27 Apr 2009

Olympic marathon champion wins in London

7:35 am on 27 April 2009

Kenyan Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru survived the scorching early pace to take an ultimately winning lead and break the course record in the men's race of the London marathon.

Wanjiru clocked two hours five minutes 10 seconds to better compatriot Martin Lel's course record by five seconds. Defending champion Lel, who was aiming for a record fourth London win, withdrew yesterday because of a hip strain.

A trio of pacemakers took the men's field through the halfway point on a sunny spring morning in 61 minutes 35 seconds, the fastest ever split in a marathon.

Inevitably the pace slowed as the field emerged from London's docklands. Wanjiru made his move at 29 km and surged twice to take the lead over the other two Beijing medallists, Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and Moroccan Jaouad Gharib.

Germany's Irina Mikitenko retained the women's title after repelling a spirited challenge from Britain's Mara Yamauchi.

Mikitenko finished in 2:22:11 to record her third win in only four marathons.