2011 Virgin London Marathon: Emmanuel Mutai wins (finally), in 2:04:40, in Course Record!, by Larry Eder

Emmanuel Mutai, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, by PhotoRun.net

After two thirds, and a second in Virgin London, Emmanuel Mutai showed that the triumph of the dream  is most important. Mutai ran a gutty race. This is how I saw it, from the media room of the Virgin London Media room.
April 17, 2011
2011 Virgin London Marathon
36,000 feet above the Atlantic

Fourth place is, well, out of the medals. In the most major event, fourth place is the worst place known to God, as one has been better than most, but just not in the medals. It either depresses or challenges the athlete. Decide for yourself about Emmanuel Mutai.

Emmanuel Mutai has finished in fourth place ttwo times at the Virgin London Marathon. In 2008, Mutai was fourth in the Flora London Marathon, in a time of 2:06.15. In 2009, Emmanuel  was again fourth in the Flora London Marathon, in a time of 2:06.53. That summer, running neck and neck with Abel Kirui, Mutai took the silver medal at the 2009 Berlin world championships marathon, running 2:07.43.

Emmanuel Mutai is a relative neophyte in the marathon wars. Mutai first ran a marathon in Rotterdam, finishing fifth in 2:13.06 in the 2007 Fortis Rotterdam race. The following October, Emmanuel won his second marathon, running a splendid 2:06.29 for first at the Amsterdam marathon.

His personal bests over 10k are quite modest, a 28:21.14 in Hengelo in 2006, and a 27:51 on the roads in Marseille, France from 2006. It is over the 20k and half marathon distance where Emmanuel gets rolling: 57:33 in 2008 for the 20k at the Alphen 20k, in Holland.

In 2010, Mutai ran 62:13 in Eldoret, Kenya on February 7, finishing third. On March 21, Emmanuel Mutai ran the half marathon distance in Lisbon, Portugal, running his PB by thirty seconds, again finishing third, running a strong 60:03, just barely over the sixty minute mark.

In 2010, Mutai returned to the Virgin London marathon. Different title sponsor, different position: second! This time, Emmanuel ran 2:06.23, his fourth time under 2:07!  In the fall of 2010, September, to be exact, Emmanuel ran 63:18 for a half marathon in Lisbon, taking fifth-this was his race preparation for the ING New York City Marathon in November 2010.

Emmanuel battled Gebre Gebremariam at ING New York in November 2010, taking second in 2:09:18. So, Emmanuel had broken the fourth place curse, finishing second in the two biggest races of the year.

So, what we know about Emmanuel Kipkikichir Mutai? The guy has some wheels and the guy is moving on up in the marathon food chain.

The 2011 London Virgin Marathon had pace setters, Shadrak Kosgei and Ahmad Hassan Abdullah, whose goal was to get the front pack of twelve through the half way point in 1:02 and some change-a pace where they could challenge the world record of 2:03:59, set by one Haile Gebrselassie.

The front pack was one of the best ever assembled. Tsegaye Kebede, 2010 Virgin London champ, Patrick Makau, the 2010 Berlin marathon champ, Martin Lel, a former London champ, who had not finished a marathon since 2008, Abel Kirui, the 2009 World Champion over the marathon distance, Emmanuel Mutai (you just read about him), James Kwambai, 2:04.27 from Rotterdam in 2009, and Jaouad Gharib.

Gharib is the 2003, 2005 World Champ, 2008 Olympic silver medalist, three time third place in Virgin London and second in Bank of America Chicago in 2007. In 2010, Gharib, all the ripe old age of 37, won Fukuoka. He is a tough competitor and knows all of the tricks about big city marathons. One does not let Jaouad Gharib on one's shoulder with a 1,000 meters to go!

So the crowd took off at the appointed time of 9:45 am. The running was swift but not insane. The 5 kilometer was hit in
14:24, then a 10k in 29:23, then a 15 kilometer split of 44:26, and 20 kilometers in 59:29.

The cast of usual suspects were there: Abel Kirui, Tsegaye Kebede, Martin Lel, James Kwambai and Emmanuel Mutai were all there. Patrick Makau was about six seconds back, with Jaouad Gharib, who does like to move around a bit in the pack. Marlison Gomes Dos Santos, the two time ING NYCM champion was there, as was debuting America Mo Trafeh, who was seeming to have some trouble, after having looked good for the first nineteen kilometers. Trafeh would not finish.

Note to self: debuting marathoners, really should take the time to respect the marathon, as the distance does demand respect.

The pace setters did their job, taking the lead pack through the half way point in 1:02.27-almost perfect. The pack, which started at fifteen, was down to ten.

Kebede, Makau, Mutai, Abderrahime Bouramdane, Martin Lel, Abel Kirui all were there, with Jaouad Gharib and Marlison Dos Santos menacing. This pack, lead by pace maker Shadrack Kosgei, hit the 25 kilometer mark in 1:14.16.

Then, the race got real interesting. The mile between seventy and 18 was hit in 4:29, as the guys started to see who was serious. Tsegaye Kebede, last year's winner and this year's prohibitive favorite, was leading, with Emmanuel Mutai, Martin Lel and Abel Kirui in attendance. James Kwambai, Patrick Makau, plus Dos Santos made it nine up front, as Kosgei, the pacesetter, moved off the course.

Kebede was leading when the pack of nine hit the 30 kilometer point in 1:29:20. The relative calm would be gone in seconds.

Remember my preface on Emmanuel Mutai? Well, it seems that Mr. Mutai wanted to win this race. He wanted to win this race a lot. So, between 30 kilometers and 25 kilometers, Emmanuel Mutai put Mr. Kebede back in fifth and Martin Lel and Patrick Makau, twenty seconds back! Running the fastest five kilometers of the race, in a blistering 14:16, Emmanuel Mutai broke the race wide open. The break happened just about 1:36:00 into the race, as Lel, Mutai and Kebede, but, Kebede fell back and was passed by Patrick Makau.

Mutai just blasted that five kilometers, hitting 35k in 1:43:36. Emmanuel wanted to win the 2011 Virgin London Marathon, and come hell or high water, this man was on a mission. Lel and Patrick Makau were twenty seconds back, in 1:43:56. Marlison Dos Santos was fourth in 1:44: and Tsegaye Kebede, was in his own corner of hell, running in fifth in 1:44:12. Kirui was at 1:44.25 and Bouramdane was at 1:45.01, with Gharib in 1:45.02. Mutai looked hell bent on improving his last marathon performance of second place at the 2010 ING NYCM. Mutai wanted first, and was running like that.

If Mutai could hold this pace, he would be the winner. Emmanuel Mutai persisted, running the five kilometers between 35 and 40 kilometers in 14:29 , hitting the 40 kilometer mark in 1:58.05. Mutai is on a 2:04.54 pace.

Emmanual Mutai did not stop. He runs mile 24 in 4:34! Not only is he winning, he is destroying the course record! Mutai has built up a 53 second record over Martin Lel. Patrick Makau is 1:08 behind, with Gomes in fourth place and Kebede in fifth place (2:07 back).

Emmanuel Mutai continued to blast the last two miles, not only taking the win, but the course record, running a scintillating 2:04:39 for the victory. So, after two fourth places and a second place in London, Emmanuel Mutai, the marathoner who would not give up, has a victory, a course record and the fastest time in the world for 2011!

Patrick Makau caught Martin Lel, and the battle for second came down to a final sprint. Never, ever bet against Martin Lel, as the guy has the speed of a 400 meter runner. He smells the finish, and for his first finish since 2008, Lel made it count-taking out the 2010 Berlin champ, Patrick Makau, at his own game, running 2:05.44 to Makau's 2:05.45! Marlis Gomes Dos Santos improved to a 2:06.43 and a new South American record, with Tsegaye Kebede, the 2010 Virgin London champ, in fifth in 2:07.48!

As 35,303 starters: 22,837 men and 12,466 women continue their own struggles-and it was getting warm as we left, now I will tell you the story about the women's race.

The marathon is a long race. Lots of things can happen over 26.2 miles. It is one thing to run a marathon, it is quite another thing to race a marathon.

results: Masses

 results | men | split: finish time
place overall place gender place category name club runner no category HALF finish time
1 1 1 » Mutai, Emmanuel (KEN)   8 18-39 01:02:44 02:04:40 Add runner to 'my favourites'
2 2 2 » Lel, Martin (KEN)   27 18-39 01:02:45 02:05:45 Add runner to 'my favourites'
3 3 3 » Makau, Patrick (KEN)   3 18-39 01:02:45 02:05:45 Add runner to 'my favourites'
4 4 4 » Dos Santos, Marlison Gomes (BRA)   13 18-39 01:02:45 02:06:34 Add runner to 'my favourites'
5 5 5 » Kebede, Tsegaye (ETH)   1 18-39 01:02:44 02:07:48 Add runner to 'my favourites'
6 6 6 » Gharib, Jaouad (MAR)   7 18-39 01:02:45 02:08:26 Add runner to 'my favourites'
7 7 7 » Bouramdane, Abderrahime (MAR)   10 18-39 01:02:45 02:08:42 Add runner to 'my favourites'
8 8 8 » Safronov, Dmitry (RUS)   15 18-39 01:03:50 02:09:35 Add runner to 'my favourites'
9 9 9 » Bat-Ochir, Serod (MGL)   18 18-39 01:03:50 02:11:35 Add runner to 'my favourites'
10 10 10 » Shelley, Mike (AUS)   20 18-39 01:05:51 02:11:38 Add runner to 'my favourites'
11 11 11 » Rothlin, Viktor (SUI)   9 18-39 01:03:50 02:12:44 Add runner to 'my favourites'
12 12 12 » Cordero, Carlos (MEX)   41 18-39 01:05:47 02:13:13 Add runner to 'my favourites'
13 13 13 » Lehmkhule, Jason (USA)   19 18-39 01:05:42 02:13:40 Add runner to 'my favourites'
14 14 14 » Merrien, Lee (GBR)   34 18-39 01:06:37 02:14:27 Add runner to 'my favourites'
15 15 15 » Lemoncello, Andrew (GBR)   22 18-39 01:05:51 02:15:24 Add runner to 'my favourites'
16 16 16 » Martinez, Jose Manuel (ESP)   12 18-39 01:04:44 02:15:25 Add runner to 'my favourites'
17 17 17 » Faurschou, Jesper (DEN)   833 18-39 01:08:00 02:16:15 Add runner to 'my favourites'
18 18 18 » Luna, Tomas (MEX)   47 18-39 01:05:51 02:16:58 Add runner to 'my favourites'
19 19 19 » Webb, Dave (GBR)   32 18-39 01:06:37 02:17:41 Add runner to 'my favourites'
20 20 20 » Vargas, Daniel (MEX)   43 18-39 01:05:47 02:19:26 Add runner to 'my favourites'
21 21 21 » GILBERT, JOHN J (GBR) KENT ATH... 754 18-39 01:09:42 02:19:28 Add runner to 'my favourites'
22 22 22 » WAY, STEVEN J (GBR) BOURNEMO... 735 18-39 01:09:13 02:19:39 Add runner to 'my favourites'
23 23 23 » VERMEESCH, PIETER (GBR) GARDEN C... 919 18-39 01:09:13 02:19:45 Add runner to 'my favourites'
24 24 24 » NATALI, PAOLO (GBR) ACHILLES 709 18-39 01:09:05 02:19:53 Add runner to 'my favourites'
26 26 25 » Williams, Martin (GBR)   36 18-39 01:07:07 02:20:34 Add runner to 'my favourites'

For more on the Virgin London Marathon, please go to www.virginlondonmarathon.com

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