He lined up ready to go Sunday morning in London.
Little to be expected but very much accepted, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge would become the second fastest marathoner in history.
Kipchoge’s 2:03:05 not only puts him second on the marathon world record book, but it could very well give him a ticket in Rio this summer. According to marathonguide.com, the 2016 London marathon served as a qualifying-type race for many countries: including Kenya.
Clearly, that heightens the importance of this race. And with two of the ten fastest times on record eligible courses coming during London 2016 — it’s easy to see the athletes were out to prove their Olympic strength.
But it was long before 2:03:05 after the start that spectators knew something special was in the air. After 15k, the leaders were on pace for a 2:01:45 — which would shatter Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 world record set in Berlin, 2014. Nevertheless, as was expected the pace dipped, but by halfway (1:01:24) the leaders were still on pace to set a new London record.
Now, despite the fierce pace set up by Kipchoge, he’s not guaranteed a spot on Kenya’s Olympic team. That decision, like in other nations, are made behind closed doors.
It’s a different story for British athletes who competed Saturday. A strong finish by Callum Hawkins (2:10:52) and Tsegai Tewlde (2:12:53) guarantees the two a trip to Rio this summer. Something else to note, Callum’s brother Derek (2:12:57) could also be selected (We’ll check in with that later.)
While Kipchoge is likely to be heading to the Olympics this August, one thing is certain: the back-to-back champion showed this weekend that he is not to be taken lightly moving forward into the summer months.
LONDON TOP 10
- Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya: 2:03:05
- Stanley Biwott, Kenya: 2:03:51
- Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia: 2:06:36
- Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Eritrea: 2:07:46
- Wilson Kipsang, Kenya: 2:07:52
- Tilahun Regassa, Ethiopia: 2:09:47
- Sisay Lemma, Ethiopia: 2:10:45
- Callum Hawkins, Great Britain: 2:11:44
- Ghebre Kibrom, Eritrea: 2:11:56
- Yuki Sato, Japan: 2:12:14