Sisay Lemma and Joyciline Jepkosgei win London Marathon 2021 as defending champions falter

Ethiopian Lemma took the men's title while Kenyan Jepkosgei took the women's race on the day her 10k world record record was broken by Kalkidan Gezahegne in Geneva.

By Evelyn Watta
Picture by ALEX DAVIDSON

Ethiopia's Sisay Lemma won the men's London Marathon, racing to victory in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 1 second on Sunday October 3, after Kenya's Joycline Jepkosgei won the women's race in a blistering 2:17.43.

A month after after dropping out of the Olympic marathon in Sapporo, Lemma bounced back in style in the English capital.

He stayed with the leading pack of five runners, including Kenyan pair Vincent Kipchumba and Evans Chebet, as well as Ethiopia's Mosinet Geremew, before his decisive kick at the 40km mark. Lemma surged ahead once more with 2km to go on the packed streets of London and held on for an historic victory.

Kipchumba, runner-up last year in London, finished second again with 2:04.28, while Geremew came third in 2:04.41.

Last year's 2020 London Marathon winner Shura Kitata finished in sixth.

Joyciline Jepkosgei wins the 2021 London Marathon
Picture by ALEX DAVIDSON

Jepkosgei second World Marathon Major win

Jepkosgei finished ahead of Ethiopians Degitu Azimerew [2:17.58] and third placed Ashete Bekere [2:18.18].

Defending champion Brigid Kosgei finished fourth in 2:18.40, just two months after she finished second at the Olympics in Sapporo.

After running for most of the race with the pack of five that included compatriot Kosgei, Israel’s Lorna Salpeter, Ethiopian duo of Ashete Bekere and Degitu Azimeraw, Jepkosgei, the current half marathon world record holder in contests with mixed gender, broke away at 35km mark and never looked back.

She held on for a strong and convincing victory in her first full London Marathon race after previous pacing duties at the event.

It was the second major World Marathon win for the 29-year-old, who also won the New York Marathon in 2019.

Olympic silver medallist breaks 10k world record

Jepkosgei won the London title on the same day her 10km world record was broken by Olympics 10,000m silver medallist Kalkidan Gezahegne in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ethiopian-born Bahraini Gezahegne won the Giants Geneva 10k in 29 minutes 38 seconds, slashing five seconds off the Kenyan's mark set in Prague in 2017.

Gezahegne finished second, behind Sifan Hassan, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World half marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya won the men's race in 26:51.