A blocked ear and a hip nuisance may have conspired to ruin the day for Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge at the London Marathon on Sunday.
Kipchoge, still relishing his superhuman feat of running a marathon in under two hours in October last year, came eighth in a race won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata five minutes and 41 seconds. Kipchoge’s official world record is a much faster two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, set in Berlin two years ago.
‘It just happened’
Eliud, 35, who was defending his title for a fifth win in London Marathon, fell behind with just over three miles to go. “I’m really disappointed since I thought I would race better. My right ear was blocked, I don’t know what happened. I cramped and also had problems with my hip,” Kipchoge said.
He indicated he fine before the race and during the initial stages. “After 25 kilometers my right ear was blocked and it couldn’t open anymore. It just happened in the race. It’s really cold here, but I don’t blame the conditions,” said Kipchoge.
Shura Kitata, the new London Marathon champion, beat Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba by a second in a sprint finish.
“But this is how sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time. I still have got more marathons in me and I will come back,” Mr Kipchoge said.
A faster race was predicted due to the nature of the course – 19.7 laps of St James’s Park rather than the traditional street route – but the cold, wet conditions put paid to that.
Sports therapist Japheth Kariakim says a number of conditions in London may have affected most athletes.
“You can get cramps when muscles cool down due to severe cold. When it’s windy, some can suffer blocked noses which can affect their hearing,” says Kariakim, speaking to Nation.
He says when ears block, one tends to lose balance as one side of the body bears more balance than the other.
Kipchoge was seen grimacing in pain, an indication of the pain he was experiencing. Was it the weather or ear block or was just Kipchoge just overwhelmed by emerging runners? “It’s not the end of the world that I can’t win,” he said.
Earlier, Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei defended her title, comfortably winning the women’s race in two hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds.
The 26-year-old broke for home with seven miles to go, leaving her competitors far behind. “The weather was not good so we struggled,” said Kosgei. “I struggled up to the moment I finished.”