The men’s race
Anton is able
6 miles from home in the men’s race, 33-1 outsider Abdelkader El Mouaziz looked set for a surprise victory when he broke away and established a 40 metre lead. The Moroccan gradually ran out of steam and was overhauled inside the last mile by world champion Abel Anton of Spain, who cost himself a $25,000 course record bonus by waving at the crowd as he came down The Mall.
Anton ran 2:07:57, missing Antonio Pinto’s 1997 record by 2 seconds. El Mouaziz was 2nd in 2:08:07 and defending champion Pinto 3rd with 2:08:13.
Jon Brown was Britain’s best, finishing 8th in 2:11:10 after suffering in the closing stages. Paul Evans failed to finish (stomach cramps), along with Olympic champion Josiah Thugwane (hamstring) and 3rd favourite Elijah Lagat (back).
The women’s race
McKiernan times it right
Like Anton, Ireland’s Catherina McKiernan also timed her run to perfection. McKiernan, odds-on favourite for the women’s title after recording the fastest ever debut marathon in Berlin in September 1997, was 90 seconds down at one point on Adriana Fernandez of Mexico. Approaching 17 miles, the 29 year old Dublin-based runner broke away from the defending champion Joyce Chepchumba and 1996 winner Liz McColgan to launch her pursuit.
4 miles later she overhauled 2nd placed Lidia Simon of Romania, then passed Fernandez soon afterwards, and surged on unchallenged to win in 2:26:26. McColgan (2:26:54) and Chepchumba (2:27:22) were 2nd and 3rd.
The men’s wheelchair race
Frei dominates again
World record holder Heinz Frei broke his own course record by almost 4 minutes to regain the title in 1:35:18. The Swiss racer made his intentions clear from the start as he went away like a sprinter. By half way he had an unassailable 3 minute lead over the chasing pack which he extended to more than 7 minutes by the finish.
Claude Pisorat of France, a multi track gold medallist at the Atlanta Paralympics, demonstrated his racing range by taking 2nd in 1:42:43 with his countryman Denis Lemeunier 3rd in 1:44:03. David Holding, a 4 times winner, was again the first Briton home in 4th, while the veteran Ivan Newman was 5th.
The women’s wheelchair race
Grey takes number four
Tanni Grey won her 4th London Marathon title in 7 years to add another honour to her many track titles from numerous Paralympic Games.
Following her to the line this year was Nicola Jarvis, a 19 year old who became the first racer to graduate from the Mini Wheelchair Marathon to a podium place in the senior race.