It may have been the hottest London marathon in history with un-seasonally warm temperatures and the sun beating down on the thousands of runners as they made their way through the streets of London, but conditions did not stop Sir Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles, Coach: Gary Lough) setting a new British record as he crossed the line to finish in third place, taking the men's English and British Champion titles at the same time. Lily Partridge (Aldershot, Farnham & District, Coach: Coach: Alan Storey) who was first woman home to take the women's British and English Champion titles.
Thirty-two years ago, Welshman Steve Jones ran 2:07:13 to win the 1985 Chicago marathon. On Sunday, Farah improved that long-standing record by some 52 seconds to clock 2:06:21. The record is unlikely to last for another 32 years as one imagines the biggest threat will be Farah himself, as he hones his marathon racing skills over the next couple of years.
On the domestic front it was Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Steve Vernon) who took the runner up spot some 11 minutes behind Farah to run 2:17:55, whilst Kent AC’s John Gilbert finished third in 2:19:40/2:20:19.
In the women’s race Lily Partridge (Aldershot Farnham & District) was first woman home to take the British and English Championship titles. Like Farah, hers was also a personal best performance going sub 2:30 the first time to clock 2:29:24 in only her second marathon and taking two and half minutes off her previous best.
Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: Nick Anderson) demonstrated what a consistent marathon performer she is with another 2:32:28 to take second in the English Championships with Rebecca Murray (Bedford and County / Brunel Uni, Coach: Alex Stanton) making her debut at the distance to finish in 2:39:37 to take bronze.
The overall winner of the race was the brilliant Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) who looked focussed and in control of the race from start to finish, with only a hint of discomfort in the final couple of miles, clocking an impressive 2:04:17. The relative unknown Tola Kitata (Ethiopia) looked a possible contender for a short spell, but as Kipchoge started to force the pace a little in the final stages he was quickly dropped.
In the women’s race the talk of Paula Radcliffe’s world record was much hyped and Mary Keitany (Kenya) certainly set off at a pace that suggested she meant business. However, the brutality of the pace she’d set herself came back to bit her with the highly experienced Vivien Cheruiyot (Kenya) running s steadier race that saw her ease past Keitany at around the 21-mile mark and going on to finish in respectable 2:18:31, the fourth fastest marathon of all time by a woman.
1. Mo Farah (Club: Newnham & Essex Beagles, Coach: Gary Lough)
2. Jonny Mellor (Club: Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Steve Vernon)
3. John Gilbert (Club: Kent AC)
1. Lily Partridge (Club: Aldershot Farnham & District, Coach: Alan Storey)
2. Tracy Barlow (Club: Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: Nick Anderson)
3. Rebecca Murray (Club: Bedford & County AC, Coach: Alex Stanton)
Team results will be confirmed in due course.
Photo by Mark Shearman