In a dramatic women’s race on Sunday, Kenya’s Sumgong beat reigning London champion Tufa
Jemima Sumgong bounced back from a heavy fall to win her first London Marathon title as she defeated the 2015 winner Tigist Tufa in 2:22:58.
The 31-year-old Kenyan was tripped from behind with about 7km to go and lost ground on the leaders. But she recovered and, holding her head in pain, re-joined the leaders and then broke away with Tufa before surging away from the Ethopian in the final mile.
“The Ethiopian runner (Aselefech Mergia) clipped my leg and I went down,” said Sumgong, who spent some time having her injuries patched up after the race, including a cut on her head. “I got up again as quickly as possible and got my pace back.
“The fall really affected me and I was unsure if I could continue. I have a cut on my head and on my shoulder, they are bleeding but I don’t feel any pain yet. I did feel it in my legs so I am so surprised I won.”
Tufa finished second in 2:23:03 as Florence Kiplagat of Kenya was third in 2:23:39. “The wind and the weather conditions made it slow,” said Tufa, “But we are now focusing on the Olympics,” while Kiplagat added: “It was much better this year than last year. My mind was in a better place. It was a cold course today and the last 5km was very painful for me due to blisters on my right foot. I’m really proud that I came back to beat Mazuronak and get on the podium. I’m really looking forward to (Kenyan) selection now.”
Volha Mazuronak of Belarus was fourth in 2:23:54 while Mergia, who also suffered in the fall, was fifth in 2:23:57 and world champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia was sixth in 2:24:09.
Another faller, Mary Keitany, finished ninth as the race favourite struggled to get back into her running and clocked 2:28:30. “After falling down I had no power left,” she said. “I’m feeling very disappointed. I’ll go home now and have a couple of weeks off and regroup. I don’t wish to comment whether it cost me the race.”
Tatyana McFadden took her fourth straight women’s wheelchair racing title in London. The American out-sprinted Manuela Schaer in 1:44:12.
McFadden said: “It’s an Olympic year so the girls are super fit. It’s a great day out there, so much better than if it had been wet and slippery. The race was as I expected with a big sprint finish, so I was ready for that.”
» See the April 28 issue of Athletics Weekly for full coverage of the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon