London Marathon organisers are hailing a series of records – including the highest number of women finishers in history – as they confirmed that money raised for the event since its inception in 1981 had broken through the £1bn barrier.
Hugh Brasher, event director of London Marathon Events Ltd, said it had been one of the most special in the event’s 39-year history. “We have had many extraordinary days in the history of the London Marathon but this was even more than that,” he added. “Thanks to the incredible efforts of a record number of runners, we have now raised more than £1bn for good causes.”
However there was disappointment for Britain’s Mo Farah, who ended a week where he was embroiled in a furious row with the African distance legend Haile Gebrselassie by finishing in fifth place more than three minutes behind men’s winner Eliud Kipchoge.
“Training has gone well but it was just one of those days,” admitted Farah, who was cheered loudly by enormous crowds throughout the 26.2 mile race. “I am definitely disappointed but Kipchoge’s time was incredible. He is a very special athlete.”
Farah, who also expressed his regret in taking the spotlight away from the race in the build-up by revealing he had been a victim of a robbery in Gebrselassie’s hotel, said the row with the Ethiopian – in which Farah was accused of blackmail, brawling in a gym and not paying his hotel bill – had not affected him at all during the race.
“Yes I did have a big week in terms of what’s happened but I stand by every word I said, it is the honest truth,” he added. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Kipchoge, meanwhile, was delighted after winning a record fourth London title in 2:2:37, the second quickest time in history– the first being held again by Kipchoge at a time of 2:1:39, run last year in Berlin.
At his training camp in Kenya, where he takes his turn to clean out the toilets, they call him the “boss man” and once again he lived up to his moniker by winning his 10th marathon in a row.
Afterwards there was talk that Kipchoge might make another attempt at breaking two hours for the marathon, having come close in 2017, but the 34-year-old said he was still assessing his options.
“I come from Africa, and in Africa we don’t chase two rabbits at once,” he added. “My rabbit was the London Marathon. My business is simple: I don’t have anything now. I need to go back, sit with my coach and see what I will do next.”
The women’s race was won by the 25-year-old Kenyan Brigid Kosgei in 2:18.20 after she broke clear in the second half of the race. And there was drama shortly afterwards as the elite British athlete Hayley Carruthers collapsed metres before the finish after her legs dramatically collapsed underneath her.
The 25-year-old then crawled over the line on her hands and knees in a personal best time of 2:33:59 before being carried away on a stretcher.
She later reassured supporters she was fine on Twitter by posting a picture of bandaged knees alongside the caption: “Today I learnt how NOT to run a marathon! At least I PB’d.”
Organisers later confirmed that there had been a record number of starters, with 42,905 beginning the race, while 38 Guinness world records were also broken.
Among the record breakers were married couple Rebecca and Nuno Cesar de Sa who broke the record for the fastest marathon with two runners handcuffed together (mixed) in a time of 3:43:17.
“We were all right until 20 miles and then my husband got a bit tired, so it was quite difficult at the end to be in sync and for me to motivate him,” said Rebecca. “The chains were pulling.”
Her husband, meanwhile, insisted he had done his best. “My legs were gone, my back had a spasm,” he added.
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