[ribbon toplink=true]Men’s race[/ribbon]
Finish – the London Marathon champion is Eliud Kipchoge. He moved clear with 800m to go, to win by 5 seconds, in 2:04:42. Kipsang was second, the two having moved well clear of the chasers, who were led home by Kimetto. That was an incredible final 10km. The final 7.2 km were run in 2:52/km, but that was full of surges, periods of fast then slow, so in truth it was even harder than that. Kimetto hung on for third, over a minute down. That was some running by Kipchoge, and he may be your guy if you’re looking for the next World Record holder. Berlin will be an interesting race, if he manages to get into it!
40km – 1:58:29, the last 5km in 14:27. That’s actually a touch slower than I thought, but it’s because it was constructed with surges and let-offs, so fast-slow, and worth considerably faster. It accounted for Kitwara and then Regassa, and it seemed Kimetto, but then he managed to work his way back to the group.
But then going through a tunnel at 38km, someone moved (no TV in the tunnel) and when they emerged it was down to two – Kipsang and Kipchoge. Biwott moved into third, Kimetto fourth. The winners from Chicago and New York are now racing for the win. Side by side, so impossible to know who has more left.
35km – 1:44:02. Last 5km in 15:02, but the real story is the small surges. It’s still six, but a little move by Kipsang was enough to put Kitwara into trouble, so it might be a realistic five. Then Kipchoge and Kimetto went to the front and the group was really under pressure. This is the aggression that will decide this race. It seems that Kipsang is under pressure now, or is that just waiting. Kitwara is gone
30km – 1:28:56 – there are six now in contention. Kipchoge, Kimetto and Kipsang, the big three and expected to be there, are. Then for company, they have Kitwara, Biwott and Regassa. It should be a terrific final 10km. 14:53 for the last 5km, which is fast in this section of the race.
25km – 1:14:03, and the trend continues with a 15:02 split for the last 5km. No TV footage of that in the last 10 min, but the interesting thing is that the splits suggest a split, 3 seconds between a group of six and a chasing group. OK, we have footage again, no split. False alarm.
Halfway – 1:02:20 (2:04:40 pace). This is where the race often gets attacked. I recall Kirui once hitting it here, and Kipsang has done it too. This pace, and the quality of the field, might dissuade anyone from getting carried away just yet. As mentioned, Geoffrey Mutai is gone, but the rest all remain.
20km – 59:01, and again a slight slowing in pace. That was 14:56 for 5km, slowest so far. 2:04:31 is now the projected time. Geoffrey Mutai is the first of the big names to seem under pressure. That’s not that big a surprise – he apparently pulled out of Tokyo because of injury, and so I expect his preparation for London was less than ideal. He’s also not shown the form of three years ago, so he may be the first (expected casualty) of this pace.
15km – 44:04, and the pace is still very solid. Last 5km in 14:49, and it projects 2:03:58. So sure, it’s dropping slightly, but that’s expected. The group is still big, all the big names there. Kimetto looks ridiculously easy at 2:55/km. They all do, but he is especially fluid. Not difficult to see why he was identified as having potential based on his stride.
10km – 29:15, so the last 5km in 14:43, the pace remains high, but is now a mid-2:03. London really is no longer a viable world record course – the twists and turns in the second half, plus the chance of wind along the river, put paid to that. And when a field is this strong, you can also expect tactical ‘games’ after halfway, so that projection will continue to slow
5km – 14:32, projects 2:02:39, but that’s normal for London, which does start fast. The group contains everyone you’d expect – ten men plus two pacemakers.
[ribbon toplink=true]Women’s race[/ribbon]
Finish – Tigist Tufa has won the 2015 London Marathon in 2:23:22. Second went to Mary Keitany, third to Tirfi Tsegaye of Ethiopia. Tufa did that with a 16:12 from 35km to 40km, and duly finished it off.
40km – 2:16:12. Tigist Tufa has thrown in the race’s decisive move. She’s a 2:21 runner, and earlier this year raced to 2:18 pace in Dubai before bailing from the effort. This time, the pace has been slow, but she’s run the last 5km in 16:14, a full minute faster than what we saw for most of this race, and that’s the reason she has gone clear and is now only 2km from the title.
35km – 1:59:58. And still nothing has happened in the women’s race, other than the surprise dropping of Edna Kiplagat. Keitany is there, Florence Kiplagat is there, and Tsegaye is there. Something has to give soon, because this has just drifted along at 2:24 pace since about 10km, and with only 7km to go, it must surely be a matter of time before someone puts in a big effort. The final 5km will be very aggressive.
30km – 1:42:36. A slight increase in pace, 17:06 for the last 5km, but that is not too challenging for this caliber of field. Except for Edna Kiplagat, the defending champ, who has been stretched by this relatively small surge by Felix of Portugal, so that’s a surprise. The pace is certainly not demanding, so that’s either a bad patch or a bad day, but Kiplagat’s defense is in jeapordy.
25km – 1:25:30, and another slow 5km segment in 17:24. There’s really no pressure at the front. Maybe there have been some subtle shifts, but the group from behind again caught up to the lead pack, which is your barometer for their pace. So now you have both groups together, a mix of the 2:25 plus runners with the east Africans who are all 2:21 or faster caliber. The hammer should really drop in the next 5km
Halfway – 1:11:43 for the front of the women’s race
20km – 1:08:06, so another relatively sedate 5km in 17:13. The pacesetter has caught up from behind, which says all you need to know about the intensity at the front. It’s still projecting 2:23, but now a 23:40, so it’s slowing. Keitany and Kiplagat spoke about a 69min first half, but they’ve never shown the desire to follow anything like that pace. Keitany remains the “honorary” pace-setting, doing most of the front running, but all the top Kenyans and Ethiopians will be comfortable at this pace.
15km – 50:53, so the last 5km were in 17:31, significantly slower, and the projected time has now dropped to 2:23:08. As you’d expect off a slow 5km, no change in the group.
10km – 33:22, last 5km in 16:28, so it has sped up and now projects 2:20:47. No change in the composition, though Mergia of Ethiopia spent some time on the front. The pace-makers are still 15 m clear, and dangling there.
5km – 16:54, projecting a 2:22:33. The two pace-makers are off the front, the elites allowed a gap to open and have not bothered to close it. There has been some work at the front by Keitany, and Florence Kiplagat, but the start is sedate
Welcome to the 2015 London Marathon!
The Elite women are about to start – the men go about 50 minutes later, which London does because they really enjoy it when the men’s race is into its decisive moments, and they can instead show us the first, second and third British women finishing in 7th, 9th and 12th place, rather than the men. The time it well that way.
In any event, that is a frustration for a few hours from now. Over the next few hours, I’ll post the 5km splits from the races, as well as any other thoughts from what is, as it always seems to be, the best marathon fields ever assembled.
Hopefully you’re watching, but if you’re not, I’ve got you covered!