Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata won the 2020 men’s London Marathon on Sunday in a sprint finish pipping Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba in a race that delivered a shocking result.
Kitata crossed the line in a time of two hours five minutes 41 seconds just ahead of Kipchumba who came in at two hours five minutes 42 seconds. Another Ethiopian, Sisay Lemma, came in third in a time of two hours five minutes 45 seconds.
Marathon world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge finished a distant eighth, more than a minute down. It was the first time he had failed to win a marathon since 2013.
While Kipchoge’s fans were disappointed with the result, the Olympic champion was gracious in defeat as he also explained what went wrong during the race.
“After 25 kilometers my ear blocked and it couldn’t open anymore. But this is how sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time,” he tweeted.
The marathon had been anticipated to be a battle between Kipchoge, who was aiming for a fifth title, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest man in marathon. However, Bekele withdrew from the race on Friday with a calf injury.
This year’s event featured a unique route – a looped 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometres) course around St James’s Park within a biosecure bubble without any spectators – and only elite runners due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic also saw the event postponed from its original date in April.
Earlier on Sunday, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya retained her title in the women’s event winning in a time of two hours 18 minutes and 58 seconds.