Shura Kitata has won the elite men's race at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon in a time of 2:05:41.

The wet conditions and unfamiliar looped course in St James’s Park revealed that world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge was human after all, as Kitata denied him the chance to make history by becoming the first male runner to win five London Marathons.

Kipchoge started with a typically solid, sensible pace that meant the rest of the world-class field were never far behind for the majority of the race. It wasn’t until around two miles to go that a close pack that contained Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, Sisay Lemma and Mosinet Geremew, plus Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba, began to move away from Kipchoge – who ended up in a surprising eighth place.

But it was Amsterdam Marathon champion Kipchumba and last year’s fourth-placed athlete Kitata who broke away for a nail-biting sprint finish that saw the confident Ethiopian storm past the long-strided Kenyan to finish just one second ahead, with compatriot Lemma third in 2:05:45.

Kitata said afterwards: “All the time I kept myself in the back to attack when I needed to. When I went, I tried to push the pace more than before. I went into the last lap to beat the others.

“First of all, I am very happy to win this race against a very strong field for my country and for my group of teammates. It is very good and will be really good to boost morale.

“My coach, because of Covid-19, is back in Ethiopia. I will bring back the medals for him and I am very happy with that for him.”

Jonny Mellor is British champion, coming in 13th with a sub-PB time of 2:10:38, with Ben Connor (2:11:20) and Josh Griffiths (2:13:11) the next Brits home, after running a pace set by Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah.

The elite men’s race was the second elite race of the day at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Brigid Kosgei defended her title in the elite women's race earlier in the day, ahead of Sara Hall and Ruth Chepngetich.