2013 Virgin London Marathon: Tsegaye Kebede, taking lead after 40k, wins in 2:06:04!, by Larry Eder

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Le victoire, Tsegaye Kebede wins 2013 Virgin London! 
photo by PhotoRun.net

One could not have written a more exciting script for a marathon finish. Emmanuel Mutai has 38 second lead at 35km, and then 33 seconds at 40 km, and yet, Tsegaye Kebede won by twenty-nine seconds! 

This is how the race was won! 


In a race on a cold, clear and windless morning, the men took off like a Meatloaf album title, Bat out of hell. In this case, it was bats out of hell, as they hit the 5k in 14:23, the 10k in 28:56, and 15k in 43:43. 

Mo Farah was getting a lesson in suicidal pacing, as he stayed with the leaders, and left the course just at sixty minutes and 28 seconds, just before halfway, which was passed in 61:35. Note to self, running that fast, that early, as one keen observer noted, " made sure no one was running fast today!" 

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Tsegaye Kebede, Feyisa Lelisa, 2013 Virgin London, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

The lead pack was Emmanuel Mutail, Patrick Makau, Yared Asmeron, Wilson Kipsang, Feyisa Lelisa, Ayele Abshero, who hit the 5k between 14:23 and 14:27, with Mo Farah, who was running the first half to get a feel for marathoning, in the pack. "It felt good. The crowd was absolutely awesome...the biggest challenge is really picking up drinks, making sure you have good fluids. I stopped one time and had to go back. It is really hard." was how Mo Farah described his first experience on the London course. 

The pack hit 15k in 43:43, and by then, Patrick Makau was off the back, hitting the 15k at 45:17, and continuing to fall back, running 2:14.10 for 11th place. 

Stanley Biwott charged to the lead, hitting 20k in 58:28, with Mutai alongside and Kebede three seconds back.

Biwott and Mutai were leading at the halfway in 1:01:34, very quick for the day. Biwott and Mutai continued to churn down the roads, hitting the 25k in 1:12:59, with seven runners within two seconds. 

Stanley Biwott and Emmanuel Mutai broke it open between 25km and 30km, putting 19 seconds on Kebede. Biwott tried to break Mutai, putting seven seconds on him by 35k, but Mutai came back, and by 40k, was leading in 1:58:47, Mutai having 73 seconds on Biwott and 33 on Kebede.

As the strain of the early pace took over Emmanuel Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, the little engine that could, ran by Mutai, who could not respond. Tsegaye Kebede put 29 seconds in the last 1.2 miles on Emmanuel Mutai, with Tsegaye Kebede overcoming the sadness of 2012 and the last week, winning Virgin London in 2:06:04. 

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Victory is mine, Tsegaye Kebede, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Tsegaye Kebede, smiling from ear to ear, told the assembled media: " I had a little pain in my side during the early part of the race, but, as time went on, it got better and better. I could feel myself getting closer and closer to Mutai and that made me stronger. It was a great day to run London Marathon and even better to win." 

Emmanuel Mutai, who held on for second, noted: "Very dissappointed. I had some trouble with my hip. I thought that I might win today, but could not pick up the pace in the late stages. Now having said that I am not disappointed with my time or how I felt during the race."

Ayele Abshero, the third placer told the media, " It was a good race. My plan was to take it step by step and see how things developed. I am happy with third place, I don't think I could have done any more." 

Some may have noticed that Tsegaye put his hand on his heart as he crossed the finish line. His translator told us, when Tsegaye was asked, he said, of the gesture: " I feel bad for Boston...What happened in Boston is horrible. I wanted to show the people (of Boston) that my heart was with them." 

Enough said.

2013 Virgin London Marathon, Men, 1. Tsegaye Kebede, ETH, 2:06.04, 2. Emmanuel Mutai, KEN, 2:06.34, 3.Ayele Abshero, ETH, 2:06.57, 4.Feyisa Lelisa, ETH, 2:07.46, 5.Wilson Kipsang, KEN, 2:07:47, 6.Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda, 2:08.05, 7.Yared Asmeron, ERI, 2:08.22, 8. Stanley Biwott, KEN, 2:08.39, 9. Hafid Chani, MAR, 2:09.11, 10.Ayad Lamdassem, ESP, 2:09.28, #vlm2013




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