The men’s race
Ceron seals second win
Dionicio Ceron retained his title in an enthralling race when he and Australian Steve Moneghetti hauled in and passed Antonio Pinto of Portugal in the closing stages after being over a minute down with 5 miles to go.
Ceron and Moneghetti then ran together until they turned into The Mall where the Mexican surged to an unprecedented second victory in 2:08:30 – London’s 2nd fastest time ever and only 14 seconds slower than Steve Jones’ course record.
For the luckless Moneghetti, it was the second time in the race’s history he had been beaten by 3 seconds. In 5th place Paul Evans ran 2:10:31, the fastest time of the year by a British athlete.
The women’s race
Sobanska sneaks home
The women’s race was equally nail-biting. Three runners were together in the closing stages with favourite Manuela Machado of Portugal making much of the running.
But it was Malgorzata Sobanska of Poland who made a decisive move and gained a 10 second lead which Machado, the European champion, was unable to close. Ritva Lemettinen of Finland finished 7 seconds behind Machado (who was destined to be crowned world champion later in the year) in 3rd.
Liz McColgan was the first Briton in 5th place. Still feeling her way back to full fitness after nearly 3 years of injury problems, she finished one ahead of Katrin Dorre, whose 3 year reign as champion finally ended.
The men’s wheelchair race
Frei smashes course record
Pre-race favourite Heinz Frei gave an outstanding demonstration of wheelchair racing to win the London Marathon in 1:39:14, a course record by almost 4 minutes.
The Swiss racer was comfortable in a group of five including Jean-Marc Berset, also of Switzerland, George Shrattenecker of Austria, 2 time winner David Holding, and Jack McKenna. On the Isle of Dogs, Frei showed the appreciative spectators why he was a world record holder, increasing his speed to gain a 30 second advantage that grew over the rest of the race.
Holding and Shrattenecker vied for 2nd. They entered The Mall together before the Briton produced his famous sprint finish to take the runner-up spot in 1:47:36. McKenna was 4th in 1:48:58, and Ivan Newman retained the veterans’ title.
The women’s wheelchair race
Hill gets her chance
Rose Hill had an easy ride to the women’s title, thanks in part to Tanni Grey’s decision to swap the hard roads for a place in the commentary booth. Runner-up in 1994, Hill won in 2:17:02 to regain the title she first won in 1993.