Kenyan winner of 2022 TCS London Marathon sets sights on breaking course record next spring
A delighted Amos Kipruto said he is already looking to beat the course record after taking his fine year to new heights with victory in the 2022 TCS London Marathon.
The Kenyan, making his debut in London, finished in 2:04:39 ahead of Leul Gebresilase and Bashir Abdi, to complete a remarkable eight days for Kenyan long-distance running following Eliud Kipchoge’s world record run in Berlin.
Kipchoge’s record time in London of 2:02:37 from 2019 is now Kipruto’s target and he says he is already looking towards the next TCS London Marathon in April 2023.
“I will come back next year and go against my time,” said Kipruto. “I ran my race this year and didn’t focus on the other competitors. Now I am the champion, I want to see if I can beat the course record.
“I’m very, very happy I won, but I can’t explain how it happened. I decided to make a decisive break, and, because of my training, I was confident and knew when to go.
“Kipchoge is an inspiration for us all and he is a legend for the young generation in Kenya,” he added. “He has been a mentor to me, and I really wish to follow in his footsteps.”
The result confirms Kipruto’s excellent form, with the recently turned 30-year-old recording a personal best in Tokyo in March. Kipruto broke away from his closest competitors with just more than two miles remaining to record his first marathon victory since Seoul in 2017.
Multiple Olympic and World Champion Kenenisa Bekele and International Marathon winner Birhanu Legese started the race as slight favourites ahead of Kipruto and Bashir Abdi – who prepared with Sir Mo Farah, an absentee after he sustained a hip injury last week.
These four opened an early advantage along with Ethiopian trio Gebresilase, Kinde Atanaw and 2021 winner Sisay Lemma, whose calf injury had seen him pull out of the Boston Marathon in the spring.
The front of the race began to fragment as the pace picked up towards the 10-mile mark, with Gebresilase continuing the momentum that had seen him record a second-place finish in Rotterdam in April.
The leading seven hit 13.1 miles at 62:14, and, despite being 50 seconds down on the time from halfway from 2021, the tempo remained high with the splits steady between miles seven and 13.
The flatter section heading east through Shadwell saw the pace pick up, with the lead group on course to run close to 2:04, although that pace dropped off around the Isle of Dogs before the course turned west back towards the centre of London.
That saw the final pacemaker step aside and it was 40-year-old Bekele who was the first casualty of the group, in just his fifth race since winning in Berlin in 2019.
Lemma was the next to feel the heat, with Gebresilase, Atanaw, Abdi, Legese and Kipruto running a tactical race heading into the final three miles – a dangerous game with Bekele closing the gap through the financial district.
The decisive push from Kipruto came through Blackfriars, digging deep to force a gap between the chasing Gebresilase and Abdi and growing his advantage to claim victory on The Mall.
Post-race, Gebresilase, whose second-placed finish was his best-ever marathon result, said he is already targeting one position better next year: “I surprised myself by coming second,” said the Ethiopian
“Unfortunately, I had some hamstring problems, but I’m hoping I can win it next year.”
Abdi, who said after the race he hoped to be back at in London, along with training partner Farah in April, added he was pleased following a run of third-place finishes.
British pair Weyney Ghebresilasie (2:11:57), who said he hoped to run quicker, and Phil Sesemann (2:12:10) rounded out the top 10.