London: Kenyans Mutai and Keitany record fourth fastest marathon times

2011-04-18 00:00

KENYANS dominated the podiums in the Virgin London Marathon with a course record for the men’s winner, Emmanuel Mutai, who, like women’s winner Mary Keitany, became the fourth fastest marathoner in the world.

Things were not as good for South African Tanith Maxwell, who recorded one of her poorest races of recent years, finishing in two hours, 39 minutes — 10 minutes off her race target.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Maxwell, “I don’t know what went wrong. It was one of those races where I was hanging in from the 10 km mark.”

Although posting some of her best times in the build-up to London, the Kloof-based runner commenced the final 10 days with an eight-kilometere time-trial race followed by the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships 5000 m where she slowed up dramatically over the second half, eventually being incorrectly recorded as a “DNS” by officials.

This, combined with a day’s travel delay that resulted in her arriving in London only three nights before the race, may have impacted on her performance.

“We are now left in a quandary,” said Boxer club manager Rhyn Swannepoel. “Her Berlin time last year [2:32:33] gave her a qualifier for the Olympics, but today she missed the A grade time of 2:38, which was released this week.

“We will need to see what Sascoc and ASA have to say. Although Tanith could be selected for the World Championships [in South Korea in August], the conditions there are unlikely to make for fast times. She has an invite back to Berlin where times will be faster.”

Maxwell went off at 3:32 per kilometre, hitting the first 10 km mark in 35:28, but her paces slowed with each five-kilometre split until she crossed the line in 2hr:39min:7sec.

Half-marathon world record holder Keitany had opened a 27 seconds lead at the 28-kilometre mark and never looked back, storming through the line in 2:19:17, the second fastest time on the course behind Paula Radcliffe’s.

“I’m happy because I won the race … I decided to run alone at my own pace. I think I surprised myself and I’m happy to be the fourth fastest woman,” said the Kenyan who is now a real contender for next year’s Olympics.

Defending champion Liliya Shubukhova was an early leader when the field went through 10 km in 32:54 on 2:18 pace. Keitany’s more conservative start resulted in negative splits and at the end she completely outran the Russian, who gamely held on for second place, with Edna Kiplagat completing the podium.

In the men’s race Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede and Patrick Makau led through 15 km in 44:26 in near perfect conditions.

Three-time winner Martin Lel, who last raced in the Beijing Marathon and has struggled with injury since, moved up to the plate in the final third, but was unable to control Mutai who broke away with five kilometres remaining.

With renewed vigour Mutai literally galloped down the mall to finish in 2:04:38, erasing the course record by Sammy Wanjiru of 2:05:10 and only 39 seconds of Haile Gebrselassie’s world record. This was a 1min 37sec improvement on his personal best.

In the final kilometres, Lel and Makau diced for the lead with Lel getting the advantage at the line for second.

Said Mutai at the finish, “My dreams have come true. I wanted to win one of the big five majors. My aim was to win the race, I was not focusing on the time.”


Men’s: 1 Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:04:40, 2 Martin Lel KEN 2:05:45, 3 Patrick Makau KEN 2:05:45, 4 Gomes Dos Santos BRA 2:06:34, 5 Tsegaye Kebede ETH 2:07:48

Women’s: 1 Mary Keitany KEN 2:19:17, 2 Lillya Shobukhova RUS 2:20:15, 3 Edna Kilpagat KEN 2:20:46 4 Bezunesh Bekele ETH 2:23:42 5 Atsede Baysa ETH 2:23:50, 29th Tanith Maxwell RSA 2:39:07

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