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Olympics bronze medalist Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede came from behind to win the Virgin London IAAF Gold Label Road Race Marathon for the second time, while the London Olympics Women’s Marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana’s misfortune at the 15km mark clouded the much-anticipated Women’s Marathon. In the race that brought together 34,000 participants and fielded one of the strongest ever number of renowned athletes in a Marathon event, it was the course record holder, Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, who was favored to win on the day. True to speculation and expectation, Mutai led the pack for the first half of the race in world-record setting pace. But past the halfway mark, with the morning sun taking its toll, a leading group of only four athletes, two each from Ethiopia and Kenya, reached the 35km point. Then, for the first time Tsegaye came into the picture, nearly a minute behind the four (Mutai & Biwott from Kenya and Ayele Abshiro and Feyissa Lelisa from Ethiopia) yet running steadily and in a composed fashion. With many renowned athletes having already melted away, Tsegaye kept on coming (and looking fresh too) until he was 28 seconds behind at the 40km spot. He then passed Mutai at Bird Cage Walk before rounding the final corner and sprinting to the finishing line to be crowned as the winner for the second time in his career. Tsegaye, with a huge smile on his face crossed over in 2:06:04, half a minute ahead of Mutai, then Ayele Abshiro came in third in 2:06:57 for a place on the podium. Lelisa finished fourth with Kenyan Wilson Kipsang coming in next. The win means the diminutive powerhouse Tsegaye Kebede is USD 300,000 the richer.
The favorite London Olympic gold medalist Tiki Gelana’s misfortune happened after the 15km point, when she collided with a wheelchair racer and sustained injury, clouding the women’s event. She kept pace with the leaders at first but fell behind slowly in pain to finish the race in 16th place. London Olympics silver medalist Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo clocked 2:20:15, a world leading time, to win the title followed by World Champion Edna Kiplagat. The first Japanese to mount the podium at the London Marathon, Yukiko Akaba, came in third, with Ethiopian Messelech Melkamu fourth, followed by Kenyan Florence Kiplagat.