What you need to know:
- Kipchumba clocked 2 hours, five minutes, 42 seconds for second place in a sprint finish behind the winner, Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who timed 2:05:41
- Kipchumba, who is under 2Running Club in Kapsabet, Nandi County, wished Olympic marathon champion Kipchoge a quick recovery
- Brigid Kosgei, who successfully defended her title in the women’s race, remained behind in London
World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge elected to travel to Netherlands where his management team, the Global Sports Communications, has its headquarters as other Kenyan athletes returned home on Tuesday from London.
Kipchoge, who was in line for a fifth London Marathon title, finished eighth in the 40th edition last Sunday after an ear problem saw him fade badly to leave Ethiopian Shura Kitata and Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba to battle for honours in the men's race.
It's Kitata who produced a magnificent sprint finish to win his first ever London Marathon title in a time of two hours, five minutes and 41 seconds.
Kipchumba, who finished second in the London Marathon, has said he made a mistake of kicking early and this cost him victory.
Kipchumba clocked 2:05: 42 for second place behind Kitata. The lanky athlete spoke to Nation Sport Tuesday at the Eldoret International Airport after jetting back from London together with other athletes.
“I’m happy with the results, but I could have won the race if I had done good calculations. I reacted too early, prompting Kitata to increase his pace and eventually win the race,” the Amsterdam Marathon winner said.
“We started the race well, but when I saw my compatriots dropping out, I had to stick with the leading pack. Even though our Ethiopian rivals tried to shake me off, I did not budge.”
“It was hot in Kenya, but when we went to London, it rained early in the morning and it was extremely cold. My body could not react well,” Kipchumba, who hails from Chepkatet in Eldoret, said.
Kipchumba, who is under 2Running Club in Kapsabet, Nandi County, wished Olympic marathon champion Kipchoge a quick recovery.
Vivian Cheruiyot, who dropped out of the race, also returned on Tuesday but declined to speak to the media. Cheruiyot won the race in 2018 and was second in last year’s race.
Other athletes who returned are Edith Chelimo, Marius Kipserem and Benson Kipruto. Women’s world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich, who finished third in London, remained in Nairobi.
The athletes were treated to song and dance by friends, relatives and county officials at the airport. They were also given traditional sour milk known as mursik in Kalenjin dialect.
The athletes and pacemakers arrived in the country on Monday night aboard a British Airways flight before connecting to Eldoret via Jambojet.
Brigid Kosgei, who successfully defended her title in the women’s race, remained behind in London. She praised her pacemaker Vivian Kiplagat, who is also her training mate, for a job well done.
“It was a tough race, and I knew Ruth Chepng’etich was strong. I increased my pace and that worked because she fell back and I surged forward. Vivian (Kiplagat) dropped off after 25km and I went for the prize,” Kosgei said on the phone from London.
Kosgei’s coach Eric Kimaiyo, who has been nicknamed “commando”, said he was under pressure in the last two months while preparing his athletes.
"I’m happy Brigid retained her title. The pacemaker, Vivian Kiplagat, also did her part well , and as a coach I'm really happy. We have athletes going to other races and there is no break for me," Kimaiyo said.
Kiplagat said she followed the instructions she was given to the letter.