The 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon was a battle to the wire on the elite women’s side, with some surprises, and, for Edna Kiplagat, some vindication.
Edna Kiplagat is a champion marathon runner. The two time World Champion, in 2011 and in 2013, Edna Kiplagat has finished third (2011), second (2012) and second (2013) in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
While Edna Kiplagat gets respect, in some ways, she is the Rodney Dangerfield of the London marathon-with so many close ones, she was not getting the respect due her elite stature.
Early on in the race, with Priscah Jeptoo pushing the pace, and Florence Kiplagat, the new WR holder in the half marathon and Tirunesh Dibaba, the baby faced destroyer in her debut marathon, Edna Kiplagat was holding on for dear life, or so it seemed.
The women’s race went out in 16:45 for 5k, 32:07 for 10k, 49:08 for 15k and 65:33 for the 20k. Passing the half in 1:09:15 Jeptoo, Dibaba, and both Kiplagats were all by their lonesomes. Tiki Gelana, the 2012 Olympic Champion, had fallen off by the half way point, and would finish ninth.
The 25k, hit in 1:22:18, was no different, as Edna Kiplagat came to life, Tirunesh Dibaba, Florence Kiplgat and Priscah Jeptoo were all there.
It started getting interesting as Priscah Jeptoo dropped from the lead pack, and out of the race, just around seventeen miles.
At 30k, a crisis happened for Tirunesh Dibaba. In her own words, : When my bottle fell, I tried to pick it up because it is important to me. That made me lose lots of time with the lead runners. I was feeling pretty good, but it is difficult to lose so much time against top athletes.”
Edna Kiplagat woke up from her slumber and seemed to tell Florence Kiplagat to move and take the advantage over Dibaba. Soon, they had daylight, and that daylight grew to about 150 meters.
Edna Kiplagat and Florence Kiplagat were together from 30k to 42 kilometers.
They ran next to each other. One would push a bit, one would relax. That, however was short-lived. In fact, the last twelve kilometers was mostly pretty tame running, saving up reserves, what little that they had left, for the final battle.
In fact, as they hit twenty-six miles, Tirunesh Dibaba had moved herself back to within fourteen seconds, but would get no closer.
At twenty-six miles, Edna Kiplagat seemed to begin her move and with 300 meters to go, Edna Kiplagat was off, running fast enough to win her first Virgin Money London Marathon, after four attempts.
Running 2:20:21, Edna Kiplagat took the victory. Edna noted, after the race: ” Towards the end of the race, I tried to push a few times, but she was always there. I felt very strong so I wasn’t too worried.”
Running 2:20:24, Florence Kiplagat gave it all she had, ” I was very disappointed. I tried to keep up with her all the way to the finish, but it didn’t happen. I felt good, but it wasn’t my day today.”