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Peres Jepchirchir Record




Peres Jepchirchir sets women-only world record

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir broke the women-only world record to add the 2024 TCS London Marathon title to her glittering array of honours on Sunday, winning a fast and frantic four-way fight for the line between some of the fastest women in history. 

Fastest of all was Tigst Assefa, who smashed the outright women’s record in Berlin last year, and was hotly tipped for victory here. But the Ethiopian had to settle for second as the 30-year-old Jepchirchir called on all her experience to triumph in a tussle for the ages. 

After shadowing the leaders for 42K, the Kenyan finally broke free from her rivals as they turned the last corner of the iconic course, sprinting onto The Mall to take the tape in 2:16:16. Behind her, three other women also dipped under the old record mark of 2:17:01. 

The four had been locked together for 10K with no-one prepared to pounce until the final moments. Jepchirchir, a known fast finisher, took full advantage, as Assefa hung on for second in 2:16:23, a step ahead of Kenya’s 2021 London champion Joyciline Jepkosgei. Last year’s runner-up Megertu Alemu was fourth, missing out on a podium place by 10 seconds. 

The winning time was exactly a minute inside Jepchirchir’s personal best, and puts her on top of the London leaderboard as the fastest woman ever on the iconic course. 

“I was not expecting to run the world record,” said the smiling victor later. “With this field, I knew we could beat it but I wasn’t expecting it to be me. 

“The ladies were all so strong and fast, so I was focusing extra hard because it was windy towards the end.” 

Jepchirchir’s win was her fifth in six elite marathons, her only defeat coming in London 12 months ago when she was third. After missing the New York City Marathon last November with injury, the London victory confirms her place in Kenya’s team for the Paris Olympic Games this summer where she will now defend her title flush with confidence. 

“I’m happy to be in Paris,” she said. “It was my prayer to be there to defend my title. It won’t be easy but I will try my best.” 

This victory was far from easy too, the outcome unknown until the very end as a field described by Race Director Hugh Brasher as the greatest ever produced one of London’s most exciting finishes. 

A cast of 16 runners were sent on their way from Greenwich by barrier-breaking ultra runner Jasmin Paris, the first woman to complete the Barkley Marathons. It was an elite field containing three of the four-fastest women in history and nine who had previous run under 2:17:30. Among them were three former London champions and five victors at Abbott World Marathon Majors races. 

Hardly surprising, then, that Mary Keitany’s course and women-only record was in their sights from the start as five Ethiopians and five Kenyans set off at a pelt in cool and dry conditions. 

Assefa led the pack through the speedy early stages, with Jepchirchir and former and world record holder Brigid Kosgei shadowing her every move. They passed 5K in 15:44, some five minutes inside record schedule, and maintained that pace as they strode through the south London streets and over Tower Bridge, passing halfway in 67:04. 

By now the pack was down to seven with Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, one of those to lose touch, the 2019 world champion troubled by the searing speed.  

Little seemed to trouble Assefa, though, as she powered on at the front towards the Isle of Dogs, dispensing with her rivals one-by-one as the last of the pacemakers stepped aside. Kosgei was next to drop away, as Alemu stepped up alongside her compatriot, the Ethiopian pair exchanging words at the front. 

Alemu was second last year and it was her surge towards Canary Wharf that proved too much for the 2022 champion, Yalemzerf Yehualaw, and Assefa’s young training partner, Tigist Ketema. 

But Jepchirchir was always there. Shrouded in a hat tugged low against the chilly breeze, her eyes fixed on Assefa’s heels. Jepkosgei completed the challengers as the quartet slowed slightly along The Highway to 35K, setting themselves up for a cat-and-mouse battle in pursuit of the three podium places. 

They were stuck together as they passed the Tower of London and dipped down to the Embankment, Jepkosgei now prominent at the front with Assefa on her tail. They were still on course for the record as they passed 40K and turned towards the final stretch, sweeping by the Houses of Parliament and up Birdcage Walk. 

With five marathon victories behind her, few know how to win better than Jepchirchir, and it was she who was playing the smartest game, doing little of the work as they raced into the testing headwind. 

Shoulder to shoulder, they skirted St James’s Park before Alemu slipped back, then Jepkosgei. Assefa prepared for a last push, but Jepchirchir was having none of it, finally opening daylight as they leaned around the last bend. 

She crossed the line with 50 metres to spare, her arms wide and a cry of joy on her lips. It was the 18th time a Kenyan woman has won the London Marathon. 

“It means a lot to me to do this in London,” she said. “As I crossed the Finish Line, I thought about how grateful I am for this to be my last event representing Kenya before I head to Paris.  

“I now know I have a great chance to defend my title.” 

“It was a really good competition,” said the defeated Assefa. “Towards the end, my leg was hurting a little but I continued. I wasn’t sure I could finish the race, but I toughed it out.” 

Scotland’s Mhairi Maclennan was the first Briton home, placing 11th overall on her marathon debut in 2:29:15.  

“The race was amazing and awful,” she said. “I thought I might get first Brit, and hopefully under 2:30, so I’m really happy. I can’t ask for more.”