The BBC broadcast of the fun runners is reminding us of the majesty of Bill Withers and the depth of his lung capacity at the chorus by playing Lovely Day. Good choice, what a song.
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Phil Sesemann, a junior doctor from Leeds, was not too far off the pack for much of the race, and was hoping for a qualifying time for the world championships, but does seem to have slowed up. He’s in some pain here, and why not? He keeps looking at his watch and speeds up at the finish. He can make the time for the Commonwealth Games and European Games. And finishes in under 2.13 to get there. He takes seventh. Well done, Phil. First ever marathon, too.
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Shura Kitata, the defending champ, who had to run the race all on his own, and was clearly carrying an injury, finishes in 2.08, which is a sensational time considering his ailments.
11.35am BST 11:35
Sisay Lemma win’s the men’s elite race!
Lemma cuts a solo figure as he makes his way down the Mall, the palace to his rear, as he takes the race in 2.04.01. He waves as he makes his way to the line, and lies flat on the floor as he does so. Vincent Kipchuma and Mosinet Geremew come into second and third to the incongruous sounds of The Killers’ Mr Brightside. Kipchuma takes his second second in succession.
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11.32am BST 11:32
Sisay Lemma has this one in hand. The 30-year-old didn’t finish that Olympic sweat race in Tokyo but that seems to serve him well in London. Buck House is in sight, and he’s keeping up his pace.
11.30am BST 11:30
The intrepid Sean Ingle emails in, after he called the women’s race, with a point of order. “World record is Kipchoge’s 2:01:39. London course record – which might be broken – is 2:02:37.”
Looks unlikely now, Sean. It’s been quick, but maybe not that quick. Let’s see.
11.27am BST 11:27
The men’s race is down to three, with Birhanu Legese and Evans Chemet dropping off the back. Sisay Lemma, the Ethiopian, has sped clear, and looks good for the win. Vincent Kipchuma and Mosinet Geremew look to be fighting out for second and third with under ten minutes and 2.5k to go.
11.24am BST 11:24
The men’s race is very tight, but first Charlotte Purdue attempts to set the second-fastest time in British women’s history, and just misses out, but has to settle for the third and a PB. There’s one in the eye for the Team GB selectors.
11.20am BST 11:20
Ashete Bekere finishes third, taking two minutes off her best, and Brigid Kosgei, who can’t defend her title, still finished under 2.18. It’s been a a high-class event. The winning time, we think, is the seventh fastest in history.
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11.18am BST 11:18
Joyciline Jepkosgei wins the women’s elite race
The Kenyan, has this in the bag, though does look to be tyoing up a bit as she moves towards the Mall. There’s some discomfort there, and Degitu Azimeraw, the Ethopian, looks in better form. Still, the gap is too great. The winning time is 2.17.43, and Azimeraw, celebrates the silver.
11.13am BST 11:13
Vincent Kipchuma, Birhanu Legese, Mosinet Geremew, Evans Chemet and Sisay Lemma are the leading group, and there’s very little between them at 1 hrs 42, and the world record time of 2hrs 03 looks a tad out of reach.
10.56am BST 10:56
Meanwhile, the men’s race was not far off the all-time marathon record – at 01:01:25 – through the halfway point.
10.55am BST 10:55
Big story, and a big move: Brigid Kosgei, the pre-race favourite, drops off the back of the women’s leaders, and that’s down to four as they head through a feeding station. Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, Joyciline Jepkosgei, Ashete Bekere, and Degitu Azimeraw are the remaining contenders, with Jepkosgei taking up the pace, and speeding off the front. Salpeter dropping off, too.
10.51am BST 10:51
Oh no. Titus Ekiru of Ethiopia, who was up with the leaders in the men’s race, has just pulled up, and that looks to be his race run. And yet, he starts again, only to stop again soon after, and step off the course. It looked like a muscle injury.
10.41am BST 10:41
The women’s elite race, now past halfway, is down to five and the women’s world record is at risk here. Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, Joyciline Jepkosgei, Brigid Kosgei, Ashete Bekere, and Degitu Azimeraw is that lead group.
10.39am BST 10:39
Thrilling race for second and third in the women’s wheelchair. Three into two won’t go, and it’s 17-year-old Merle Menje who edges out Tatyana McFadden, with both finishing in 1:44:51. Nikita den Boer was fourth in 1:44:54. Menje looks to have a very bright future.
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Schar’s time was another course record, of course. She completed in 1:39.51, and Marcel Hug offers her congratulations at the finish.
10.30am BST 10:30
Manuela Schar wins the women’s wheelchair race
There was no doubt over who was going to win this one. She idles home, and takes a lonesome trip down the Mall. The winner of last week’s Berlin Marathon repeats her success, and it’s off to Boston next.
10.28am BST 10:28
Someone not taking part this year. None of the gear, even less of an idea.
10.23am BST 10:23
David Weir faces a real battle for third as they approach the finish in the men’s wheelchair race, and he gets home – just – by spinning past Brent Lakatos, the defending champion. The Weirwolf looks utterly exhausted as he pulls to a halt.
10.20am BST 10:20
Manuela Schar is on the way to repeating that Swiss wheelchair success, as she whizzes past Waterloo Station. Daniel Romanchuk comes in to take second in the men’s race, his time well inside 90 minutes.
10.16am BST 10:16
Marcel Hug wins the men’s wheelchair race
Hug is on the Mall and cruising to victory, past Buck House, and to the finish. A truly dominant win for him. Too easy.
10.04am BST 10:04
The pace has picked up among the women. Brigid Kosgei looks comfortable in the leading pack.
9.59am BST 09:59
Shura Kitata will not be repeating last year’s success, and has dropped off the back of the men’s race. His natty neon headband is receiving some applause from a packed crowd as they speed along the streets. Evans Chebet and Sisay Lemma, two of the other favourites, are up in the leading pack as they go through 10km.
9.51am BST 09:51
Marcel Hug continues to blast away through the men’s wheelchair race at 25km. David Weir is over two minutes down and in third. Manuela Schar is doing similar to Swiss compatriot Hug in the women’s race.
9.47am BST 09:47
Brigid Kosgei is among that group of leaders in the women’s elite race, while Shura Kitata, the men’s winner last year, is dropping a bit off the back, perhaps hampered by the hamstring problem he has suffered of late. The men’s race is staying with the pacemakers, and there may be a record in the offing if they keep that up.
9.42am BST 09:42
Housekeeping, via the BBC.
One of the measures to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus is sending the mass participants off in waves.
They’re steadily marching down towards the startline in groups with 30 seconds between them. Every single group gets wild screams from the crowd.
9.41am BST 09:41
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter is leading the women’s race, though the pace continues to be slow.
9.40am BST 09:40
Tracey and Simon Colley get in touch: “Just wanted to tell you about our daughter Joanna Colley who is a keen runner and had a qualifying place in this years marathon as an elite runner but had already promised her big sister she would run as Hey Duggee! The reason being her niece Matilda (our first granddaughter) was born with an undiagnosed heart condition and the AMAZING surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital fixed her up with open heart surgery at 9 days old. Matilda is now doing so well and her favourite TV character is Hey Duggee. All the ego / competitive obsession has been put to one side today to try and raise as much money to say thank you to GOSH.”
I had to look up Hey Dugee but all the best to you all.
9.36am BST 09:36
The men’s wheelchair race sees Marcel Hug break away from Daniel Romanchuk, and as he cruises through what look like the streets of Wapping, looks totally in control.
9.32am BST 09:32
The starter is Kye Whyte, the BMX silver medallist, who sets off the elite race, and following them is the rest of the field, who will start in 30 minute intervals, including categories for veterans.
9.30am BST 09:30
The men’s race is here, and the racers are being announced. Who are the favourites. Here’s Sean Ingle from our preview piece.
Take the men’s race. Only seven men in history have run 2hr 03min or faster in the marathon – and four of them are in London. The whispers during the week were that Birhanu Legese, whose personal best of 2:02:48 is the best in the field, has been flying in training and is the one to beat. But strong cases can also be made for Mosinet Geremew, Evans Chebet and Titus Ekiru, whose bests are all within 12sec of the Ethiopian.
9.22am BST 09:22
Through the streets of Greenwich they go and past Cutty Sark as Manuela Schar leads the women’s wheelchair race by a significant distance.
9.19am BST 09:19
A slowish start to the women’s race, and there seems to be some kind of problem with pacemakers who are struggling to do their job. A few in the pack are coming off Tokyo and may have a bit to shake off before the race hots up later.
9.06am BST 09:06
The men’s wheelchair race sees Daniel Romanchuk and Marcel Hug speed away from David Weir, and working together. Those two are the form athletes so it already looks a long way back for the British perennial.
9.02am BST 09:02
The early part of the race takes them past an Esso petrol station, presumably closed for today, presumably busy at the moment the rest of the time. Petrol is at a severe premium at the moment in the capital.
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9.01am BST 09:01
So to the women’s elite race, where Brigid Kosgei is the favourite, despite only landing silver at the Olympics, though these are very different conditions than the Tokyo heatwave. She won this race is such style in 2019, and is the world record holder. Liz McColgan, whose greatest moment came in Tokyo herself, in 1991, gets them underway.
8.54am BST 08:54
Marcel Hug, who dominated at the recent Paralympics, is on the tail of David Weir as they set off into the depths of South London….and is soon at the front of the race, just as he likes it. There’s plenty of speed bumps to make things difficult for them. Daniel Romanchuk, the winner in 2019, is in the mix. In the women’s race, and as expected, Manuela Schar takes the early lead.
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And we are at the start of the wheelchair races where Britain’s David Weir goes in his 22nd London Marathon. Hannah Cockroft is the starter as the racers, from both men and women get underway. David Weir goes to the front from the start.
8.47am BST 08:47
Here’s the start times, with the wheelchair events set to go in three minutes:
08:50 BST Elite wheelchairs
09:00 BST Elite women
09:30 BST Elite men and staggered mass start
8.25am BST 08:25
Seems like ideal weather for running after yesterday in London when frankly, it tipped it down. Only the slower runners might get wet.
8.21am BST 08:21
The British runner with probably the best hope didn’t even run at the Olympics. Liz McColgan won the race in 1996 and will be today’s official starter for the women’s race. Other British winners are Joyce Smith, Veronique Marot and of course Paula Radcliffe.
8.00am BST 08:00
It’s been 30 months since London hosted the fun runners, the teddy bears, the well-meaning celebs, the novelty items, the banter crew biting off more than they can chew and the elite athletes. But Sunday sees the capital reduced to a standstill other than the fuel crisis, and it will be good to have it back as the runners career around the landmarks, the docklands, the Isle of Dogs and remind the TV viewers that London is not all pomp and circumstance, it’s a living, breathing city too. Before ending on the Mall, of course. Last year’s staging, such as it was, saw the elite runners do laps round St James’ Park, but this time the 40,000 runners will do the usual 26.2 miles, in what will be the 40th running of the great race.
In the women’s event, Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei is aiming for a third successive win. No Eliud Kipchoge this time around, or Mo Farah, so it’s an open-looking field in the men’s event. Plenty to look forward to, and the latest from the wheelchair events, too, where David Weir returns to the stage for the 22nd time, though Marcel Hug looks a nailed-on favourite.