Wilson Kipsang sets course record to win London marathon

Home favourite Mo Farah never challenged before finishing eighth on his debut in the event

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya celebrates while crossing the finish line  in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya celebrates while crossing the finish line in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 13:33

Mo Farah’s first attempt at 26.2 miles ended in pain and disappointment as he finished the London marathon in eighth place and missed out on Steve Jones’s British record by more than a minute.

It was not much of a silver lining that Farah’s finishing time of two hours, eight minutes and 21 seconds was inside Charlie Spedding’s English record. He had been aiming to break Jones’s record of 2:08.13 and create ripples among the world’s elite marathoners.

Instead he finished a long way behind the winner Wilson Kipsang, the Kenyan world record holder, who sprinted away from his compatriot Stanley Biwott with a mile to go to win in a course record of 2:04.27.

Biwott was second in a personal best of 2:04.53, with the 2012 and 2013 champion, Tsegaye Kebede, third in 2:06.29.

Afterwards Farah admitted he wanted more. “It was pretty tough,” he said. “I was quite disappointed today. You try things, they don’t work but at least you give it a go. It was just the pace. It would have been nice to stick with the front group but you learn, life goes on.”

However, when he was asked whether he would attempt 26.2 miles again, Farah had no doubts. “Definitely, 100 per cent,” he said. “I’m not going to finish it like this. I will be back. It is a matter of experience and learning. I gave it a go but I just wish I had given a little bit more to the crowd but the field was tough. It was strong. It was the strongest London marathon field ever but London is my city. I had to do it.”

Few would dispute that Farah had entered the lion’s den. Seven athletes in the field had run under 2:05.00. What will frustrate him more is that he was never really in the race. While six elite athletes went with the pacemaker, Haile Gebrselassie, Farah held back.

The plan was to go through halfway in 62.15, about 30 seconds behind the leaders, but that soon went awry. After five kilometres he was 27 seconds back. After 10km the gap was 45 seconds. The hundreds of thousands who had lined the course cheered him on but he was already chasing records not victories.

Halfway was reached in 63.07. He was 38 seconds down, in 12th place, and, crucially, on his own without anyone to pace him.

And while the crowds inspired him, even Jones’s British record of 2:07.13 proved out of reach.

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