What you need to know:
- Defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya had to settle for second place, with Ethiopia's Alemu Megertu third.
Hamburg Marathon champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw from Ethiopia Sunday dethroned London Marathon defending champion Kenya’s Joycilline Jepkosgei.
Yehualaw claimed her first World Marathon Major victory when she managed to shake off Jepkosgei with seven kilometers to go to win the title in two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds in this year's race.
Yehualaw, who posted the third fastest time in London, edged out Jepkosgei to second in place in 2:18:07.
Alemu Megirtu from Ethiopia finished third in 2:18:32 as world marathon silver medallist Judith Korir came in fourth in 2:18:43.
Kenyan women had dominated to win the last six editions of the London Marathon.
Yehualaw took the pack that included Jepkosgei and world marathon silver medallist Judith Korir through the five kilometre mark in 16:01. The pace was within the course record time of 2:15:25 by 15 seconds.
The pace slowed with one pacesetter taking a pack of eight athletes led by Yehualaw through 10km in 32:18, 15km in 48:51.
It’s Ashete Bekere, who led the eight pack through half way in 1:08:56 with Korir and Jepskogei within the leading pack.
Mary Ngugi dropped back from the leading group quite early in the race to stay away from the leading group by over a minute.
It’s at the halfway mark where the only pacesetters dropped leaving the pack of eight to cruise on going past 25km mark in 1:21:29 with Yehualaw retaking the lead.
Asefa Kebede tried to push the race with Jepkosgei and Korir right inside the mix covering 30km in 1:37:52.
The pack of eight fell short by one for the first time in the race with 12 kilometres to go with Ngugi holding on with one minute and 52 seconds off the pack.
Then Jepkosgei and Korir started to work their way up but it was Yehualaw and compatriot Alemu Magertu and the Kenyans, who took the group past the 35km as the race started to shape.
It’s thereafter that Jepksogei and Yehualaw broke from the pack at a fast pace just after the 35km.
It didn’t take long for Yahualaw, who managed to shake off Jespkosgei’s challenge before building up a considerable lead for victory after hitting 40km in 2:10:21.
“Finishing the race in a respectable position was what was on my mind after the Ethiopian broke away in the last kilometres,” said Jepkosgei, who said she was better prepared unlike when she won last year.
“It was my dream to retain my title but I guess it didn’t work this time around.”
Korir said it was a blessing in disguise when she was told to run a full marathon two weeks before the race.
“Preparing as a pacesetter is different from a full. I lacked the endurance but I will come well prepared next time,” said Korir, adding that this year has just marked the start of her reign in marathon, having claimed silver in marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July.
Wacera rued wrong tactics after she stayed alone for the better part of the race. "It made it possible to recover running alone," said Wacera.
1. Yalemzerf Yehualaw (Eth) 2:17:26
2. Joyciline Jepkosgei (Ken) 2:18:07
3. Alemu Megertu (Eth) 2:18:32
4. Judith Korir (Ken) 2:18:42
5. Joan Chelimo (Rom) 2:19:27
6. Ashete Bekere (Eth) 2:19: 30
7. Mary Ngugi (Ken) 2:20:22
8. Sutume Asefa Kebede (Eth) 2:20:44
9. Ai Hosoda (Jpn) 2:21:42
10. Rose Harvey (Gbr) 2:27:59