Kenya's Brigid Kosgei crosses the line to win the London Marathon in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Athletes are competing on a 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) closed-loop course consisting of 19.6 clockwise laps around St. James' Park. The traditional course along the River Thames was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic and only elite men and women are competing and no spectators are permitted. (Richard Heathcote/Pool via AP)

Brigid Kosgei defends London Marathon title

October 04, 2020 - 7:21 am

LONDON (AP) — Brigid Kosgei defied the rain and the gloom to defend her London Marathon title around a sodden St James’s Park on Sunday after a race staged six months later than planned and without any spectators due to the pandemic.

The 26-year-old world record holder comfortably won her duel with fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the world champion, who was eventually pipped for second by Sara Hall of the United States.

Kosgei broke for home with seven miles to go leaving Chepngetich, who had looked the stronger in the mid-stages of the race, far behind.

The pair were a minute ahead of their nearest challenger at the halfway mark, and looked on course to trouble the women’s-only world record of two hours 17 minutes and one second.

But as the rain began to fall harder the pace slowed and Kosgei eventually crossed the line in 2 hours 18 minutes, 58 seconds — almost five minutes outside her world record set in Chicago last year.

“The weather was not good so we struggled,” Kosgei said. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.

“We have not prepared well due to the pandemic. I will be prepared for good results next year.”

A tiring Chepngetich was caught by a stunning late charge from Hall, who overtook her with just a few strides remaining.

The race, originally scheduled to be run in April, was adapted to 19.7 laps of St James’s Park rather than the traditional street route, and was restricted to elite runners only, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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