Kipchoge Dominates The 2019 London Marathon!
- Eliud Kipchoge won his 10th consecutive marathon on Sunday at the 2019 London Marathon.
- His time of 2:02:37 is the second-fastest marathon time ever run on a record-eligible course, and it’s his fourth London Marathon title.
- Britain’s Mo Farah held on for a fifth-place finish.
For the first time all day, Eliud Kipchoge was lost.
Minutes earlier, the Kenyan had become the first man ever to win the London Marathon four times. His time of 2:02:37 ranks behind only his world record of 2:01:39 that he ran last fall in Berlin – but one particular question left him stumped.
“Was there ever a doubt in your mind that you were going to win today?” Runner’s World asked.
“Sorry?” Kipchoge said, appearing confused.
So we asked again.
“What?” he said, this time with a wry smile. By then it was clear what Kipchoge, his rivals, and just about everyone else knew all along: This was only ever going to go one way.
During six years of sheer dominance at the marathon, the 34-year-old has had bigger winning margins than today – he had 18 seconds to spare over runner-up Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia – but never has he seemed so utterly peerless.
While running in a controlled, composed rhythm, Kipchoge can move at a pace that makes the world’s best marathoners seem ordinary, straining and struggling to stay in his slipstream.
The result alone says little about the depth of his dominance, for this was a two-hour lesson by the event’s true master.
From the beginning – on a cool, breezy morning in London – his rivals deferred to his greatness. They ran in his shadow, unwilling to race shoulder-to-shoulder with Kipchoge for fear it might provoke a reaction.
The early pace was swift, but controlled. Kipchoge was at the front of a lead group of nine who followed the pacemakers through 10K in 29:01. They hit halfway in 1:01:37, and as the final pacemaker began to falter, Kipchoge seized command.
When he took the lead, he turned to his rivals and waved his hand, ushering them to come along for the ride. In strong winds, it was a day he was happy to have company.
“That’s one way to stay together,” he said. “To encourage each other.”
And when you race Kipchoge, that’s your best hope – to hang on as long as possible, a period of time that is decided only by him. He chooses the right moment to pick you off.
After halfway, Kipchoge cranked through the gears at the front, putting his rivals into deep distress.
Few could handle it.
Not Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic gold medalist on the track and the reigning Chicago Marathon champion; not Wilson Kipsang, the former world record holder; not Tamirat Tola, the Olympic marathon bronze medallist.
One by one, they were being burnt alive by his searing pace, Kipchoge passing 30K in 1:27:04 with just three athletes for company: Ethiopians Geremew, Mule Wasihun, and Shura Kitata.
Was he then getting worried?
“Very worried,” he said. “You never know what will happen when everyone is at your back.”
Kipchoge kept a steady tempo of just outside 2:53 per kilometre through kilometres 32 to 38, enough to drop Kitata and Wasihun, but Geremew was hanging tough.
When he reached London’s Embankment, the Kenyan knew he had to turn the screw like never before.
And he did.
The official race splits clocked Kipchoge’s 40th kilometre at 2:47, but renowned race measurer Sean Hartnett noted that, because of an error in where the marker was placed, that split was incorrect – it was actually a 2:45.
Kipchoge followed it with a 2:47 kilometre and by then the damage was done.
He coasted past Buckingham Palace in splendid isolation and rounded the final turn to The Mall, where the crowds roared to welcome distance-running royalty. With 10 marathon victories in a row, the world record, and today adding a new course record for London to his list of accomplishments, there is little doubt Kipchoge is the undisputed king of the marathon.
Kipchoge spread his arms wide as he hit the finish in 2:02:37, then he clapped his hands, covered his face and started to soak in his achievement.
By winning London for the fourth time, he did something no man has ever done. But that is the story of his career – re-positioning the boundaries of human potential.
“No man is limited,” he said after. Especially not him. So how does he do it?
“It’s the love of sport and working hard,” he said. “That’s the only thing that is sacred in this world. Training smarter, loving the sport – following, respecting and believing in [my] coach and myself.”
“It’s the love of sport and working hard. That’s the only thing that is sacred in this world. ”
In Kipchoge’s wake arrived a new star in Mosinet Geremew, who clocked an Ethiopian record of 2:02:55 to move to second on the all-time list.
“I’m very happy with what I achieved,” he said. Mule Wasihun was third in 2:03:16, while for Britain’s Mo Farah, today was a chastening experience. The former track star finished fifth in 2:05:39.
“I gave it my all,” Farah said. “Eliud is a great athlete.”
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What is next for Kipchoge? He had barely reflected on today’s race before he was asked about the future.
“In Africa we [have a saying]: don’t chase two rabbits at once,” he said. “My rabbit was the London Marathon, and now I need to go back, sit with my coach, and see what I will do next.”
He can’t keep this up forever – we know that.
In time, Kipchoge will be robbed of this air of invincibility, that unique ability he has to make the most magnificent achievements seem almost mundane. It’s marathon running as we’ve never seen it before. An athlete without parallel.
A humble hero from the highlands of Kenya who has not only conquered the world, but done it with grace, humility, and a kind of class that is all too rare at the highest levels of sports.
Enjoy it while it lasts, for his is a legacy that will echo in eternity.
This article originally appeared on runnersworld.com.