Mo Farah breaks British record with third-place London Marathon finish... despite two water station mix-ups

Sam Dean
Mo Farah lies on the floor at the finish with exhaustion - REUTERS

Mo Farah became the fastest marathon runner in British history as he produced a promising and gutsy performance to finish third in his second London Marathon.

A “knackered” Farah crossed the line in a time of 2:06:21, comfortably clear of Steve Jones’ 33-year-old British record of 2:07:13, despite two mix-ups with water bottles in which he said marathon staff were taking pictures rather than helping him find his drink.

The race was won by Eliud Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and the man considered by many to be the greatest marathon runner ever, in a time of 2:04:17.

After a stunning start, it had appeared for a while that Kipchoge may be in contention to break the marathon world record, but he was unable to maintain his speed over the final few miles in scorching conditions.

Farah, who finished in a disappointing 8th place on his London Marathon debut in 2014, delivered a much-improved performance on his return to the capital’s tarmac after three months of intensive training in Ethiopia.

Best London Marathon 2018 pictures: The runners, Royals and fancy dress

He had vowed to stick with the leaders, no matter the pace, and was true to his word as he remained with the leading pack for much of the race despite Kipchoge leading the contenders in a blistering start.

“They were going for world record pace,” Farah said. “So it was do or die. I went with it and hung on as much as I could. It was ridiculous.”

Mo Farah lies on the floor at the finish with exhaustion Credit: REUTERS

The 35 year-old is now fully focused on marathon running after retiring from a track career in which he won 10 world and Olympic titles, and this was an encouraging start to his full-time career over the longer distance.

The impressive time came despite Farah’s rhythm being disrupted by two mix-ups involving water bottles as he struggled to identify his drink on two separate occasions.

“The drinks stations were confusing,” he said. “The staff were helpful at the end but at the beginning they were trying to take a picture rather than giving me the drink.

“I was saying to the people on motorbikes to tell the staff to be a bit helpful instead of taking pictures. I wasn’t wasting energy, I just needed a drink. I had to get it right.”

Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win Credit: REUTERS

Paula Radcliffe, the wife of Farah’s new coach Gary Lough, said she had “never seen Farah look this tired before” as he crossed the finish line with a grimace on his face, before collapsing to the ground a few metres later.

Farah was pipped to second place by Tola Shura Kitata, who produced a personal best of 2:05:00, but the British racer will be enthused by a run in which he finished well clear of Kenenisa Bekele, the legendary Ethiopian who crossed the line in sixth.

Mary Keitany failed to challenge Paula Radcliffe’s 15-year-old world record as she faded out of contention before finishing in a disappointing fifth in the women’s race.

Radcliffe had said before the race that she believed her 2003 time of 2hr 15min 25secs was under real threat from the Kenyan, who had won the 2017 marathon in the second-fastest time in history.

Vivian Cheruiyot wins the women's race Credit: REUTERS

And Keitany, 36, looked set to produce a genuine challenge after blitzing clear in a remarkably quick start to the race.

But she was caught by the eventual winner, fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, after dramatically losing her rhythm with around 10 miles remaining.

Cheruiyot, 34, crossed the line in 2:18:31 after producing an astute performance a year after finishing fourth in her first London Marathon.

Britain's David Weir won the men's wheelchair race for the eighth time after a thrilling sprint finish.

The 38-year-old pipped Switzerland's Marcel Hug into second place, with Daniel Romanchuk of the USA third.

The leaders were well inside the course record time of one hour 28 minutes and 57 seconds during the first half of the race, in what were fine conditions for wheelchair racing.

But as the race wore on it became a tactical affair as the top three braced themselves for a late burst.

And just like last year, six-time Paralympic gold medalist Weir edged out two-time winner Hug to claim victory in a time of 1:31.15.

2:23PM

Which poor sod is going to tidy up afterwards?

Just look at all that mess...

2:21PM

WATER ALERT!

This just in from the organisers:

We are aware of reports that water stations at Miles 8-10 have run out of water. Lorries with our additional contingency supply are topping up other water stations on the route and mobile water stations are currently being despatched to provide runners with water.

2:18PM

We've all been here

2:16PM

This man has seen many marathons

2:09PM

Fresh as a daisy!

Introducing your men's champion:

1:48PM

Picture of the day?

Runners cross over Tower Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES

1:46PM

Men's official RATIFIED times

1:33PM

Bizarre time discrepancies causing confusion

London Marathon organisers are desperately trying to get to the bottom of a bizarre time discrepancy following today's race.

When men's winner Eliud Kipchoge crossed the line, the clock above the finish clearly read two hours, four minutes and 17 seconds.

However, when the ratified results were published shortly after, the Kenyan's time was recorded at two hours, four minutes and 27 seconds, adding 10 seconds to his time.

Eliud Kipchoge crossing the finish line Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Mo Farah's new British record was officially clocked at 2:06.32, which was 11 seconds slower than most observers read on the clock when he finished third.

There is occasionally a discrepancy between the starting gun and the chip at the finish, but that is normally a second or two, not 10 or 11.

Nearly an hour after the leaders had finished, race referees were investigating which of the official times, or the famous digital clock at the finish, is correct.

1:22PM

That feeling when you cross the finish line

1:03PM

When Harry met Farry

Despite being absolutely shattered at the finish, Mo is back up and enjoying some chit-chat with Prince Harry

Prince Harry talks to Mo Farah Credit: REUTERS

12:45PM

Rob Pope is great

Rob Pope has dressed as Forrest Gump and is now a Guinness World Record holder.

He's running 15.5k miles five times across America to raise money for charity. 

12:41PM

Pacemakers are the best makers

 Top, top, top gents.

12:30PM

Mo Farah: 'It was all good!'

I am knackered! The guys just went for it, for world record pace, it was do or die and I went with it as much as I could.

The drinks stations was quite confusing, I went to pick it up, the staff was really helpful towards the end but at 15k I figured it out.

It's so different to track, its incredible. It's a different pain, different training, I've enjoyed doing the training and taking part.

I was telling the staff don't take a picture of me - get my drink ready! I wasn't wasting energy I had to get that right.

We did talk about it, we did practise, I had to get the drink in me to get some energy.

It takes time, I really enjoyed it, gave 110 per cent. I've got a long way to learn about the marathon, I haven't seen my kids for three months, I'm excited to go see them and be a normal family. 

Why is the pain different?

Heavy legs, you're alright for one bit but as you go along you get tired, tired, tired.

If I could run 2:06 here in a major marathon, there's some good guys I beat today, so i'm pleased finishing third, it would've been nice to pace myself. but i went through 60 minutes, its ridiculous! 

I got great support from the crowd. I want to thank everyone who came out. It was all good.

12:22PM

Farah is knackered

Credit: AP

 

12:18PM

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson on David Weir's win

"This is the strongest race we've had! David played an incredibly smart race, played it right tactically, in terms of wheelchair racing, it's a bit weird him sitting next to me cos I've known him since he was a kid but hes one of the best wheelchair racers ever."

12:11PM

Great photo of Kipchoge

Credit: REUTERS

"The Queen started it, the King finished it!" is Radcliffe's line. I like it. 

12:07PM

Mo Farah breaks the British record!

Credit: BBC

He's finished in third place in 2:06:21 and looks exhausted. An absolutely awesome effort from Sir Mo!

"I've never seen him look this tired before!" says Radcliffe. He's coming in and won't be caught though.

12:05PM

 ELIUD KIPCHOGE WINS THE MEN'S RACE!

kipchoge

A masterclass of marathon running! I think he's done that in 2:04:15, which is incredible. Kenya places first, Kitata of Ethiopia finishes in under 2:05 as well.

And here comes Mo Farah!

12:03PM

They're so close!

Kipchoge looks like he has more to give! He's way out in front!

Credit: BBC

He has a quick look over his shoulder but there's nobody even close to him. He's a machine! 

12:01PM

Radcliffe on Farah

"You get to this point and you know you have a mile to go, you really appreciate that (the crowds). It's a very welcome sight. When a marathon runner gets to this point everyone expects to be tired but he's gritting his teeth and pushing his body as hard as he can."

11:59AM

Sam Dean on the women's race

Here's our man in the media room at the marathon, Sam Dean, on Keitany's failure to produce the race she'd hoped to.

11:56AM

Water fiasco

 

11:55AM

Kipchoge pulling away

He's gained about three/four metres on Kitata in second place. Is Kitata beginning to falter? Kipchoge is like a terminator robot, he doesn't look tired and just keeps on going. A grimace is starting to show on his face though...

And Farah is pushing himself. There's not as much bounce in the legs but he looks OK. He's still chasing the leaders.

11:49AM

Big cheers for Mo!

mo farah

 

11:47AM

Kipchoge still leading

Kitata is on his shoulder, using him as a pacemaker and making sure he's there for the last stage of the race. Farah still in third. 

11:44AM

Women's race finishing times

  1. VIVIAN CHERUIYOT (KEN) 02:18:31
  2. BRIGID KOSGEI (KEN) 02:20:13
  3. TADELECH BEKELE (ETH) 02:21:30
  4. GLADYS CHERONO (KEN) 02:24:10
  5. MARY KEITANY (KEN) 02:24:27

And for those interested in the progress of Great Britain's runners, Lily Partridge is about to finish her race and smash her personal best. That puts her in eighth place - she's the first British woman to finish today.

11:40AM

Farah watch

Credit: AFP

That's him on Tower Bridge from earlier and in real time, Farah has dropped way behind the leaders in the men's race though. Kipchoge is in control of this one, Farah in third.

11:38AM

She's not even out of breath

Credit: BBC

Congratulations! At 2:18.30 that puts her in the top 10 fastest times ever. A tremendous race. 

Keitany fell way behind in the end. She's coming to the finish line now, that early push must have taken it out of her.

11:33AM

VIVIAN CHERUIYOT WINS THE WOMEN'S RACE!

cheruioyt

 

11:32AM

600 metres to go for the women's race!

Cheruiyot leads the way! They're on the Mall, she looks good! Tired... but good.

11:28AM

Is Farah getting tired?

Credit: REUTERS

Those legs look a little weary. Farah is 0:07 off the leader and his face is that of a man pushing himself to stay in this race. And here comes another water station - can he navigate the precarious acquisition of a bottle this time?!

11:26AM

Radcliffe on Farah's race

"At this stage of the race he won't be panicking, he'll be feeling strong. He's well aware that ahead of him Kitata is running a risk. Just focus on the road in front of you, when you're tired it's one foot in front of the other. Nothing complicated, just get your body through it."

11:23AM

2.2 miles to go for the women

I raise my water to thee, the pacemakers. They are the real heroes. Also the athletes.

11:19AM

Mo watch

kipchoge

 Kipchoge has gone up another notch and has a couple of metres on Farah in third place now.

11:14AM

Mo Farah on the shoulder of the leader!

What a run. He's had two water bottle failures but here he is next to the leader Eliud Kipchoge!

11:12AM

Where did Dibaba go?

dibaba

She's absolutely knackered and slows to a walk. That's why she's no longer in second place.

Radcliffe says: "Last year when she stopped during a race it was just to be sick and then she got going again, but that looks like exhaustion."

And Cheruiyot has overtaken Keitany! She's absolutely launched herself into first place! Keitany falling further and further behind. 

11:06AM

Ethiopia and Kenya dominating the races

The top five in both men's and women's races are three from Ethiopia and seven from Kenya.

Mary Keitany is in a spot of bother though. "This is an athlete in trouble!" says the BBC guy. She's slowed down, looks like she may have pushed a little too hard too early and Vivian Cheruiyot is coming up behind. 

11:01AM

MO FARAH WATER DISASTER

He's dropped his water bottle this time! What do they even teach you at marathon school? He's got the wrong bottle again, throws it to the floor and then gets his bottle. And again he's got distance to make up on the leaders!

11:00AM

Katie Price is out running

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

In case you weren't sure, those are meant to be lungs.

10:59AM

Mo Farah right in the mix

"He's never run this quick before!" says the BBC commentary team as Mo Farah gets all the Union Jack flags he could possibly eat waved in his face over Tower Bridge.

10:57AM

Men's race so far

  1. ELIUD KIPCHOGE (KEN) 00:43:05
  2. TOLA SHURA KITATA (ETH) 00:43:05
  3. DANIEL WANJIRU (KEN) 00:43:05
  4. ABEL KIRUI (KEN) 00:43:05
  5. KENENISA BEKELE (ETH) 00:43:06

10:54AM

This cannot be enjoyable

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 I've managed to acquire some top secret footage from inside the rhino costume:

ace ventura

 

10:47AM

Mara Mara Mara Mara Mara Mara Marathon BATMAN!

batman and robin

 

10:46AM

Keitany struggling?

After a rocket start, Keitany does look to have slowed down.

Credit: BBC

 

10:43AM

Women's wheelchair results

  1. MADISON DE ROZARIO (AUS) 01:42:58
  2. TATYANA MCFADDEN (USA) 01:42:58
  3. SUSANNAH SCARONI (USA) 01:43:00
  4. MANUELA SCHAR (SUI) 01:43:01
  5. AMANDA MCGRORY (USA) 01:43:04

10:42AM

Men's wheelchair results

  1. DAVID WEIR (GBR) 01:31:15
  2. MARCEL HUG (SUI) 01:31:15
  3. DANIEL ROMANCHUK (USA) 01:31:16
  4. JOSHUA GEORGE (USA) 01:31:24
  5. KURT FEARNLEY (AUS) 01:31:24

10:39AM

Madison De Rozario wins!

The Australian wins her first ever London Marathon!

de rozario

"That's a huge, huge win for De Rozario! She's never been in a leading pack like this before," says Radcliffe.

10:37AM

Women's sprint finish!

Here they go! They're round the final corner! 

10:36AM

Mo Farah stressing about his water

Credit: REUTERS

"It's hard, it's frustrating, but you can't let it get you, and relax," is Radcliffe's advice to Mo Farah. He's somewhere behind this group of runners.

Meanwhile, Mary Keitany looks to be struggling a little as she drops slightly behind her pacemakers. 

10:34AM

Squid on the loose

Beware brave runners:

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

10:30AM

Mo Farah water fiasco

He's picked up the wrong bottle, gone to put it back (because you can't take someone else's) and has to look around for his water bottle. He's not happy about it.

It means he's not only lost ground on the leaders but he's also annoyed and is now carrying the wrong bottle.

In other news, the Mo Farah water fiasco would be a great name for a band.

10:29AM

Keitany update

 

10:28AM

DAVID WEIR WINS AGAIN! 

david weir wins

As soon as they go round the final corner the turbo boosters come out and metaphorical flames come out the back of Weir's wheelchair. He absolutely flies to the lead and takes the race... for the eighth time! 

10:25AM

It's a sprint finish in the men's wheelchair!

They're at the Mall, heading towards Buckingham Palace! 

10:24AM

What the course looks like

Credit: BBC

Marcel Hug is leading the men's wheelchair race, Susannah Scaroni leads the women's wheelchair race, the men's race isn't clear as there are a bunch of them on the same time but in the women's, Mary Keitany is pulling away and is still running inside a world record time.

10:22AM

Temperature Watch

With Mike Wright

[opening theme music with lots of synth beeps and leading to big crescendo - end on splash cymbal]

According to the Met Office, the mercury had already reached 18C in St James’ Park by 10am, meaning today is on course to be the hottest Marathon ever.

The previous record temperatures were in 1996 and 2007 when the race was run with highs of 22C.

However there is also a chance of rain potentially bringing respite to sweltering runners later this afternoon.

Mark Wilson, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “We are up to 18C at the moment and that will continue to rise. By the time we get to lunch it will be 21C to 22C, which is very warm, and it could go higher by 1pm to 2pm.

“We are expecting a 23C maximum, and that would make this the warmest Marathon on record, and there is a slight chance it could go up to 24C.

“The sunshine will turn a bit hazier by about 2pm to 3pm, with the risk of a few showers. When the cloud comes it could reduced the temperature slightly, but only to around 20C, so it will probably be hard work for the runners.”

10:18AM

The men's race is quick!

Men's race has gone off at a crazy pace and in the women's, Mary Keitani is at world record pace now.

Mo Farah is running his own race, not being pulled into the world record chasers further ahead. There's every chance they exhaust themselves early on and he's torn between staying in contact just behind them or drifting behind to go at the speed he wants to. 

"He'll be thinking 'I need to back off a little bit' but he needs to maintain eyesight with them," says Paula Radcliffe.

10:15AM

Men's wheelchair at Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

Looks like a scene out of a movie. This is meant to be the coolest - as in temperature, not in terms of being hip - part of the entire course, the buildings providing some shade from the sun.

10:11AM

Women's race at 15k

Mary Keitany has pulled ahead of Tirunesh Dibaba. She's up with the pacemakers a stretch in front of second place.

"Keitany is about 30 seconds down on what she went through 15km last year," says Paula Radcliffe. 

10:09AM

This guy

this guy

Loves it. 

10:07AM

If you're feeling inspired, here's a wee thing that'll help

10 things no one tells you before you run the London Marathon

 

10:03AM

Here come the rest of the runners!

marathon runners

They're all starting that run from Greenwich. All 50,000+ of them! 

10:00AM

AND THEY'RE OFF!

 

9:59AM

Here come the men

It's Sir Mo Farah! The biggest cheer of the morning so far goes to Mo as he prepares to smash the marathon.

Credit: BBC

 

9:55AM

Elite women's update

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia is in the lead. They've passed the 10km mark and her time for that was 31:46, which seems quick. The four runners behind her are all from Kenya!

1 TIRUNESH DIBABA (ETH) 00:31:46

2 MARY KEITANY (KEN) 00:31:47

3 BRIGID KOSGEI (KEN) 00:32:15

4 GLADYS CHERONO (KEN) 00:32:15

5 VIVIAN CHERUIYOT (KEN) 00:32:53

9:53AM

Bryony Gordon and Jada Sezer are on site!

Bryony Gordon and Jada Sezer Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

9:52AM

This is brilliant

What it's like to run the London Marathon - carrying a fridge

I thoroughly recommend you give it a wee read. I have a fridge story. Until recently I lived in a Hackney flatshare with one small fridge between four people. It was not nice. I am in my 30s. Anyway, my next door neighbours put their ancient very tall fridge out on the street and I thought, 'this is it. This is my chance' and I said I'd take it off their hands.

Unfortunately I was on my own at the time and had to negotiate this monstrosity, which stood a good foot taller than me, down a narrow flight of stairs and into an even narrower corridor. All of this done in full view of a massive block of flats in the sun.

After incredible, near-super-human effort, I managed. Success! 

The fridge was broken.

And so, here I was, on my own, in front of a watching block of flats, trying to heave a gigantic broken fridge up a narrow flight of stone steps in the sun. A low point in my adult life.

But the thought of carrying one on my back for an entire marathon is insane. Props to you, my friend.

9:44AM

The celebs getting ready

Sophie Raworth and Jenni Falconer Credit: GETTY IMAGES

I'm told that Joel Dommett is a comedian but being one of those pretentious types without a TV, I can't say I've ever heard of him. I'm sure he's nice.

Joel Dommett Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

9:41AM

The marathon safety instructions

These are the official (friendly) warnings for today's runners.

"It's very hot for this time of day. We're telling them to slow down, hydrate themselves and drain douse (pour water over your head and down your back), then in the spirit of London, pass it back to other runners to do the same.

"If you have fancy dress don't wear it or discard it along the route!"

9:37AM

Forrest Gump is running

Credit: BBC

"I last shaved on September the 14th 2016," says this lovely chap, who is running to raise money for an animal charity (sorry - I didn't write which one down in time!). The lady next to him says her mental health has improved dramatically since she started running all the time - it's true, it really does help.

Our own mental health running champion, Bryony Gordon, attests to it.

Bryony Gordon on why she's running the marathon for her mum (in her undies)

 

9:27AM

The pacemakers

The advantage of a pacemaker is that apparently they help you avoid running too fast from the start. Paula Radcliffe says the first mile is basically a freebie and you're allowed to go as fast as you want. Mary Keitany is absolutely going for it.

mary keitany

I wonder what happens if a pacemaker goes rogue and decides to destroy the marathon world record, finds that extra pace somewhere inside and nips on.  

9:20AM

Men's wheelchair race

men's wheelchair

These top gents are currently around Cutty Sark. A group of about nine have pulled away from the chasing pack, with Marcel Hug (SUI) in the lead. 

9:15AM

Elite women's race

AND THEY'RE OFF! GO GO GO! 

pace makers

There are a bunch of men running alongside the Elite Women wearing black and white striped vests. Apparently these are 'pacemakers', who are there to assist the runners to try and run at the fastest speed they can. They want a world record, basically. 

9:14AM

Kathrine Switzer is a bit of a hero

In 1967 she became the first woman to enter and complete the Boston Marathon, and wearing the same number she wore then, Kathrine Switzer is going to run the London Marathon. She's 71. I get bored (tired) after 2km, that is exceptional.

Credit: BBC

She was attacked halfway through the Boston Marathon as well by some mad sexist lunatic:

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

"My boyfriend decked the official, I ran on to finish. It changed millions of womens' lives!"

8:44AM

Which celebrities are running?

There's the usual bunch of 'some you've heard of and most you haven't'.

Chris Newton became the quickest celebrity ever to run the marathon in 2014 when the world champion cyclist swapped out the bike for his own legs, setting an impressive time of 2:45:10.

The year after he beat his own record and set a time of 2:39:27 which all celebrities will be looking to beat in years to come.

Sticking with the celebs this year you probably know...

  • Chris Evans (DJ)
  • Katie Price (TV personality)
  • Gordon Ramsey (Chef)
  • Scott Mills (DJ)
  • Joel Dommett (Comedian)
  • Sophie Raworth (News presenter)
  • George Lamb (TV presenter)
  • Stephen Mangan (Actor)
  • Rochelle Humes (Singer with the Saturdays)
  • Jonathan Pearce (Football commentator)
  • Contestants from the Great British Bake Off

8:23AM

Weather watch

If anybody knows if conditions are any good out there, it's this lady:

8:00AM

It's marathon day - is the mercury rising?

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of today's 2018 London Marathon.

First things first, the BIG question is: 'What's the weather like out there after the heatwave we've had?'

Well, warnings have been issued to runners taking part in the London Marathon due to the rising temperatures.

Today's race is expected to be the warmest on record with 23 degrees Celsius forecast, beating the previous high of 22.2 in 2007, although the mild dampness in the air and the possibility of light rain should help the runners.

Nevertheless, extra water, ice and showers are available to runners, while event organisers are urging all participants to prepare for the conditions accordingly.

Today's weather forecast Credit: BBC

Runners in fancy dress have been warned they may have to ditch their costumes in favour of traditional vest and shorts in order to get round the 26.2 mile course safely.

The mercury rising should not hinder the elite athletes, however.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the winner in 2015 and 2016, said: "Everyone's worried about the weather but you are going to see a beautiful race on Sunday. When I train in Kenya the temperature is around 20 degrees."

Britain's Lily Partridge, of Aldershot, has been training near Alicante in Spain.

She added: "My last couple of long runs have been in temperatures of 26 or 27 degrees so I'm not worried."