22 Apr

Kipsang And Keitany Shine In Marathon Sun

Wilson Kipsang - 2012 VLM winner

Favourable weather - it was cool, dry and bright - gave 35,000 participants the perfect start to the 2012 Virgin London marathon and as anticipated it was the Kenyans who prospered in favourable conditions. Wilson Kipsang dominated the men's race and Mary Keitany was in command in the women's event.

Kipsang was prominent from the early stages as the front runners made a fast start. After half way Kipsang, world champion Abel Kirui and Ethipian Feyisa Lilesa formed a leading group of three but only Kipsang could maintain the fierce pace and he dropped Kirui and Lilesa to run the last few miles on his own - finishing in 2:04:44, just missing out on the course record.

Kirui and Illesa faded badly in the closing stages leaving three times winner Martin Lel (2:06:51) to sprint passed 2010 winner Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede (2:06:5) and take second place. First Briton home was Lee Merrien finishing 17th. The Guernsey athlete was disappointed to miss out on the GB Olympic qualifying mark.

Mary Keitany (2:18:37) clocked a PB in the women's race to retain her London crown. Keitany set a relentless pace to pull away from compatriot Edna Kiplagat (2:19:50) in the final three miles and win by more than a minute, with Priscah Jeptoo (2:20:14) coming in third.

Bristol AC's Claire Hallissey (2:27:44) was fastest Briton and her time should earn Olympic selection. She bested marathon-debutant Freya Murray (2:28:10) however the young Scot will be delighted with her performance.

David Weir achieved a sixth VLM success in a closely fought wheelchair race with Shelley Woods completing a British double with a bloodless success in the women's wheelchair race.

The 2012 Virgin London marathon was also notable for celebrities Nell McAndrew and Sophie Raworth. The former Lara Croft stormed round in 2 hours 54 while the newscaster came in less than 4 hours after a traumatic run in 2011. Will Young, Gordon Ramsey and Linda Barker were among a host of celebrities who enjoyed tremendous support from the record crowds of spectators.