Months before the conduct of the 2020 London Marathon Race, it was announced that the scheduled April event will be held despite the Covid-19 pandemic situation and it will be held on October 4, Sunday, with the participation of selected world elite athletes coming from selected countries. Most significant in the announcement was the participation of the two of the fastest marathon finishers in the world: Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya who is the reigning world record holder in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39 hours in the 2018 Berlin Marathon and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia who is the world record holder and Olympian record holder in the 10,000-meter event with a time of 26:17:53 minutes and second fastest time in the marathon with a time of 2:01:41 hours which he set in the 2019 Berlin Marathon, two-second slower than Kipchoge’s time.
Aside from the World’s Men’s Elite runners, the World’s Women’s Elite runners were invited to join the race. This is to include the Elite Marathon Runners from Great Britain. The rest of those who are supposed to participate and had been picked in the lottery to join the 2020 London Marathon had been asked to join in a virtual run and be able to complete the run within a period of 24 hours. Unfortunately, I registered for the third time in this marathon event and as usual, I was not been able to be picked up in the lottery.
In the months, weeks, and days before the London Marathon, there were so many information on the social media and printed media about this “duel” of the two fastest marathon runners in the world; Kipchoge and Bekele. With its hype, I tried to research on the Internet on the past competitions where these two great long distance runners had joined and competed with each other. Bekele was already a World and Olympic “Star” in the 2000s while Kipchoge was trailing behind him in the Oval Track Competition Races. However, during the 2010 and later years, both runners had shifted to road running on marathon races. Kipchoge started to shine and perform consistently in Marathon Races in Europe. However, Bekele had also his winning races on the road until he was sidelined with some injuries. Bekele is 38 years old while Kipchoge is 35 years old. But, these two runners had been always pushing the bar for the world record in marathon up to this time. The sub-2:02-hour time in the Marathon Race are being held by these two greatest runners in the world.
In my past blog, I posted and predicted that Eliud Kipchoge will win over Kenenisa Bekele in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. However, I was still confident to predict that the winning time will be within the 2:02-2:03-hour range knowing how the place looks like when I had the chance to visit London in 2018. The London Marathon was held along the streets surrounding the St James Park near Buckingham Palace which is a loop-course covering a distance of 1.33 miles for each loop. Runners have to complete 19+ loops to finish the Marathon distance of 26.2 miles while is completely flat.
Two days before the race, Bekele announced to the media that he was withdrawing from the race because of an injury on his left calf muscle which he got two weeks before on a sprinting session. With this news, I was confident that Kipchoge would win the said race.
I watched the LIVE coverage of the London Marathon in the evening of Sunday, October 4, 2020 (Manila Time) after I found out that Brigid Kosgei of Kenya won the Women’s Championship with a time of 2:18:58 hours. She is the current Marathon World Record Holder with a time of 2:14:04 hours which she achieved in the 2019 Chicago Marathon Race. Worthy to note in the women’s race is the “sprint run” of Sara Hall on the last 50 meters to pass Ruth Chepngetich to the finish line winning the race as the First Runner-Up in 2:22:01 hours. This is Sara Hall’s Personal Best in the Marathon.
On the last loop of the Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge could not react on the blistering pace of the faster runners and he did not win as I had predicted. Tola Shura Kitata of Ethiopia won as the Overall Champion of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon with a time of 2:05:41 hours. He was the First Runner-Up in the 2018 London Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge won as the Champion. Eliud Kipchoge finished the race in 8th place with a time of 2:06:49 hours and he said in his post-race interview that his ears got blocked during the last loops that he could not concentrate and focus with his run. However, he was gentleman enough to accept the result of his performance. Kipchoge and Bekele will be back!
Thank you for reading. Have a good day and week ahead of us.