Despite the rain, London delivered some fantastic and also truly remarkable results. Plenty of other races have taken place this weekend too. James Rhodes brings you the best of the action.
Back in its usual April date for the first time in four years, the superb fields assembled delivered some truly incredible results. The headlines rightly will go to Kelvin Kiptum and Sifan Hassan, who won the respective elite races in incredible style.
Kiptum delivered an incredible second half split of 59:47 (yes, you read that correctly) to finish in 2:01:27. That is the second fastest time in history, and betters his debut from Valencia last December (2:01:53). He becomes the second person behind Eliud Kipchoge to record two sub-2:02 performances.
Hassan, on the other hand, appeared to struggle considerably throughout. She stopped a couple of times to stretch, ran backwards to get her drinks bottle at one stage, and was a good number of metres off the leaders at 35k. However, her track-based closing speed showed as she rallied to catch and overhaul the leaders. Her time of 2:18:33 is a Dutch Record.
The late withdrawal of Eilish McColgan may be seen as a defining feature of the evening, a what could have been. However, that is the incorrect way to look at it. It allowed the spotlight to rightly be shone on Samantha Harrison, who’s performances have so often gone under the radar behind those of Eilish. Her 67:17 half marathon PB in Berlin last month suggested a good time was on the cards. It was.
Paced by Jess Judd and Calli Thackery and running alongside South African Dominique Scott, she passed through halfway in 1:12:00. The latter miles were completed solo, finishing in 2:25:59. That puts her sixth on the British all-time list and is a qualifying mark for both the World Championships and Olympic Games.
Sadly, Alice Wright did not finish after passing through the 25k point. It meant the next fastest British athletes came from the mass start / championships fields in the form of Rachel Hodgkinson (2:34:46) and Helen Gaunt (2:35:38). Both set lifetime bests, Rachel impressively having raced at the Tokyo Marathon just a few weeks ago.
In the days prior to the marathon, focus had been on a debut and a finale. Both made it to the British podium. The debutant was Emile Cairess. The promise he had shown over the past twelve months carried over to 26.2 miles with a fantastic 2:08:07. That puts him third on the British all-time list behind Mo Farah and Steve Jones.
It was also an Olympic qualifying standard, a race he had said he was targeting. That time is also well inside the World Championships qualifying time, but Emile has confirmed he wishes to focus on the 10000m over the summer.
It was a particularly strong British men’s field, with seventeen men making it to the start line. There were a fair few changes over the course of the race, including in the closing metres. Phil Sesemann overtook Mo Farah as the finish line approached, with the pair recording 2:10:23 and 2:10:28 respectively.
That is a near two minute PB for Sesemann, with Mo – in his final marathon – setting a British Masters Record. With Chris Thompson finishing tenth in 2:11:50, it is the first time four British men have finished in the top-ten of a London Marathon. Particularly impressive given the depth of the starting field.
Not Just London
It rightfully takes a large percentage of this weekend’s round up, but London was not playing host to the only race of the past two days.
In fact, it was not even the only marathon, some ventured to the seaside for the Blackpool Marathon. Forming part of the Blackpool Festival of Running, it provided Egidija Pope (3:21:04) and Callum Queen (2:42:48) with victories. Also this weekend Simon Fawcett (2:46:13) and Jenny Laing (3:19:49) took the honours at the Tissington Marathon.
There were wins also for Lianne Leakey (1:43:07) and David Starley (1:36:16) at the Rathfinny Half Marathon and Aron Stoker (1:14:45) and Michelle Thomson (1:32:32) at the Blackpool Half Marathon.
Shortening the Distance
It might be fair to say the overall times at some of the other competitions this weekend were reduced compared to other weeks. No surprise, with marathon season in full swing. One of the fastest times over 10k of the weekend was at the Corsham 10k, thanks to Marshall Smith’s 31:36. Annabelle Wallace (39:02) was the fastest female. Jamie Crowe (31:53) and Nicola Macdonald (38:38) also ran well to cross the line first at the Run Balmoral 10k.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Casper Jakobsen (33:51) and Noemi Abonita (38:55) at RunThrough’s Chase the Sun Hyde Park 10k. The associated 5k went to Jen Dyer (21:15) and Ollie Garrod (15:39), the latter ran the London Marathon just five days later!
Sarah Baker (44:33) and Benjamin Bayly (33:33) won the Hoohah Thetford Trail 10k, whilst Kamil Kujawski (36:04) and Carmel Sullivan (45:41) were victorious at the Blackpool Festival of Running 10k.
The The Maer 10k wins were taken by Joshua Sale (38:09) and Ruth Pearce (44:28). Katy Yardley (1:41:18) and Simon Minting (1:26:01) won the associated half marathon. Finally, the Run for Wildlife Spring 10k went to Stuart Spencer (33:33) and Venika Moverley (38:58), with Jessica Beake (53:48) and Simon Palmer (41:22) taking the Rathfinny 10k.
Three more 10ks this weekend were the Mallory Park 10k, where Simon Allen (34:25) and Victoria Cavill (58:37) were first to finish, plus the Lady Garden 10k which went to Ellis Pullen (46:44) and Aaron Weston (46:44). The excellently named Angus Ham 10k was won by Gavin Yule (42:38) and Eleanor Heather (50:00).
Fast on Friday
A pre-curser to the London Marathon, if you like, was the Friday Night Under the Lights in Battersea Park. Lucy Reid took a second win in as many months at the venue, with 15:53. Hannah Irwin continued her return to fitness in second (16:03) with Holly Dixon (16:18) third. Shaun Antell (14:25) and Jed Noblett (14:25) recorded the same time as fastest male, followed by Luke McCarron (14:27).
It was not the only 5k of recent days. There were victories for Sophie Harris (16:20) and Alex Brown (14:28) at the fast Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k, whilst Jared Dobson (18:01) and Sarah Hall (19:49) took the honours at the Howletts 5k. Joe Ormrod (17:02) and Alice Carr (21:00) were quickest at the Clowbridge 5k. The Saltram Summer 5k Series on Wednesday was won by Nikki Kelly (18:20) and Matthew Gilvear (17:22).