Race Recap: The London Marathon 2018
On Sunday, April 22, 40,255 runners crossed the finish line at the Virgin Money London Marathon for a photo-finish just in front of the Buckingham Palace. The London Marathon is one of the 6 top international marathons and holds the Guinness world record for being the largest annual fundraising event in the world. The world record for the fastest woman marathon time was also set at this race in 2003 by Paula Radcliffe with a time of 2:15:25. This year, it was the hottest London Marathon on record at 23 degrees C (75F). Not an ideal condition for setting records, but the records continued.
The lead men’s pack at the halfway point was running at a world record pace. Mo Farah, from Great Britain, finished third with a time of 2:06:21, breaking the British record by nearly a full minute. The previous fastest British time, 2:07:13, was held by Steve Jones for 33 years. Farah, 35 years old, is an Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. This was his second full marathon. He reported that at the aid stations, volunteers were trying to take photos of him rather than help him find his drink bottle. Despite that, he stayed with the lead pack to cross the finish line 2 minutes after the first two finishers.
Eliud Kipchoge won the London Marathon with a time of 2:04:17. The 33-year-old Kenyan won the London Marathon in 2015 and 2016 as well and holds the course record (2:03:05). Kipchoge only took a break from the London Marathon in 2017 to focus on running a sub-2 hour marathon in Italy (he ran a 2:00:25). Tola Shura Kitata from Ethiopia finished 32 seconds behind Kipchoge, given him a run for his money.
Another Kenyan took the top spot in the women’s race. Vivian Cheruiyot finished first with a time of 2:18:31. Mary Keitany of Kenya, was last year’s winner and the favorite to win this year. But she started off too strong and faded later in the race to finish painfully in fifth. Cheruiyot, a 5,000 and 10,000 meter Olympic medalist, was able to beat the heat and second place compatriot, Brigid Kosgei. Kosgei finished almost two minutes after Cheruiyot with a time of 2:20:13. Tadelech Bekele finished third at 2:21:40. Even though Cheruiyot was faster than Radcliffe’s pace at 13.1 miles, the heat left her record untouched this year. Lily Partridge was the fastest British female in 8th and Stephanie Bruce was the only American to make it into the top ten, placing 10th in the women’s race.
In addition to the prize money for the top 10 finishers, there is a $100,000 prize divided by any male runner that runs under 2:05:00 and any female runner that runs under 2:17:00. This year, Kipchoge had to share that prize with second place Kitata but none of the women were able to unlock the additional prize.
Here’s a look at the top 3 finishers for men and women at the London Marathon:
- Kipchoge, Eliud (Kenya) 2:04:17
- Kitata, Tola Shura (Ethiopia) 2:04:49
- Farah, Mo (Great Britain) 2:06:21
- Cheruiyot, Vivian (Kenya) 2:18:31
- Kosgei, Brigid (Kenya) 2:20:13
- Bekele, Tadelech (Ethiopia) 2:21:40
The prize money for the wheelchair race increased this year for a total of a $142,700 prize purse for the top finishers. Good news for eight-time champion David Weir of Great Britain. He came in first again this year, beating second-place Marcel Hug of Switzerland in a sprint finish. Australian Madison de Rozario won the women’s wheelchair race, beating American Tatyana McFadden.
This year 34 new Guinness World records were set. The fastest one was set by Rob Hope who ran a 2:26 marathon dressed as Forrest Gump. Spirits were high as large sums of money were raised for charity by every participant and members of the royal family attended the race to show support. However, amidst the fun and spirited costumes, there was tragedy. Matt Campbell a promising chef who was a semifinalist on MasterChef passed away during the marathon at the 22-mile mark. The exact cause of death is unknown.