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Eliud Kipchoge, 36 of Kenya, won the 2021 Olympic Marathon in dramatic style, finishing in a time of 2:08:38 under hot and humid conditions. Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands was second in 2:09:58, a minute and 20 seconds behind. Bashir Abdi of Belgium took bronze in 2:10:00.
Kipchoge was in control the entire race, biding his time with a pack of upwards of 30 runners that passed halfway in 1:05:15. The pack whittled to 10 by 30K as runners succumbed to the steamy conditions, some falling away dramatically with cramps, including 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich.
After a brief tangle with Galen Rupp right at about 30K, Kipchoge acted like he wanted some space and moved away effortlessly, putting in a 14:28 5k and gapping the field. He never looked back.
Kipchoge repeats as the Olympic Gold medalist, only the third runner in history to do so, after Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960 and 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 and 1980). He also has a silver medal from Beijing and a bronze from Athens, both in the 5,000m.
His marathon legacy also includes four London Marathon victories, three Berlin Marathon victories and one Chicago Marathon victory, the world record of 2:01:39, and the first human to run a sub-2 hour marathon (in a non-record eligible solo exhibition).
We thought his reign might have ended when he finished 8th in the October COVID-19 London Marathon last fall, but today clearly demonstrated that he stands without peer.
Team USA runners Galen Rupp ended up 8th in 2:11:41, Jake Riley 29th in 2:16:26, and 44-year-old Abid Abdirahman 41st in 2:18:27.