London Marathon 2022: Amos Kipruto and Yalemzerf Yehualaw win first titles in elite races

By Katie FalkinghamBBC Sport

Kenya's Amos Kipruto and Ethiopia's Yalemzerf Yehualaw won their maiden London Marathon titles with breakaway victories in the elite men's and women's races.

Just six months after making her debut over the distance, 23-year-old Yehualaw finished in two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds - the third fastest women's London Marathon time in history.

Kipruto then won the men's race in two hours, four minutes and 39 seconds after pushing away from the rest of the field with about five kilometres to go.

Ethiopia's Leul Gebresilase was second, crossing the line 33 seconds later, with Bashir Abdi of Belgium completing the podium.

With four miles to go in the women's race and after an earlier trip, Yehualaw - the youngest ever London Marathon champion - broke clear of a group of four with the chasing 2021 champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya unable to reel her in.

That breakaway included an astonishing 4:43 mile split on mile 24.

Jepkosgei finished second, 41 seconds back, with Ethiopian Alemu Megertu placing third.

Rose Harvey was the top-placed British athlete in 10th position, while in the men's race, Weynay Ghebresilasie and Phil Sesemann were ninth and 10th respectively.

Earlier, Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner set new course records as they completed an all-Swiss sweep of the wheelchair titles.

Four-time champion Hug defended his 2021 crown in one hour, 24 minutes and 38 seconds, holding off a late overtake attempt by American Daniel Romanchuk.

Great Britain's David Weir - making his 23rd consecutive London Marathon appearance - was third.

Debrunner won her first London title in one hour, 38 minutes and 24 seconds, with Britain's Eden Rainbow-Cooper coming third.

This year's London Marathon marked the third and final time it will take place in October - moved because of the Covid-19 pandemic - with the race returning to its traditional spring date in 2023.

The races were officially started by England's Euro 2022 champions Leah Williamson, Ellen White and Jill Scott - the latter no stranger to the event after winning the Mini Marathon back in 2001.

Looming rail strikes and a string of high-profile withdrawals - including Mo Farah and women's world record holder Brigid Kosgei - hit the marathon in race week, while Britain's Charlotte Purdue was one of several athletes to pull out on Sunday morning through illness.

But with the forecasted rain holding off, some 40,927 runners took to the streets of London for the 26.2 mile route from Greenwich to the finish line on the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.

Paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her death in September, the British Army Band played the national anthem prior to the start of the elite men's race and mass start.

The Kerr family running the London Marathon
The Kerr family running the London Marathon

Among those running with inspirational stories were the Kerr family, from Annahilt in Northern Ireland, for whom Sunday's race marked their 50th marathon.

David and Sandra Kerr's 25-year-old son Aaron has a series of complex needs and uses a wheelchair, so he is pushed around the marathon course by his parents.

But prior to 2022, they were unable to take part in the London Marathon because, until this year, wheelchair participants had to complete the 26.2 miles under their own power, with no assistance. Today, four assisted wheelchair participants, including Aaron, took part after a change in the rules.

Among other runners were Anoosheh Ashoori, who was freed alongside Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from an Iranian prison in March, while Kostiantyn Bidnenko and Viktoriya Kiose ran for United 24, a foundation supporting Ukraine, after fleeing to the UK from their home country after Russia's invasion in February.

"What an amazing day it's been," said event director Hugh Brasher. "A year ago only about 90 countries could travel to the UK and now 200 can, so it really does feel like the event is back.

"The sun shone and the amazing positivity that London is renowned for shone brightly too"

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