The greatest distance runner in the world fell to earth today.
Pacemaker Stephen Kibet took the pack of fifteen through 5k in 14:11, 10k in 28:51 (14:40) and 15k in 43:40 (14:49). In the pack were Feyisa Lelisa, Kenenisa Bekele, Daniel Wanjiru, Ghirmay Ghebrselassie, Abel Kirui and debut marathoner Bedan Karoki.
20k was hit in 61:41, also lead by Stephen Kibet. Around 20k, Kenenisa Bekele felt blisters in his new shoes, which were affecting his legs and began to drop back. Then, Ghirmay Ghebrselassie missed his drink and Kenenisa Bekele shared his with the young Eritrean.
Cosmas Birch, another pacemaker, lead thorugh 25k in 1:13:10, when 2 time World Champ Abel Kirui took the lead, leading through 30k in 1:28:21.
By this time, Kenenisa Bekele and Ghirmay Ghebrselassie had worked back up to the lead pack. At 35k, Daniel Wanjiru, winner of Amsterdam marathon (2016, in 2:05:21), hit 1:43:42. Bekele was really motoring by this time, still a ways back, but closing.
Around 40k, Daniel Wanjiru finally realized that Kenenisa Bekele had cut the lead to 11 seconds, then to six seconds, and Wanjiru put the foot down, running a 4:27 penultimate mile.
Kenenisa Bekele was dealing with blistered feet and cramping legs, and the body that gave us two world records at 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, just could not take the final seconds away.
Daniel Wanjiru won his first World Marathon Majors in 2:05:48, eight seconds up on Kenenisa Bekele.
After the race, Daniel Wanjiru, beeming with awareness that his life had changed, was very happy with his race. Kenenisa Bekele, knows he was able to come back, and now, will be motivated to make his next race that World record he wants. No one has every held the 5000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon world records.
Kenenisa Bekele wants that distinction very bad.
We shall observe.
But, for today, Daniel Wanjiru is winner of the Virgin London Marathon, and the winner of the best marathon in the world.