Felix Diemer for London Marathon Events
On a day when the men’s race was won by Kenya’s Amos Kipruto in 2:04:39, rising Ethiopian star Yalemzerf Yehalaw backed up his incredible marathon debut earlier this year by blasting through the field at mile 24 to win in 2:17:25, the third best time in women’s racing history.
Yehalaw quickly established herself as a huge talent. Still just 23, this year she set a 10km world record with a time of 29:14 in Valencia in February, followed by her fastest ever marathon debut, winning the Hamburg in 2:17:23 – establishing an Ethiopian national. record at the time, although it was taken last week in Berlin.
After staying with a six-woman field for most of the race, Yehalaw put down the gauntlet with a stunning split for mile 24 of 4:46. What made her victory even more impressive was that she crashed around mile 20 after tripping over a sleeping policeman speed bump and having to sprint 20 yards to regain contact with the leading pack.
The first Briton to cross the line was Rose Harvey, who came home in 10th place in 2:27:59. It was, however, a disappointing day for Britain’s top athlete, Charlotte Purdue, who had to withdraw after falling ill on Friday.
Meanwhile, in the men’s race, the key move also happened at mile 24. A leading pack including Kenenisa Bekele stayed together for much of the race, although Bekele started to fall from behind of the peloton in the final miles. Second place went to Leul Gebresilase from Ethiopia, while Bashir Abdi took third place.
The first British finisher was Weyney Ghebresilasie. Born in Eritrea, he was the flag bearer for the Eritrean team at the 2012 Olympics before seeking asylum afterwards. He has been eligible to compete for Great Britain since 2021.