Key Takeaways From The 2023 London Marathon
All you need to know from the action at the 2023 London Marathon - full report and results.
If you woke up early on the East Coast, you were treated to two thrilling finishes to the 2023 London Marathon before you were able to finish your first cup of coffee.
We nearly saw a world record in the men’s marathon as 23-year-old Kelvin Kiptum ran 2:01:25 for the second-fastest marathon performance in history. Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 world record from last year’s Berlin Marathon got a good scare. More on that shortly…
On the women’s side, Sifan Hassan added to her case for the greatest female distance runner ever. In her marathon debut, the double Olympic champion kicked to victory in her marathon debut in 2:18:33.
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Here are some quick parting thoughts from the 2023 London Marathon | Full results here …
Kelvin Kiptum Is A Star
Last December, Kiptum came out of nowhere to win the Valencia Marathon in 2:01:53 for the fastest marathon debut ever and put himself at No. 3 on the all-time list. Unlike the two men ahead of him on the all-time list (Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele), he has no Olympic or World Championship medals to boast from his track career but just started crushing the roads in 2018. He ran 58:41 for the half marathon at the 2020 Valencia Marathon but was beaten by five other men in the race so he totally flew under the radar until he demolished his marathon debut in Valencia last year.
Five months later, he bided his time with the leaders until the 19-mile mark and then just took off. He dropped a 4:23 at Mile 20 and then flew from 35K to 40K in 14:01. With no one in sight behind him, he must’ve known how close he was to Kipchoge’s world record because he was sprinting down the final stretch on The Mall and crossed the finish line in 2:01:25. He split 59:45 for the second half of the race. When he collapsed to the ground afterward in exhaustion, you knew he’d given it his all.
This puts him at No. 2 on the all-time list but if he had the pacing conditions and Berlin’s course, I’d think he would have been even closer or under Kipchoge’s world record.
Is Sifan Hassan The Greatest Female Distance Runner Ever?
Sifan Hassan’s range is remarkable. In addition to seven global championship medals, Hassan has run 1:56 for 800m; 3:51 for 1,500m; 4:12 for the mile; 14:22 for 5000m; 29:06 for 10,000m; 65:15 for the half marathon and now 2:18:34 for the marathon.
We all learn a thing or two from our first marathon. Hassan’s first one was far from perfect. She stopped twice and had some minor injuries pop up in the final stages of the race. She entered the race scared. In the interview she did with the broadcasters afterward, she said: “This morning I was telling myself, ‘I’m so stupid. Why am I playing this kind of game? Why the hell am I thinking that I want to run marathon.’ … I never cry. I cried this morning. Why I put this thing for myself?! Why (did) I say I’m gonna run marathons?!”
I’ll never forget how exhausted Hassan looked at the end of her triple gold attempt at the Tokyo Olympics. Similarly, Hassan was clearly laboring in the closing miles of this race but managed to stick with the leaders, which included the likes of Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir and reigning London champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw. There were a few opportunities to try and drop Hassan but everyone overlooked her. (The scariest was when she was nearly hit by one of the lead motorcycles!) Big mistake. The track speed came in handy on The Mall and she managed to outkick them all to the finish.
Hassan gets an A+ for her marathon debut. It’s not the fastest performance (This puts her tied for No. 35 of the all-time list) but she beat the strongest field ever assembled – while stopping at the 19K mark. She has some of the best credentials from 1500m to 10,000m with fast times and medals. This won’t be the last time that we see her contest the marathon so we’re only at the start of her adding to the resume.
Next up for her: A summer track season. Hassan said she planned on competing at the World Championships in Budapest in August.
For those curious if she can do the 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m and marathon quadruple at the Paris Olympics…
Aug. 2, 2024 (Evening) – 5000m Round 1
Aug. 5, 2024 (Evening) – 5000m Final
Aug. 6, 2024 (Morning) – 1500m Round 1
*Aug. 7, 2024 (Morning) – 1500m repechage – (In case, case she doesn’t make it out. This would suck because it’s her only potential day of rest.)*
Aug. 8, 2024 (Evening) – 1500m Semifinal
Aug. 9, 2024 (Evening) – 10,000m Final
Aug. 10, 2024 (Evening) – 1500m Final
Aug. 11, 2024 (Morning) – Marathon
There’s no way she does that. That would be bananas! At least 41 miles of racing over 11 days.
Things Get Interesting For Eliud Kipchoge
After Boston, Kipchoge said that losing the race sent him back to the drawing board for what’s next. If he wants to stick with the World Marathon Majors, he’s got a few different paths that he could go down.
Option A) Run the World Championships. He’s never won World Championship gold. Highly doubtful that he’d pass on mega appearance fee for this.
Option B) Stick to the Majors plan. If the goal is to try and win all six World Marathon Majors, the next stop would be New York City. He would get a rematch against Boston and New York champion Evans Chebet. Redemption Kipchoge sounds scary.
Option C) Go back to Berlin. If he wants to get back to a fast, flat course and potentially defend his title and the world record against Kiptum, he’ll run Berlin for the fifth time.
Option D) Go somewhere else.
Another Podium Finish For Alemu Megertu
The 25-year-old from Ethiopia has really come into her own in the past two years and London’s been special. Last year, she won the Sevilla Marathon and then finished third in London in 2:18:32. Today, she improved one place for a runner-up finish in 2:18:37.
Peres Jepchirchir Is Healthy
Good News: After an injury-plagued 2022, Jepchirchir is healthy again, was one of the leaders putting in surges/making moves and finished third in 2:18:398.
Bad News: Her five-marathon winning streak was snapped.
Good to See Geoffrey Kamworor Back
The two-time New York City Marathon champion struggled with injuries in recent years but was able to get his personal best down to 2:04:23 for a runner-up finish.
One British Star Says Farewell To The Marathon, Another Debuts
It’s no surprise that Mo Farah received a lot of pre-race attention from the British press heading into the race. That’s what happens when you’re the 2012 and 2016 double Olympic champion at 5000m and 10,000m. He finished ninth overall in 2:10:28 for his final marathon as a professional. He told the media that his final race will be the Great North Run on September 10.
Ahead of him, Emile Cairess debuted with a 2:08:07 (6th overall) to become the third-fastest Brit of all-time. Only Farah and Steve Jones have ever run faster. Remember Cairess’ name since he’s just 25 years old and broke the European 10-mile record back with a 45:57 run in March and clocked a 60:32 last year for the half marathon. He just started working with coach Renato Canova.
Rough Day For Kenenisa Bekele
The Ethiopian legend hit the half marathon mark in 1:01:46 and then made it just a little farther before dropping out. He also got bumped to No. 3 on the all-time list.
Even Worse Day For Brigid Kosgei
The world record holder didn’t even make it a mile before dropping out. She told reporters that she was dealing with a hamstring injury in the leadup to the race.
Good Luck Picking An Olympic Team, Kenya
Kenya doesn’t host an Olympic Trials race like the United States. Instead, Athletics Kenya selects who they want to represent the country at the Games. In 2016, they famously left off Mary Keitany, who was the second-fastest woman of all-time and was coming off back-to-back victories at the New York City Marathon. This time around, they’ll face some tough decisions on the men’s side.
(This is all assuming these top stars want to compete at the Games with no appearance fee and a chance for a medal and possibly pass on a fall Major)
– Kipchoge has expressed that he’d like to try to go for his third Olympic gold medal. No man in history has ever won three straight Olympic gold medals in the marathon. Good luck telling the GOAT and world record holder that you aren’t picking him…except for the fact that before today’s race 30 Kenyan men had hit the qualifying time for the Paris Games (2:08:10) [I haven’t looked to see how many have Top 5 finishes at Platinum
– Evans Chebet. He’s proven he can win championship-style races with no pacers with his victories in New York and Boston. He’s never competed at the Games.
– Kelvin Kiptum. He’s the fastest Kenyan man in the Olympic qualifying window!
– Benson Kipruto and Amos Kipruto may also want to have a word with the selection committee.
Any combination of the names above would be great but there’s still plenty of time for a new name to throw themselves into consideration. Someone like Geoffrey Kamworor has said he’s interested.
USA’s Susanna Sullivan Gets Top 10
Full-time teacher Susanna Sullivan was the top American with a 47-second personal best to finish 10th overall in 2:24:47. That’s the eighth-fastest performance by an American woman since the Tokyo Olympics and she got under the 2:26:50 Paris Olympics qualifying standard. Start thinking of her as a contender for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Last year, Kyle interviewed her for The Lap Count newsletter.
Frank Lara was the top American man in London with a 2:13:29 for 12th place overall.
Dominique Scott Debuts
South Africa’s Dominique Scott ran 2:29:19 for 12th place in her marathon debut. That puts her at No. 6 on her country’s all-time list.
Thanks for following along with CITIUS MAG’s coverage of the 2023 London Marathon. Did I miss anything? Email me and let me know. If you’ve got comments or thoughts, feel free to share them with me. Apologies for any typos!
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