Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

London Marathon 2014: Crowd favourite Mo Farah finishes in eighth place for course debut

Mo Farah of Great Britain starts the Virgin London Marathon
Mo Farah of Great Britain starts the Virgin London Marathon
Runners approach Waterloo Bridge during the Virgin Money London Marathon, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 13, 2014. See PA Story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
Runners approach Waterloo Bridge during the Virgin Money London Marathon, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 13, 2014. See PA Story ATHLETICS London. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 13:  Mo Farah of Great Britain prepares to start the Virgin London Marathon on April 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 13: Mo Farah of Great Britain prepares to start the Virgin London Marathon on April 13, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Temperatures in the late-teens made for a balmy 34th London Marathon - as crowd favourite Mo Farah came home in eighth place for his course debut.

Unbroken sunshine and barely a breath of wind meant the 11C recorded at the start of the race in Greenwich at 10am felt considerably warmer, as racers began the arduous 26.2 mile course through the capital.

A huge cheer was reserved for Olympic hero Farah as announcers called out his name to the throngs of spectators as being among the ones to watch for.

But despite being installed among the bookies' favourites for the race, the 31-year-old failed to break into the podium positions,

Kenyan world record holder Wilson Kipsang took the Virgin Money London Marathon title in an unofficial time of 2hrs 04mins and 29secs, a course record, with Farah coming home almost four minutes back.

The Briton's time of 2hrs 08mins 21secs was outside Steve Jones' 29-year-old British record of 2:07:13 and could persuade him that his future remains on the track rather than the road.

Champion runner Haile Gebrselassie had been recruited as pace-setter in an effort to encourage a record time - but forecasters said the heat may have had an influence on the race.

Paul Mott, forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "After a cool start temperatures have been rising sharply.

"It is likely to be about 16C or 17C by 2pm, so I think the runners will be feeling the heat.

"The ideal running temperatures would be a little cooler, so they will need to take on water.

"However, the weather will make it great for spectators."

Along every inch of the course, the several-deep crowd cheered raucously as friends, colleagues and even strangers - with their names emblazoned across their vests - pounded the road.

Celebrities taking part included former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, and Michelin-star chef Michel Roux Jr.

Labour politicians Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan also posed for "selfies" in their running vests in the moments before the race began.

And there was the customary collection of those undertaking the marathon in fancy dress - with plenty of comic book characters, runners in furry animal costumes and others in drag.

Another carried a fridge on his back.

Race starters Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, who won the women's double sculls gold at the London 2012 Games, were two of 13 London Olympics gold medallists taking on the famous course, which ends at The Mall.

Kenya's Stanley Biwott was second in the men's race, with Ethiopian defending champion Tsegaye Kebede third.

Kenyan Edna Kiplagat won the women's elite race in 2:20:21.

 

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