Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
Munyao crossing the Finish Line




Alexander Mutiso Munyao claims his first London title

London Marathon debutant Alexander Mutiso Munyao saw off an incredible effort by distance running great Kenenisa Bekele to win the men’s title at the 2024 TCS London Marathon, as Emile Cairess became the first Brit to make the podium since 2018. 

For much of the race the Ethiopian Bekele was on course to bag the London Marathon title that has eluded him for so long, but it was Kenya left celebrating as one of its most exciting young marathon runners surged ahead of his older rival – by 14 years – to win in 2:04:01. 

As so often happens, it was two East African giants of the road battling it out for victory as Bekele showed his experience to keep pace with Munyao before experiencing heartbreak along the Embankment as the Kenyan opened up a six-second lead that proved to be decisive. 

Bekele has 21 global titles and countless records to his name, including setting a world masters’ record for over-40s in Valencia, so the battle that unfolded today could be boiled down to youth versus experience. Indeed, the infatigable Bekele set a new over-40s record here, beating that time in Spain by four seconds to finish in 2:04:15 - which will serve as some consolation. But Munyao, 27, showed real marathon pedigree when he ran the fourth-fastest time over the distance last year at Valencia in a time of 2:03:11. 

When pre-race favourite Tamirat Tola dropped away from the leading pack around the 30K-mark, Munyao sensed his opportunity and matched the pace of veteran Bekele, eventually getting ahead and opening that insurmountable lead to secure his first TCS London Marathon title. 

Tola was the top returner from London last year, following the tragic passing of 2023 champion, Kelvin Kiptum, and the withdrawal of Geoffrey Kamworor due to injury. 

Reacting to his stunning victory, Munyao said: “At around 40K is where I thought I could win. My focus was good and I felt good. This is the biggest marathon of my career and it means a lot. I think very many good things are yet to come. 

“Kelvin Kiptum was very much in my thoughts today. Let him rest in peace.” 

Before the race, there was a moment of applause and a tribute paid to Kiptum, who died in a car crash in February. His coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also died in the crash in Kenya. Kiptum, 24, had the sport of marathon running at his feet, after he followed up his stunning course-record run in London (2:01:25) with a world record in Chicago last October of 2:00:35.  

This was a key race for the British runners vying for a place on the 2024 Paris Olympics team, with GB selectors meeting this coming week to decide the two remaining marathon spots. Philip Sesemann is already on the team after running inside the qualification standard (2:08:10) at the Seville Marathon in February, finishing 17th in 2:08:04. 

In what proved to be a battle of the Brits for third place, Emile Cairess, 26, ran a new PB of 2:06:46 and well within the Paris standard to make the podium. Mahamed Mahamed, 26, claimed fourth place in 2:07:05. The pair now have the second and third fastest times ever run by Britons. 

Cairess, who had his eye on breaking Sir Mo Farah’s British record of 2:05:11, said: “It was very windy out there. For the first 13K it was feeling very hard. I’m absolutely delighted to be going to the Olympics – it’s a dream come true. I wanted to run a bit quicker today, but the conditions didn’t allow. 

“When one of the pacers dropped out, the pace began to struggle and dropped a bit, and I had to decide to leave them, or stay behind. 

“Overall it was very gusty, but I managed to sneak into third place. My target next time will be to run faster, but I’m delighted with the qualification [for the 2024 Paris Olympics].” 

Mahamed said: “Finishing fourth was just amazing, and it makes it even more special today to know I am going to Paris. 

“This really is a dream come true for me and I just can’t stop smiling.” 

When asked about what today’s efforts meant for British long-distance running, Mahamed said: “It’s just getting better and better, and we [himself and Cairess] have a few more years at the top.”