28th April 2019 – The greatest field ever assembled for a women’s marathon toed the line on Sunday morning for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon with defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) and Linet Masai (KEN) included.
With so many star athletes competing it was a cagey opening with no one wanting to play their cards too early. Pre-race the target pace for half way was 68:30 but in reality half way was passed in 71:38. From here though the blue touch paper was lit with the leaders knocking off miles of close to or even sub 5 minutes. The race evolved into a two way battle between Vivian and last years runner up Brigid Kosgei. Brigid was able to reverse the positions on this occasion but it took the fastest second half of a marathon (66:42) to do so. Vivian crossed the line in 2:20:14 to take her third top 2 finish in a major marathon in a row.
Linet gave it all she had but having been brave to try and go with the increase in pace at halfway slowed towards the end for 2:26:06 and eleventh place.
In the men’s race there was great excitement for a battle royal between world record holder Eluid Kipchoge and home favourite Sir Mo Farah (GBR). The men’s race did go more to script with the half being crossed in 61:38.
Here Eluid tried to assert his authority and he turned the screw to edge a gap on Mo. Mo fought on valiantly to the end and despite being disappointed with his fifth place finish he still clocked 2:05:39, faster than he ran when taking third place last year.
On the track at the invitational relays event in Fayettville, there was some very encouraging early season performances from Jenna Prandini (USA) and Shamier Little (USA). Jenna won both the 100m and the 200m in world leading times of 11.10 seconds and 22.53 seconds respectively while Shamier won the 400m 52.21 seconds.