourth-placed athlete Kitata who broke away for a nail-biting sprint finish that saw the confident Ethiopian storm past the long-strided Kenyan to finish just one second ahead, with compatriot Lemma third in 2:05:45.


Kitata said afterwards: “All the time I kept myself in the back to attack when I needed to. When I went, I tried to push the pace more than before. I went into the last lap to beat the others.


“First of all, I am very happy to win this race against a very strong field for my country and for my group of teammates. It is very good and will be really good to boost morale.  


“My coach, because of Covid-19, is back in Ethiopia. I will bring back the medals for him and I am very happy with that for him.”


Jonny Mellor is British champion, coming in 13th with a sub-PB time of 2:10:38, with Ben Connor (2:11:20) and Josh Griffiths (2:13:11) the next Brits home, after running a pace set by Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah.


The elite men’s race was the second elite race of the day at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Women’s Race
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei has won the elite women's race. Kosgei, who was defending her London title, looked in control throughout the race, which took place on a looped course in St James’s Park. She saw off competition from her compatriot and world champion Ruth Chepngetich and the USA’s Sara Hall, to finish more than three minutes ahead of second-placed Hall.
Despite rainy conditions in the capital, 26-year-old Kosgei looked likely to challenge Mary Keitany’s women-only record of 2:17:01, set in London in 2017, around the halfway point, as she broke away from the rest of the field. The tough conditions took their toll though and as she ran under the world-famous Finish Line on The Mall she was almost two minutes outside Keitany’s record.
Kosgei said afterwards: “I just tried my best. The weather affected us today – there was some wind and rain all the way, which made our muscles colder. No one could warm up so it was difficult to even finish.”
She clearly felt better than the rest of the field when she made a break at the 30K point: “I didn’t have anything planned, but I felt good. I felt my body wanted to move, but my legs could not move, so I tried my best.”
At the same time, 45,000 participants from 109 countries across the world were taking part in the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon – The 40th Race. By 10:00 more than 2,500 had finished the event.
Ballot for 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon now open 
The public ballot online entry system for the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon is open to all applicants today, Race Day (Sunday 4 October).  

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