Eliud Kipchoge wins London Marathon in record time as fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei takes women's race
There was a reception fit for a king as Eliud Kipchoge claimed a record fourth London Marathon win outside Buckingham Palace.
The Olympic champion was at his brilliant best as he claimed the 2019 elite men's race victory, with a course record time and the second quickest marathon in history.
The world record holder is now undefeated in his last 10 marathons, with this win underlining his status as the greatest marathon runner of them all.
Kipchoge completed a Kenyan double as Brigid Kosgei powered clear of defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot to claim her first London Marathon title.
There was disappointment for home favourite and four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah who came home in fifth place on Sunday (28 April), placing his long-term road running future in jeopardy.
The big names were all in a lead group halfway through the men's race.
But then Kipchoge started to up the pace as only he can.
Farah dropped back slightly to what was initially a steady gap of around 20 metres, before Kipchoge really wound it up.
The lead group was soon whittled down to four, with two-time winner Wilson Kipsang also unable to keep up with his compatriot.
Kipchoge had three Ethiopians - last year's runner-up Shura Kitata, Mosinet Geremew, and Mule Wasihun - for company going into the final quarter of the race.
They stayed with the worlds fastest man until the last 7km when Kitata cracked.
Kipchoge kept up the pressure and Wasihun was soon dropped, to leave just Geremew challenging for the win.
And an incredible 40th kilometre of 2:42 left Kipchoge on his own at the front.
It was a remarkable front-running display from the 34-year-old as he won in a time of 2:02:37, just 58 seconds outside his world record set in Berlin last year.
Geremew was second in 2:02:55, with Wasihun 20 seconds further back in third.
Afterwards, Kipchoge told BBC, "I'm happy to win on the streets of London for the fourth time and to make history, on a day that the event has raised £1bn ($1.3bn). The crowd in London is certainly wonderful."
"As usual, I do not chase two rabbits, I only chase one, and that was London. I have caught that rabbit so I will discuss with my team what follows." - Eliud Kipchoge talking to BBC
Farah at a crossroads
Briton Farah was fifth in 2:05:39, outside his European record set last year in winning the Chicago Marathon.
And afterwards, he told BBC he was "desperately disappointed" with his performance having "felt great" for the first half of the race.
On losing ground after halfway, Farah said, "My aim was to try and reel them back. But at 20 miles, the wheels came off and I was just hanging on."
He also paid tribute to Kipchoge's effort, saying, "Incredible time, the better man won on the day. He's a very, very special athlete."
Farah's finish means he has qualified for the marathon at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, but he also has the option of defending his 10,000m title on the track at that event.
"At the minute, my brain's all over the place. I'll have a chat with my coach, and take a step back. I want to do a marathon, but I'm disappointed in myself." - Mo Farah speaking to BBC
Kosgei goes one better
The women's race was a strange affair, with the protagonists setting out slowly and leaving three pacemakers a long way clear in front.
Australian veteran Sinead Driver led until halfway but dropped back as the top runners from Kenya and Ethiopia moved to the head of the field.
Three-time winner Mary Keitany was unable to go with the pace as Cheruiyot and Kosgei broke away.
And it was Kosgei who proved the stronger with her second half, unofficially timed at 66:42, the fastest recorded in a women's marathon.
Cheruiyot was almost two minutes back in second place, with Ethiopia's Roza Dereje denying Kenya a podium sweep.
Gladys Cherono took fourth with Keitany fifth.
Kosgei is now one of the marathon's leading lights, but she revealed afterwards that she would not compete at the World Championships in Doha.
Familiar faces win wheelchair races
Daniel Romanchuk was the first winner at the 2019 London Marathon, taking the men's elite wheelchair race.
The 20-year-old American has established himself as the world number one in the past year with victories in Chicago, New York City, and earlier this month in Boston.
And he moved clear of Switzerland's Marcel Hug in the closing stages on Sunday to take his first London win after finishing third 12 months ago.
Japan's Tomoki Suzuki took the last place on the men's wheelchair podium.
Eight-time winner David Weir lost touch with the leaders at Tower Bridge, just before halfway.
In his 20th consecutive London Marathon, the 39-year-old finished four minutes off the pace in fifth.
Schaer completes major sweep
Manuela Schaer regained her London Marathon crown in dominant fashion.
The Swiss pulled away from her rivals within the first quarter of the women's wheelchair race, and kept increasing her gap to the field.
Like Romanchuk, she backed up her win from Boston earlier this month.
Schaer finished visibly tired, but still well clear of the field. Her time of 1:44:10 almost four minutes outside her own course record.
The win means she now holds all six Marathon majors at the same time.
Tatyana McFadden took second, just as she did 12 months ago, outsprinting defending champion Madison de Rozario.
Australian de Rozario spoke to Olympic Channel earlier this year about how she deals with online harassment.