Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede unleashed a late surge to regain the men's title at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon as Priscah Jeptoo led a Kenyan one-two to add the women's crown to the Olympic silver medal she won on the same London streets last August.
Kebede produced one of the most dramatic finishes of recent years, coming from nearly a minute behind the leaders at 35km to overhaul course record holder Emmanuel Mutai in the last quarter-mile. He sprinted across the line in 2:06:04, flashing a huge smile and victory sign at the photographers' gantry.
The leaders had gone through half way inside world record pace, but while many of the pre-race favourites wilted over the second half, Kebede judged it perfectly, getting stronger and stronger in the closing miles to claim his second London title.
In 2010 Kebede won from the front in rainy conditions. This time he battled back under cloudless London skies for a victory that looked all but impossible just a few miles earlier.
"I had a little pain in my side in the early part of the race," explained Kebede afterwards. "But as time went on it got better and better.
"I could feel myself getting closer and closer to Mutai and that made me stronger. It was a great day to run the London Marathon, and even better to win."
Mutai took the runner-up place 30 seconds back, while Ayele Abshero ensured Ethiopia had two on the podium for the first time, finishing third in 2:06:57.
While there was joy for Ethiopia in the men's race, there were tears in the women's when their Olympic champion Tiki Gelana was knocked to the ground by wheelchair racers at a feeding station.
Battered and bruised, she kept going to eventually finish 16th while Jeptoo strode away from world champion Edna Kiplagat to win the women's title in 2:20:15, just a second outside the personal best she ran to finish third last year.
"I knew this morning I was going to run well," she said. "There was such a good field you were always worried someone would do better, and it wasn't until around 25 miles that I got my confidence back and felt I could win."
Kiplagat finished second in 2:21:32, taking the runner-up spot for the second year in a row, while Yukiko Akaba sprung a surprise, coming from behind to claim third place in 2:24:43, the first Japanese woman ever to make the London Marathon podium.
1. Priscah Jeptoo KEN 2:20:15
2. Edna Kiplagat KEN 2:21:32
3. Yukiko Akaba JPN 2:24:43
4. Atsede Baysa ETH 2:25:14
5. Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:25:46
6. Florence Kiplagat KEN 2:27:05
7. Mai Ito JPN 2:28:37
8. Alevtina Biktimirova RUS 2.30:02
9. Susan Partridge GBR 2:30:46
10. Irvette van Zyl RSA 2:31:26
1. Tsegaye Kebede ETH 2:06:04
2. Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:06:34
3. Ayele Abshero ETH 2:06:57
4. Feyisa Lilesa ETH 2:07:46
5. Wilson Kipsang KEN 2:07:47
6. Stephen Kiprotich UGA 2:08:05
7. Yared Asmerom ERI 2:08:22
8. Stanley Biwott KEN 2:08:39
9. Hafid Chani MAR 2:09:11
10. Ayad Lamdassem ESP 2:09:28
11. Patrick Makau KEN 2:14:10
12. Patrick Rizzo USA 2:16:05
13. Derek Hawkins GBR 2:16:50
(Stories from the Virgin London Marathon team)
|Ethiopian legend Abebe Bikila named in 2012 IAAF Hall of Fame||(9)|
|Mavis Hutchison of Fish Hoek, South Africa’s Galloping Granny||(9)|
|Kipchoge, Defar, Dibaba, Aman and Chepseba impress in Birmingham - Aviva Grand Prix wrap||(7)|
|Edwin Soi defeats two world champions at BoClassics||(7)|
|Visa to sponsor London Media Centre||(7)|