Farah shocked as London Marathon king Kipchoge loses cloak of invincibility


Mo Farah spoke of his shock after Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner of them all, had the cloak of invincibility ripped from his back.

The 8/1-ON favourite had won all four of his London Marathons and made history by breaking two hours on his last outing.

Yet in the biggest sensation in 40 years of the race he could finish only eighth behind Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata in a rain-drenched showdown.

“It was a shock for all of us,” said Farah. “We had expected him to win by miles, considering what times he has run.

“But that happens. We are human. We make it look easy but it’s sport. You can have an off-day, you can get things wrong.”

Shura Kitata breaks tape to win men’s race with Eliud Kipchoge out of picture

Kipchoge finished eighth, his first marathon loss in seven years

Kipchoge: ‘It’s not the end of the world’

Still, nobody saw it coming, not after world number two Kenenisa Bekele’s late withdrawal appeared to turn it into a one-horse race.

Instead a runner primed for the race by Bekele sprang the seismic shock, Kitata beating Vincent Kipchumba in a sprint finish to stop the clock on two hours 5.41 seconds.

Kipchoge blamed a blocked right ear and said his hip and leg really cramped. But a man who had won 11 of his previous 12 marathons did not overplay the excuses.

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei passes Buckingham Palace en route to retaining the women’s title

British trio Naomi Mitchell, Tracy Barlow and new national champion Natasha Cockram

“It’s not the end of the world,” insisted the Kenyan, whose 1:59 marathon time a year ago was likened in historical significance to the moon landing and Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile.

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“I’m really disappointed but it’s not suicide for Eliud Kipchoge to be beaten. It’s not going to a tree and hanging myself. This is sport and we need to embrace it.”

It looked likely to be a routine day when Brigid Kosgei, the women’s world record holder, easily retained her title in 2:18:58.

Jonny Mellor on his way to becoming British champion

Ben Connor (front) and Mellor each finished inside the Olympic qualifying time

And when Kipchoge smiled beneath a baseball cap during the first half of a race run at a fairly gentle pace, even his lead rivals felt it was just a matter of time.

Instead it was Kitata, whose training camp was shut from March to June, who splashed away from the field to leave Kipchoge (2:06:49) tasting defeat for the first time since 2013.

Farah, meanwhile, succeeded in his ambition of pace-making a Brit to an Olympic qualifying time, with Ben Connor achieving the feat in his first marathon, behind newly crowned national champion Jonny Mellor (2:10:38).





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