In the loaded men’s race, Kenyan Martin Lel, with a pre-race 2:10:00 PB, was only the 17th fastest on times. However, his win wasn’t the surprise some made out. In 2003 he won the New York City Marathon and the World Half-Marathon Championships, and he had shown his form prior to London this year with a 59:42 half-marathon PB in Lisbon.
With the other big names failing to live up to their reputations, Lel moved away over the last few miles (a 4:38 24th mile being the turning point) and he looked very strong as he ran the world’s fastest time of 2005 with a huge breakthrough of 2:07:26.
Lel said, “I’m very happy with my time. I prepared very well but didn’t expect to win as there were so many good runners. But I felt strong, and knew I could speed up over the last few miles as the pace had felt so slow." World champion Jaquad Gharib (2:07:49) and 2004 New York winner Hendrick Ramaala (2:08:32) completed the top three.
Olympic champion Stefano Baldini finished well in fifth, just ahead of Britain’s Jon Brown, who trimmed his PB down to 2:09:31. World record holder Paul Tergat could only finish eighth (2:11:38) while defending champion Evans Rutto, who finally lost his unbeaten record, was 10th (2:12:49).
The second Brit home, Huw Lobb, made a big breakthrough to get a World Championships qualifying time with his 2:14:33, while David Taylor won the Vets race by almost 10 minutes with 2:18:47.
The Runner’s World pacers all hit their marks, as Pete Marsh (2:58:44) led the seven-minute milers, Barry Dabrowski (3:27:16) and Andy Murray (3:28:05), the sub-8:00s, Neil Tillott (3:55:52) and Jeremy Clapham (3:55:18) the nines and Steven Seaton (4:20:39) and Jane Newman (4:23:12), the 10s. Rob Spedding and Ross Preston brought home the 11-minute milers bang on target and Elizabeth Hufton led her Run/Walk group home in 5:15:15.