Tigist Tufa won the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon today in a time of 2:23.22. Using a 5:05 mile in the 25th mile, Tufa becomes only the second Ethiopian women EVER to win the London Marathon. Derartu Tula, the double Olympic champion, won the 2001 version of the VMLM in 2:23.57.
Tufa has broken away with Tirfi Tsegaye around 23 miles and by 24 miles, they were off. The 5:05 mile in mile 25 ended any chance of Mary Keitany adding another London victory to her resume….
This is how Tigist Tufa won her race…..
Tufa was upfront almost the entire race, but no one seemed capable of moving away. The race began with Mary Keitany, Asefelech Mergia, Florence Kiplagat, Jemima Sumgong, Priscah Jeptoo, Rkia El Moukim, Ana Dulce Felix and Tufa Tigist all there.
The pack hit the 5k in 16.54, the 10k in 33.22, 15k in 50:53 and 20k in 1:08:16. All were there, but Edna Kiplagat and Diane Nukuri were running near the back of the pack.
The half way was hit in 1:11.43.
Mary Keitany, the pre-race favorite, looked ill-at-ease. She would lead, drop back in pack, then lead once again. My thoughts were that perhaps Mary was not interested in a fast first half, and that she cared only about one thing: the win.
Those who were actually on the course told us that it was quite cold, and the conditions were such that this was not going to be a fast race, cut, it was going to be a very stirring race.
The Fantastic Four as they had been called: Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo were all mentioned as key to the battle. Asefelech Mergia, who ran 2:20.02 in Dubai in January for the win, was lurking in the pack as well.
Tigist Tufa and Tirfi Tsegaye began running together at 25k, hit in 1:25.29, but eight women were together, within two seconds.
As a race develops, the later and later a big field goes, the more surprises there are. That is why I continued to be concerned with the fitness of Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat and others as one or the other would try a move and nothing held.
Asefelech Mergia, who towers above the diminutive Tufu, would run up and then drop back.
The pack of eight was together at the 30k in 1:42.36, and even with 35k at 1:59.58.
Then, the race, as it happens, began to happen. Tirfi Tsegaye, Asefelech Mergia, Tigist Tufa and Mary Keitany looked like they were hardly able to contain themselves, but, they did.
Tsegaye and Tufa took the lead, as Mergia dropped back, and Mary Keitany did not react. Mile 24 was in 5:07 and I thought Tsegaye would take the race. Then, Tigist Tufa, decided it was her race. In mile 25, Tufa dropped a 5:05 and soon, she had nearly 100 meters on the field.
Mary Keitany just stayed in third or fourth, and then, left caught Tsegaye, who was battling for second. Keitany cut the lead down, but it was just too late.
Tigist Tufa put 18 seconds on Mary Keitany in the last two miles, and became only the second Ethiopian women marathoner to win the Virgin Money London Marathon.
For Tufa, who dropped out of her last marathon after leading in 2:18 pace, this is her biggest win and puts her at the top of Ethiopian distance runners.
2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, Top Ten women, 1. Tigist Tufa, ETH, 2:23.22, 2. Mary Keitany, KEN, 2:23.40, 3. Tirfi Tsegaye, ETH, 2:23.41, 4. Aselefech Mergia, ETH, 2:23.53, 5. Florence Kiplagat, KEN, 2:24.15, 6. Jemima Sumgong, 2:24.23, 7. Priscah Jeptoo, KEN, 2:25.01, 8. Ana Dulce Felix, POR, 2:15.15, 9. Volha Mazuronak, BLR, 2:25.36, 10. Rkia El Moukim, MOR, 2:26.33, â€ª#â€Žlondonmarathonâ€¬, â€ª#â€Žrunblogrunâ€¬,â€ª#â€Žrunningnetworkâ€¬,â€ª#â€Žabbottglobalâ€¬, â€ª#â€Žadidasâ€¬,