Sifan Hassan wins TCS London Marathon in her debut

Sifan Hassan wins TCS London Marathon in her debut

The reigning Olympic champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, put on an impressive performance in London Sunday morning, winning her first marathon in a battle to the finish and breaking the tape in 2:18:34 (a Dutch national record). Alemu Megertu of Ethiopia, who finished third last year, followed three seconds later in 2:18:37, and Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic champion who went on to win the New York City Marathon in 2021 and the Boston Marathon in 2022, had to settle for third after leading for most of the final portion of the race; her time was 2:18:38.

Sifan Hassan
Sifan Hassan wins in her marathon debut at the 2023 TCS London Marathon. Photo: Kevin Morris

It’s fair to say Hassan felt no pressure going into the race, this being her first marathon, and she indicated that after recovering from the marathon she would return to the track to prepare for the shorter races at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Hungary. Hassan bided her time, patiently hanging back (as she is often seen to do on the track). She went through 5 km in 10th position, in a relatively leisurely 16:13 (3:08 per km); by the halfway point, she had only moved up one position. At 30 km, she was in seventh, just off the lead pack, which was led by Jepchirchir. At 40 km, she was still in a pack of four women who then dropped the defending champion, Yalemzerf Yehualaw. In the final 500 meters, Hassan unleashed the kick that has rarely failed her, surging into the lead down the Mall to take the win.

Hassan’s win is all the more remarkable, considering she trained through Ramadan, which involves fasting during the day for religious Muslims.

World record holder and two-time London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgeiwho has been dealing with a knee injury, started the race but pulled off the course after only a few minutes.

“I had some problems with my hip, and I have been taping [it], but I forgot today, and it locked up around 20 km,” Hassan said after the race. “I couldn’t believe it … I had no thoughts of winning. I didn’t practice how to drink. I had a whole month of Ramadan … I have no words … I feel like an Olympic champion. To win in London–it’s amazing.”

Hassan confirmed that she will return to the track for the world championships, but said she plans to race another marathon in the US (Chicago or New York), possibly as soon as this fall.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptumwho pulled off the fastest debut in marathon history at last year’s Valencia Marathon (finishing in 2:01:53, smashing Eliud Kipchoge’s course record of 2:02:37 and less than a minute off his world record), brought his personal best down another 28 seconds to break the tape in a shocking 2:01:25, only 16 seconds off the world record. Kiptum surged at 30 km, repeatedly looking over his shoulder to see how close his rivals were, but managed to hang on for the win, almost three full minutes ahead of Geoffrey Kamworor in second place (he finished in 2:04:23) and reigning world champion Tamirat Tola in third (2:04:59).

Women’s Top 10

  1. Sifan Hassan (NED) 2:18:34
  2. Alemu Megertu (ETH) 2:18:37
  3. Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:18:38
  4. Sheila Chepkirui (KEN) 2:18:51
  5. Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 2:18:53
  6. Judith Jeptum Korir (KEN) 2:20:41
  7. Almaz Ayana (ETH) 2:20:44
  8. Tadu Teshome (ETH) 2:21:31
  9. Sofia Yaremchuk (ITA) 2:24:02
  10. Susannah Sullivan (USA) 2:24:27

Women’s Wheelchair Race

Australia’s Madison de Rozario scored her first London victory, in a sprint finish, in 1:38:51. Switzerland’s Manuela Schär crossed the line a second later, with defending champion Catherine Debrunner, also of Switzerland, third in 1:38:54. Last week’s Boston Marathon champion, Susannah Scaroni of the US, was fourth in 1:38:57.

For complete results, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *