Kenyan Olympic Champion Jepchirchir Wins Women’s Race At London Marathon While Breaking a Record

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya is about to cross the finish line to win the women’s race at the London Marathon in London, Sunday, April 21, 2024.(AP Photo/David Cliff)

by Imtiaz Popat

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya set a world record and the London Marathon women’s race. Jepchirchir had by far the strongest finish as she easily left world-record holder Tigst Assefa and two other rivals behind to sprint alone down the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace. She finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 16 seconds, with Assefa in second and Joyciline Jepkosgei in third.

That was more than 4 minutes slower than Assefa’s overall women’s world record set in Berlin last year, but it was the fastest time ever in a women-only marathon, beating the mark of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017. The elite women’s field in London starts about 30 minutes ahead of the elite men.

But more importantly for Jepchirchir, it should cement her place on Kenya’s Olympic team for Paris. She said the London Marathon was the final qualifying race before Kenya’s Olympic selectors pick their team for Paris. “I was not expecting to run that time,” Jepchirchir said. “I was trying to work extra hard to defend my title in the Olympics.”

Alexander Mutiso Munyao delivered another win for Kenya on a day the London Marathon remembered last year’s champion Kelvin Kiptum.

A race that started with a period of applause for Kiptum, who was killed in a car crash in Kenya in February, ended with his countryman and friend running alone down the final straight in front of Buckinhgam Palace to earn an impressive victory in his first major marathon.

Mutiso Munyao said he spoke to Kiptum after his win in London last year and that the world-record holder is always on his mind when he’s competing.

“He’s in my thoughts every time, because he was my great friend,” Mutiso Munyao said. “It was a good day for me.”

It was a Kenyan double on the day, with Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir pulling away late to win the women’s race and cement her status as the favorite to defend her gold in Paris.