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London Marathon: Kelvin Kiptum just misses world record, Sifan Hassan adds to legend

Kelvin Kiptum

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Kelvin Kiptum of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Elite Men’s Marathon during the 2023 TCS London Marathon on April 23, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum won the London Marathon with the second-fastest time in history, minutes after Sifan Hassan won the women’s race to add to her legendary distance-running career.

Kiptum won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 25 seconds after surging just before 19 miles. Only Eliud Kipchoge‘s world record of 2:01:09 from last September’s Berlin Marathon is faster.

Kiptum, 23, also won his marathon debut in Valencia, Spain, in December in 2:01:53 to become, at the time, the third-fastest man in history.

On Sunday, he supplanted Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele as second fastest in history, broke Kipchoge’s course record of 2:02:37 from 2019 and distanced runner-up Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya by 2 minutes, 58 seconds.

Kiptum was on pace for a finish in the 2:03s before his late surge. He covered the second half in 59:45.

Mo Farah, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion at 5000m and 10,000m, was ninth in what he said would be his final marathon. Fellow 40-year-old Bekele appeared to drop out between 25km and 30km.

MORE: London Marathon Results

Hassan, an Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman, won a sprint finish in 2:18:33 on a rainy morning. Ethiopian Alemu Megertu was four seconds behind, followed another second later by Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya.

World record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya limped out after less than a mile after saying she dealt with a hamstring injury about two weeks ago.

Hassan has arguably unprecedented range: major titles at 1500m (2019 Worlds), 5000m (Tokyo Olympics), 10,000m (2019 Worlds and Tokyo Olympics) and the marathon. She is also the world record holder in the mile at 4:12.33.

She prevailed after spending her last month of training while fasting during Ramadan and developing a left hip injury one week ago. She stopped to stretch that left leg multiple times about 12 miles into the race. Hassan also said she was in better 5000m/10,000m shape and was so scared of the 26.2-mile distance that she cried Sunday morning.

“I never thought I would finish,” Hassan said after winning. “I don’t need to become the greatest. I’m fine the way I am.”

Hassan repeated in the lead-up that she planned to return to the track for August’s world championships in Budapest but could run a marathon in the fall or even at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

None of the top U.S. Olympic hopefuls raced London. Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato, who each last year broke the American record, entered London and then withdrew last month with minor injuries.

The next major marathon is at August’s worlds in Budapest.

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