5 Aug

Ethiopian Upset In Womens Marathon

Tiki Gelana

Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana was the surprise winner in the 2012 Olympic women's marathon earlier today after an exciting race that looked set to be set dominated by the Kenyans and the Ethopians but produced a dramatic cameo from unfancied Russian Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova.

The first few miles were run in torrential rain and there was early disappointment for Team GB when Mara Yamauchi dropped out when her suspect heel flared up. A big leading pack gave a clear indication that this was a race about placings not time and it wasn't until the second half of the 26.2 classic that a clear pattern emerged.

It what looked as if it could be a choreographed scene, a five-strong group broke away with favourite Mary Keitany (Kenya) centre-stage, sandwiched by Ethiopians Dibara and Gelana with the tall rangy Edna Kiplagat and the gangly Priscah Jeptoo on the flanks.

This group held their dominant position until Dibara dropped out at 19 miles however her place in the five was quickly taken by Arkhipova who had moved smoothly and efficiently from the middle ranks to a podium-challenging position. Kiplagat was next to falter and then there were four.

In the crucial later stages Mary Keitany made a number of attempts to force the pace but she could not shake off her rivals and in fact it was the Kenyan favourite who fell back. Over the last three miles it was down to Arkhipova, Jeptoo and Gelana.

The Russian was the first to crack and she settled for bronze. Now it was a match, and over the last mile Tiki Gelana showed her superiority over the plucky Jeptoo. The Ethiopian broke the tape on a new Olympic record time of 2:23:07, five seconds ahead of her Kenyan rival.

A real star of the event was the city of London with the course showcasing the capital city in dramatic fashion as the field passed sights like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral.

Late call-up Freya Murray proved the best of the British runners finishing in 44th place in a time of 2:32:14; Clare Hallissey (57th) came home in 2:35.39.