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Kitata kicks on to win as Kipchoge is left trailing

 

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Jeliud Kipchoge's reign as the king of the London Marathon came to a shock end as Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion. (stock photo)

Jeliud Kipchoge's reign as the king of the London Marathon came to a shock end as Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion. (stock photo)

PA Archive/PA Images

Jeliud Kipchoge's reign as the king of the London Marathon came to a shock end as Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion. (stock photo)

Jeliud Kipchoge's reign as the king of the London Marathon came to a shock end as Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion.

In a stunning upset Kipchoge, who had won all of his previous four London Marathons and had not lost over the distance in seven years, dropped alarmingly off the pace around the 22-mile mark.

Kipchoge, the 35-year-old world record holder, had no answer as a seven-strong lead group edged away from him, and he ended up finishing down in eighth.

Sir Mo Farah, who was part of the race as a pacemaker, admitted he was astounded by Kipchoge's defeat.

"It was a shock for all of us. We had expected him to win by miles, considering what times he has run, but that happens, it's sport," said Farah.

"It was a good field. It's part of racing, it's part of sport, it happens."

Instead the title was up for grabs and it was Ethiopian Kitata who snatched it in two hours, five minutes and 41 seconds, pipping Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba on the line after a thrilling sprint finish.A faster race was predicted due to the nature of the course - 19.7 laps of St James's Park rather than the traditional street route - but the incessant rain and autumnal temperatures put paid to that.

With Kipchoge's great rival Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest marathon runner in history, missing through injury the stage looked set for a fifth victory for the Kenyan superstar, but despite the slow pace he came up short and Kitata took full advantage, as Kipchoge was beaten for the first time since he came second in Berlin in 2013.

This year's competitors pounded just four streets of London rather than the traditional route from Blackheath to Buckingham Palace, with no crowds and no fun runners due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The home straight remained the same, down The Mall, and it staged a nailbiter as Kitata got the better of Kipchumba by a second.

Kitata revealed he had taken the advice of Bekele, who was runner-up last year.

He said: "I prepared very well for this race, kept my concentration. Kenenisa trained me and advised how I should run this race. I trained for the same course. I am very happy to win the race."

In the women's race Brigid Kosgei defended her title, the 26-year-old world record holder comfortably winning her duel with fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich.

Belfast Telegraph