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Bridget Kosgei won the elite women’s race at the Virgin Money London Marathon this morning, finishing in 2:18:20. Kosgei, who won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in her PR 2:18:35, broke away from the leading pack after the half with defending London champion Vivian Cheruiyot. Kosgei dropped Cheruiyot after mile 21 and ran uncontested to the victory. Cheruiyot finished 2nd in 2:20:14 and Roza Dereje, who won the Dubai Marathon in 2018, rounded out the podium in 2:20:51.
On a cool and gusty day, the top women loitered in a large pack for the first half, crossed in 1:11:38, then ran a huge negative-split, Kosgei turning in a second half of 1:06:42.
Emily Sisson was the first American finisher, placing 6th with a time of 2:23:08 in her debut at the marathon distance. Her time is the second fastest debut by an American, 8-seconds off Jordan Hasay’s 2:23:00 in the 2017 Boston Marathon. Molly Huddle placed 12th in 2:26:33, a PR by 11 seconds.
On the men’s side, defending champion Eliud Kipchoge did not disappoint, running away to victory in a course record 2:02:37. Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia finish second in 2:02:55. Mule Wasihun, also of Ethiopia, finished third in 2:03:16.
A pack of nine runners was still in contention when they passed halfway in 1:01:37, but soon after it whittled down until only the three eventual placers were together at 40K. At that point, just before mile 25, Kipchoge dropped the contenders decisively, and, while he looked over his shoulder a few times in the last mile, was never challenged again.
“It was a very tactical race as everyone was there,” Kipchoge said. “But I know how to win this race and I was confident and didn’t feel it was in doubt at any point.”
Kipchoge added to his legend by becoming the first man to win four London titles. His time is second only to his world record set in Berlin on a record-eligible course. In Berlin, Kipchoge joked, “Now I have run 2:00, 2:01, and 2:03; so next I need 2:02 to complete the set.” Today he filled in the missing piece.