1996 race report
The men’s race
Three out of three for Ceron
In the year that Flora came on board as the official race sponsor, this was the hottest London Marathon so far (21°C at the finish) and the times reflected it. In the men’s race, Carlos Patricio ushered the leading men around the first 13 miles at close to world record pace but when the pacemaker left the race, the mile splits quickly dropped to more than 5 minutes.
Surprisingly, given his well documented dislike for racing in hot weather, Belgium’s Vincent Rousseau spent long periods at the front of the pack while the 2 time winner, Dionicio Ceron of Mexico, lurked anonymously at the back. Another Belgian, Eddy Hellebuyck, attacked during the 17th mile, holding an 8 second lead for a short period, but the pack stayed together until 19 year old Jackson Kabiga of Kenya raised the pace at 35km. Ceron quickly latched on to the Kenyan leaving Rousseau and Britain’s Paul Evans to give chase.
Although later professing that he did not feel at all confident during the race, Ceron pulled smoothly away from Kabiga and was well clear when he crossed the finishing line for his third win in as many years. Rousseau shook off Evans and passed Kabiga for a deserved 2nd spot. Then it was Evans’ turn to get the better of the young Kenyan. The Belgrave Harrier staged his finishing effort as they passed Buckingham Palace and rocked and rolled down The Mall for a home crowd-pleasing 3rd place.
The women’s race
Patience pays off for McColgan
Norway’s Anita Hakenstad, who was chasing a 2:30:00 Olympic qualifying time, formed an early breakaway alliance with Russia’s Firaya Sultanova and Estonia’s Jane Salumae and the trio left the women’s elite pack far behind. Hakenstad forged ahead in mile 10 and passed the half way point alone in a personal half-marathon best of 73:31. At this stage she was 2 minutes clear of Liz McColgan and was to stay in the lead until the 20 mile point.
Chasing hard, McColgan did not gain sight of the fleeing Norwegian until 30km but, thus encouraged, the Scot quickly closed the gap and by the finish was over 2 minutes clear of the emerging Kenyan, Joyce Chepchumba. Defending champion, Malgorzata Sobanska from Poland, salvaged something from a lack-lustre run by taking 3rd place from Angelina Kanana of Kenya with a late rally. The bold Hakenstad, although suffering in the closing miles, was rewarded with a full marathon personal best in 5th place.
The men’s wheelchair race
Third time for Holding
David Holding became the first man to win the London Wheelchair Marathon three times as he used his finishing speed to defeat the Pole Bogden Krol in The Mall.
In the end it was a convincing victory, but until 23 miles Holding had been locked together with Krol and Jack McKenna having dropped Ivan Newman and Chris Madden at 17 miles. Holding tried to pull away from the Pole with 3 miles left but to no avail. The pair vied for supremacy in Birdcage Walk until Holding finally edged ahead to record his fastest time on the London course.
The women’s wheelchair race
And third time for Grey
Despite the heat, Tanni Grey took an early lead in the women’s race, stormed away from her rivals and dominated to the finish where she set a new course record of 2:00:10.
It was Grey’s third victory in 5 years, an achievement to place alongside her numerous Paralympic medals and add to her already glowing reputation.