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How Joyciline Jepkosgei beat champions in London Marathon

EXPLAINERS
By Winfrey Owino | October 3rd 2021

Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei celebrates winning the elite women's race in the London Marathon on October 3, 2021. [Reuters]

Joycilin Jepkosgei became the seventh-fastest female marathoner in the world after winning the 41st Edition of the women's London Marathon in a time of 2:10:43. 

The long-distance runner who also competes in the 5, 000m, was born on December 81993 in Kenya’s Rift Valley region. She managed to beat some of the world’s known marathoners.

In second and third place were two Ethiopians, Azimeraw Degitu and Bekere Ashete who finished 15 and 35 seconds after Jepkosgei respectively.

More than 40,000 runners joined some of the world’s best athletes in the marathon that started at Blackheath and ended in the shadow of Buckingham Palace on The Mall (26.2 miles - 42 Km)

By the second hour mark, Jepkosgei had sealed her chances of winning; significantly widening the gap between her and her competitors.

She maintained the pace and after two 2:15:30, her fate was sealed, clear she was going to win the marathon.

In her quest to hunt for her first London Marathon title, Jepkosgei faced Israel’s Lonah Salpeter, the seventh-fastest woman over the same distance.

Salpeter finished fifth place after 2:18:54. 

Jepkosgei managed to beat the defending champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei, who came in a distant fourth.

Prior to today's marathon, 27-year-old Jepkosgei broke Dutch double Olympic Champion Sifan Hassan’s record by posting a shorter time (65:16) in the race. Sifan had won the same race in 65:45 in 2019.

Jepkosgei’s win marked the return of the marathon to the streets of London, a first full-scale staging of the race in more than two years.

In 2020, the race was moved from its usual April date as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the suspension of public events worldwide.

As a result, the competitions were held at a closed course around St James’s Park.

London’s race director Hugh Brasher said this year’s event – 40 years on from the inaugural race in 1981 – “could easily be the most memorable ever".

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