© Copyright  – 2020 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2020 London Marathon had nearly everything. Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s fastest man in the marathon, proved he is nearly human after all. He did so by not winning and finishing the 19-lap course (plus 1,345m) in the time of 2:06:49 – slow by his standards.

On Friday his rival Kenenisa Bekele announced that he was out. He is nursing an injury. Until that time, the showdown in London mostly overshadowed talk about any other athletes. Sunday, the others stepped up in dramatic fashion.

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata ended Kipchoge’s four-year winning streak in London with a late surge to finish in 2:05:41. Doing so, he barely finished ahead of Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba in what could be referred to as a near sprint-like photo finish. Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia was third in 2:05:45, one of the closest top-three finishes in major marathon history. Kipchumba won the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon in the time of 2:05:09.

Kitata has run as fast as 2:04:49 in London. In 2018 he finished in second place setting that time as a personal best.

Also having a tough go of it was Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, who was seeded third behind Kipchoge and Bekele with a personal best of 2:02:55. He finished fifth in the time of 2:06:04. Sondre Moen of Norway fared no better. In 2017, he ran his personal best in Fukuoka in the time of 2:05:45. He, however, secured his Olympic berth to hold onto ninth overall in the time of 2:09:01. The Olympic qualifying time is sub-2:11:30.

Canada has a new 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon runner. Already qualified is Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer with his second-fastest Canadian time ever at 2:09:51. Tristan Woodfine of Cobden, Ontario finished in a new personal best of 2:10:51, 39 seconds under the Olympic qualifying time. Woodfine rolled in with a 17th place finish.

Canadian record holder Cameron Levins from Vancouver Island dropped out, saving his efforts for another day. He was on pace for the Olympic standard and even sub-2:08 at one point. He hasn’t qualified for the Tokyo Olympics yet. His best is 2:09:25 from Toronto 2018, so it is a matter of when not if.

Men’s top-10

1. Shura Kitata (ETH) — 2:05:41
2. Vincent Kipchumba (KEN) — 2:05:42
3. Sisay Lemma (ETH) — 2:05:45
4. Mosinet Geremew (ETH) — 2:06:04
5. Mule Wasihun (ETH) — 2:06:08
6. Tamirat Tola (ETH) — 2:06:41
7. Benson Kipruto (KEN) — 2:06:42
8. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) — 2:06:49
9. Sondre Moen (NOR) — 2:09:01
10. Marius Kipserem (KEN) — 2:09:25

Brigid Kosgei with commanding win

In the women’s race, Kenyan Brigid Koskei won as expected. She finished in a solid 2:18:58 and did so in commanding fashion, especially late in the race. Surprisingly her finish time on Sunday is only the 27th fastest performance all-time.

American Sara Hall surprised everyone. She was expected to be a top finisher, but certainly not taking second in dramatic fashion. She ran a 15-second personal best of 2:22:01. Hall is the first American woman since Deena Kastor to finish in the London top-three. Kastor won the race in 2006 when she set the national record at 2:19:36.

Hall picked off several women in front of her as she made her way to the finish over the final few laps. She ran smart tangents next to the curb on the road, passing competitors on the inside. Hall’s finish time is the eighth fastest in US history behind Kastor (x3), Jordan Hasay, Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan, and Joan Benoit.

Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya finished third, four seconds back of Hall.

American Molly Seidel had a very good race finishing in sixth place in the time of 2:25:13. The women’s Olympic qualifying time is sub-2:29:30. All of the top-10 dipped under that standard. Seidel’s performance is a new personal best.

Her first marathon was the US Olympic trials, where she made finishing in 2:27:31 look easy. There as a competitive field of Americans but the now 26-year-old Wisconsin native ran like a professional marathon runner. London proves that she belongs in the event.

Women’s Top-10

1. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) — 2:18:58
2. Sara Hall (USA) — 2:22:01
3. Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) — 2:22:05
4. Ashete Bekele (ETH) — 2:22:51
5. Alemu Megertu (ETH) — 2:24:23
6. Molly Seidel (USA) — 2:25:13
7. Gerda Steyn (RSA) — 2:26:51
8. Sinead Diver (AUS) — 2:27:07
9. Darya Mykhaylova (UKR) — 2:27:29
10. Valary Jemeli (KEN) — 2:28:18
DNF. Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)

Men’s Wheelchair

1. Brent Lakatos (CAN) — 1:36:04
2. David Weir (GBR) — 1:36:06
3. Marcel Hug (SUI) — 1:36:08
4. Sho Watanabe (JPN) — 1:36:08
5. Jordi Madera (ESP) — 1:36:09
6. Kota Hokinoue (JPN) — 1:36:11
7. Rafael Botello Jimenez (ESP) — 1:44:48
8. Heinz Frei (SUI) — 1:52:42
9. James Senbeta (USA) — 1:59:45

Women’s Wheelchair

1. Nikita Den Boer (NED) — 1:40:07
2. Manuela Schar (SUI) — 1:41:29
3. Jenna Fesemyer (USA) — 1:52:16
4. Patricai Eachus (SUI) — 2:02:38
5. Margriet Van Den Broek (NED) — 2:10:05