Lel wins London marathon again
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Kenyan Martin Lel retained his London Marathon title with a devastating finish to triumph in two hours, five minutes and 15 seconds in a race where the first three finishers broke the course record.
It was Lel’s third London win in four years.
The race was run in mostly dry conditions but finished in a rainstorm and the leaders set a scorching sub-world record pace for the first 20 miles but slowed slightly in the latter stages as rain and the early effort took their toll.
Lel, who won in 2005 and 2007 and came second in 2006, looked comfortable throughout and piled on the pressure in the last 500 yards to pull clear of 21-year-old compatriot Sammy Wanjiru, who finished nine seconds adrift.
Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri, second last year when he was out-kicked by Lel, had to settle for bronze in a terrific time of 2:05.30 – eight seconds inside the 2002 course record of Khalid Khannouchi.
Earlier in the day, German Irina Mikitenko won her first major marathon title on only her second outing over the distance in a time of 2:24:14.
The 35-year-old former Kazakhstan Olympic 5,000metre track athlete made her marathon debut last year when she finished second to Gete Wami in Berlin but the Ethiopian race favourite could manage only third place after losing ground when falling at a feed station at the 20 mile mark.
Mikitenko looked strong throughout, covering every move, and made her key break over the last four miles, surging clear to finish in a rainstorm after the race had been run in mostly bright, dry conditions.
Russian Svetlana Zakharova, runner-up in 2001 and 2002, completed a hat-trick of silvers when she finished 25 seconds adrift.