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Daniel Wanjiru defeats all-time great Kenenisa Bekele to win the London Marathon

Bekele battled back after falling off world record pace, and nearly caught up to Wanjiru on his breakthrough day, making for a thrilling finish

Kenyan runners have dominated yet another elite World Marathon Major field taking home both shiny gold medals for the second weekend in a row.

Daniel Wanjiru raced hard along the streets of London this morning to become the champion of the London Marathon with his leading time of 2:05:48. For many, the pre-race favourite was Kenenisa Bekele, one of the greatest distance runners of all time with a 2:03:03 PB in the marathon and the world record in the both the 5,000m and 10,000m.

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Bekele was second across the line of the highly regarded London race this morning running 2:05:57. Kenyan athlete Bedan Karoki took the third spot with his 2:07:41 marathon.

The race came down between Wanjiru and Bekele in the end, though to spectators, it was clear that Wanjiru would take the win after having opened up a gap between himself and Bekele. At around 40K, Bekele put in a bit of a surge attempting to salvage his race and close in on the Kenyan. Wanjiru, having gone through mile 25 in 4:27, was out to prove himself on the course though. He wound up defeating Bekele by eight seconds. 

Wanjiru’s London splits

Split Time Diff min/km km/h
5K 00:14:12 14:12 02:51 21.14
10K 00:28:52 14:40 02:56 20.46
15K 00:43:41 14:49 02:58 20.25
20K 00:58:31 14:51 02:59 20.22
Half 01:01:43 03:13 02:56 20.52
25K 01:13:10 11:27 02:56 20.47
30K 01:28:21 15:11 03:03 19.76
35K 01:43:42 15:21 03:05 19.55
40K 01:59:09 15:27 03:06 19.42
Finish 02:05:48 06:40 03:03 19.76

Unlike last weekend’s Boston Marathon, the men’s elite field began to break up earlier on in the race. They started out fast going through the first 15K in 43:40– a pace ahead of Dennis Kimetto’s world record time. Around the halfway mark is when the leading pack started to separate. The top men went through the 21.1K split in 61.41 with the lead men all running a sub-five minute 13th mile. 

Bekele’s London splits

Split Time Diff min/km km/h
5K 00:14:12 14:12 02:51 21.15
10K 00:28:51 14:40 02:56 20.47
15K 00:43:40 14:49 02:58 20.26
20K 00:58:31 14:51 02:59 20.21
Half 01:01:44 03:13 02:56 20.47
25K 01:13:16 11:33 02:58 20.29
30K 01:28:38 15:22 03:05 19.54
35K 01:43:56 15:19 03:04 19.59
40K 01:59:18 15:22 03:05 19.52
Finish 02:05:57 06:39 03:02 19.81

Wanjiru was able to still put in the best performance of the day. His 2:05:48 is not a PB– that mark still stands at 2:05:21– however having defeated Bekele at a World Marathon Major is no doubt an incredible feat that has now established him as one of the best marathon runners on the scene. 

Men’s Top Five

1. Daniel Wanjiru, Kenya, 2:05:48
2. Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 2:05:57
3. Bedan Karoki, Kenya, 2:07:41
4. Abel Kirui, Kenya, 2:07:45
5. Alphonce Simbu, Tanzania, 2:09:10