Lemma secures first London Marathon victory while Jepkosgei takes women’s title on debut

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Photo credit: Alex Davidson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Davidson - Getty Images

Ethiopia's Sisay Lemma won the men's London Marathon on Sunday 3 October in 2:04:01 – his first ever win at a marathon major. In the women’s race, Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei took the title in a personal best time of 2:17:43, while Switzerland's Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär took the wheelchair titles in record times.

A 'dream come true' for Lemma

Lemma broke away from the field in the final miles of the race, to finish 27 seconds ahead of Kenya's Vincent Kipchuma, who placed second in the race last year. Ethopia’s Mosinet Geremew secured the final podium spot, finishing in 2:04:41.

Lemma has enjoyed success at many marathons before, including Warsaw, Vienna, Frankfurt and Ljubljana, but it is the 30-year-old's first ever win at a marathon major.

In 2020, Lemma came third at the London and Tokyo Marathons and in Berlin in 2019.

'Today was the biggest win of my career and a dream come true for me,' he told London Marathon Events. 'I came third last year here in London and to return 12 months later and to win this great race is an incredible and proud moment.'

Defending champion and race favourite Shura Kitata had a tough day at the office. Suffering from a hamstring problem, he struggled to keep up with the leading back but gallantly persevered to finish sixth in 2:07:51.

Britain’s Philip Seseman finished just one place behind Kitata to take the men’s domestic title on his marathon debut. The 29-year-old junior doctor and ‘occasional GB distance athlete’ finished in a sensational time of 02:12:58. Britain’s Joshua Griffith finished one place behind in eighth, with Matthew Leach finishing third Brit home.

Joyciline Jepkosgei seventh fastest woman in history

In the women’s race, Joyciline Jepkosgei's win saw her become the seventh fastest woman in history. The Kenyan made her marathon debut just two years ago at the New York City marathon, which she won in a time of a time of 2:22:38.

The 28-year-old was a pacemaker in London two years ago. 'Some years back I was pacing [in] London so it was better preparation,' Jepkosgei told Reuters after the race. 'And the day [winning the race] has finally come... I'm privileged to be in London.'

She finished 15 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw, with Kenya’s Ashete Bekere finishing third in 2:18:18.

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei – winner of last year’s London Marathon and world record holder – finished fourth.

Purdue third fastest Brit of all time

Charlotte Purdue took the British women’s title in a time of 02:23:26, knocking over two minutes off her PB.

The 30-year-old pushed hard in the closing stages of the race – running the final six miles of the marathon alone.

In the pre-marathon press conference, Purdue said she had Mara Yamauchi's marathon PB of 2:23:12 in her sights. She is now the third-fastest British woman ever, behind Paula Radcliffe and Yamauchi.

Switzerland dominate the elite wheelchair races

Switzerland's Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar took the men's and women's titles in elite wheelchair races – both setting course records.

Hug, who has won the London Marathon three times before, broke away from the USA’s Daniel Romanchuk – 2019 winner of the London Marathon – around the halfway mark to set a new course record of 1:26:27.

Romanchuk finished exactly three minutes behind to take second, with Britain’s David Weir finishing third.

In the women’s race Manuela Schär – who came second in the race last year – broke clear at around five miles to win by a more-than-comfortable five minutes. Her time of 1:39:52 is also a course record and she is now a three-time London Marathon winner.

'Coming second last year was a real motivation to come back and do better this year,' Schär she told London Marathon Events after the race. 'It felt great all the way. Being ahead gave me confidence and I love it in London.'

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