Elite Race Winners: press conference quotes
Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei met the media this morning (Monday 29 April) to reflect on their historic victories at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Kipchoge won a record-breaking fourth London Marathon title in the second quickest time in history after a titanic battle with three young Ethiopians who threatened his supremacy for all but the last two miles.
The Kenyan led from start to finish, gradually shedding challengers as he raced across the famous London course quicker than anyone else in the event’s history, eventually taking almost 30 seconds from his own course record as he crossed the line in 2 hours 2 minutes 37 seconds.
Behind him Mosinet Geremew won the battle for second with a huge personal best of 2:02:55, the third quickest ever, ensuring the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon will be remembered as the first ever to see two men dip under 2:03.
Kosgei’s victory was equally impressive as the 25-year-old produced the fastest ever second half in a women’s marathon to defeat reigning champion Vivian Cheruiyot and become the youngest women’s winner of this prestigious race.
After a slow start, Kosgei outbattled her compatriot over the closing miles and eventually won by nearly two minutes in 2:18:20, shaving 15 seconds from the personal best she set when winning the Chicago Marathon last October.
With their second victories in the current Abbott World Marathon Majors contest, the two Kenyans now top the Series XII leaderboards with unbeatable totals of 50 points.
Here’s what they said this morning:
Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya)
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon men’s champion
Kipchoge defied the chilly and blustery conditions to produce a performance for the ages finishing in a time only he has bettered. He led virtually from the first stride to the last and destroyed a world-class field with half marathon splits of 61:37 and 61:00. The victory was his 10th in succession at the 26.2-mile distance, his 11th in 12 career races. With 50 points and the two quickest times ever during Series XII, the Olympic champion is in prime position to be crowned Abbott World Marathon Majors winner for a fourth time – more than any other athlete, male or female.
What he said:
“The more you are humble, the more you become successful. The more you have a lot of pride, the more you can fall. It is better to be humble and succeed for a long time.”
“My children watched the race on TV in Kenya and I called them. They said a big, huge congratulations. The young boys know that I have won a marathon but they don’t know how big the marathon is.
“It’s great to race in a competitive race. It's good to have people who can push you over the last kilometres. Last year from 35km I was running alone, but yesterday was more tactical. It's good for sport.
“I had three people behind me and you never know what’s happening at your back.
“I am a man who doesn’t like celebrations. My celebration was yesterday at the Finish Line. It’s good to go back and stay with my family, and stay focused.
“I will have some massage and ice baths and rest for two to three weeks. And I will start training in two or three weeks knowing what the next goal is.
“I have a great team with my sponsors, management and coaches. I will get together and have tea and dinner with them. But I am not drinking.
“I would like to win all six Marathon Majors before I stop. I love the sport. That's what drives me. When I wake up in the morning that's my ignition key.”
Brigid Kosgei (Kenya)
2019 Virgin Money London Marathon women’s champion
Kosgei triumphed over a field billed as the deepest in history by running the fastest second half of a women’s marathon ever seen.
The Kenyan scorched through the latter stages in 66 minutes 42 seconds, taking a minute out of the field between 35km and 40km, and notched up her sixth marathon victory in her 10th race with the ninth fastest time in history. In beating Cheruiyot, Kosgei reversed last year’s result and left the champion in her wake, along with the three-time champion Mary Keitany, who was fifth, and another of her prestigious compatriots, Berlin champion Gladys Cherono, who was pipped for third place by Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje.
Remarkably, Kosgei didn’t take a single drink throughout the second half of the race despite running five-minute mile splits from mile 18.
What she said:
“In the second half my body started to move and I started to push a lot. My body said push, push, push. I was comfortable for running the second half fast.
“In the first half we were all looking at each other and everyone was strong. So I decided to move. I said to myself, ‘Let’s go’ then Vivian moved with me.
“Yesterday, everyone in the race is a champion. We could have gone a lot faster but I could see my colleagues Vivian and Mary and we were looking at each other saying ‘Who will go? Who will go?’ Everyone was waiting for each other.
“That’s why the first half was 71 minutes. That was our problem. In the end I decided to just go, so I think with a faster first half I can run a lot faster.
“My parents, friends, husband and kids will celebrate at home with me. They were all happy with the race yesterday.”