In the end, there was just no stopping Eliud Kipchoge.
The world-record holder claimed his fourth London Marathon title this afternoon, shattering the race record and posting the second fastest time in history.
In hindsight, the photographs of him facing off with Sir Mo Farah were somewhat premature, with the Brit finishing in fifth place and failing to improve on his personal best from Chicago.
Farah is still adjusting to athletics’ most brutal discipline but it seems that, like most other athletes, the Olympian will have to settle for chasing Kipchoge’s shadow.
Engulfed in a media huddle after his performance, Farah remained positive about the run and responded to questions about the hotel controversy with praise for the race winner.
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Farah reflects on fifth place
“I didn’t feel great at the start but I followed the pace maker. I felt good half way and by twenty miles a gap was there,” Farah explained in the mixed zone.
“My aim was to reel them back once the pacemaker dropped out but wasn’t able to. It was all about London today and so I put my head down, did my best.”
Farah admitted that he was ‘disappointed’ with the time because training had been going so well and when asked, refused to rule out a return to the track this season.
It’s been suggested that the 36-year-old could compete over 10,000 metres at the Anniversary Games, although the challenge of beating Kipchoge could lure him back to the marathon.
Kipchoge reacts to his victory
The great Kenyan himself was in good spirits after the race and conceded that – in spite of the constant pressure for a world record – he was simply happy to win the gold medal.
Reflecting on the race, he explained: “It was a very tactical race as everyone was there, but I know how to win this race and I was confident and didn’t feel it was in doubt at any point.
“It feels strange to be considered the most successful elite man in racing, it’s really good and I’m very very happy to have won four times.
“It’s a surprise when everybody tells me I’ve made history, but I’m just pleased to be part of the £1 billion for charity event.”
Geremew and Kosgei impress
However, aside from the headlining clash between Kipchoge and Farah, there was plenty to reflect upon at a historic London Marathon.
Mosinet Geremew was the closest challenger to Kipchoge and remarkably moved up to second in the all-time rankings with a time of 2:02:55.
Such a brilliant run saw him usurp the former world record of Dennis Kipruto Kimetto and, in turn, shatter the Ethiopian record over the distance.
Brigid Kosgei defeated 2018 champion Vivian Cheruiyot in the elite women’s race, pulling away from the field to produce the fastest ever second half to a women’s marathon.
Weir misses out on ninth title
The highest-finishing home runner came in the form of Charlotte Purdue, who ran one of the races of her life to secure tenth place and move to third in the British rankings.
There wasn’t to be a ninth London Marathon victory for David Weir in the men’s wheelchair race, with the legendary Brit finishing fifth on appearance number 20 at the event.
Instead, Daniel Romanchuk continued his brilliant form to take the gold medal, adding the London title to his accolades in Boston, Chicago and New York.
Meanwhile in the women’s race, Manuela Schar arguably produced the most dominant performance of the day – winning by over two minutes – to dethrone Madison de Rozario.
Over £1 billion raised
Another notable British performance came from Dereck Rae, who obliterated his personal best in the ambulant race, collecting the silver medal in a time of 2:27:08.
Then, of course, there were over 50,000 competitors in the mass race, all putting their body and minds through the ultimate test for causes dear to them.
The 2019 edition marked the passing of £1 billion raised for charity over the competition’s history, an incredible achievement, and plenty of runners were attempting world records of their own.
We’ll have to keep you posted on whether the fastest marathon time dressed as an emoji really comes to fruition…
However, it was Kipchoge who made the headlines again and with the second fastest marathon in history, he simply must be considered as one of the greatest sportspeople of all time.
Do you think Kipchoge will lower his own world record in 2019? Have your say in the comments section below.