LONDON: Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru held off a late charge from Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele to win the London Marathon on Sunday in two hours five minutes 48 seconds.
Kenya’s Mary Keitany broke the women’s only world record en route to her third London Marathon triumph, finishing in 2:17.01 to beat Paula Radcliffe’s previous best by 41 seconds.
Radcliffe still holds the overall record of 2:15.25, which she set in a mixed gender race at the London Marathon in 2003 when she used male runners to help set the pace.
The IAAF recognises two marathon world records for women, one for “mixed gender” and the other for “women only.”
Bekele, the world record-holder at 5,000m and 10,000m, fought back brilliantly from being distanced by the front group just after the halfway mark but could not overhaul Wanjiru, who won by nine seconds in his first appearance at the race.
Kenyan Bedan Karoki finished one minute 53 seconds down in third on his marathon debut.
Bekele, 34, hoped to break the world record and had been on schedule after 13 miles, but the pace slowed significantly in the second half of the race.
In the women’s race, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia finished 56 seconds adrift of Keitany in second place, while Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia was third.