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Africans Dominate Top Spots at London Marathon

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Monday, April 22, 2013 | 4/22/2013 08:08:00 am


ETHIOPIA's Tsegaye Kebede and Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya triumphed at a sombre London Marathon on Sunday, as runners paid tribute to the victims of the deadly bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon.

Kebede hunted down 2011 champion Emmanuel Mutai to win the men's race, while Jeptoo surged to victory in the women's event, eight months on from her second-place finish at the London Olympics.

Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich struggled to keep up with the pace of the London Marathon and settled for sixth position. Kiprotich who won gold in the same city last summer, couldn't repeat his heroics and clocked 02:08:05.

The men's and mass start races were preceded by a 30-second silence in memory of the three people killed and around 180 injured in Monday's bombings in Boston, while competitors donned black ribbons in tribute.

After a frenetic start in the men's race, Mutai led Stanley Biwott, Feyisha Lilesa and Ayele Abshero past the 30-kilometre mark just 10 seconds outside world-record pace.

Biwott tried to force the issue but Mutai resisted his Kenyan countryman's efforts to break clear and found himself in the lead.

However, he began to flag as he approached the Houses of Parliament and Kebede tore past him to cross the line in a time of 2hr 06min 03sec. Mutai trailed in second, with Abshero third.

British Olympic star Mo Farah had helped set the early pace before dropping out, as planned, after an hour.

The 5,000 and 10,000 metres champion at last year's London Games is preparing to compete over the full distance next year, but he said he had struggled with the demands of marathon running.

"The pace is not a problem. The biggest challenge is picking up the right drink and I think I made a mess of it," Farah said.

"I've learnt the biggest lesson of my life, really. If I come here next year and make a mess of it, it'd be hard to deal with, so it's opened my eyes."

Jeptoo, who finished third in last year's race, streaked away from the women's field to claim victory ahead of compatriot Edna Kiplagat and Yukiko Akaba of Japan.
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