Daniel Wanjiru claimed the biggest victory in his career at the London Marathon. The 24 year old Kenyan held off a charging Bekele in the final kilometer to take the title in the English capital.
The Men’s race was a thriller with three time Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele headlining the marathon. However the Kenyan Challenge of Daniel Wanjiru, Bedan Karoki and Abel Kirui proved to be worthy opponents. At the halfway mark, Bekele seemed to be suffering as he was dropped from the lead group. However he did not drop out of the race.
Daniel Wanjiru the Amsterdam marathon champion was leading at the 35km with a mile of 4:54. Karoki, the debutant held his second place until Bekele started to pace up and caught him. He looked strong and gradual closing the gap and while on a 2:05 pace. He had the advantage of seeing Wanjiru ahead of him and if it came down to the final sprint he would have the upper hand.
He had a little spring in his step and started to close the gap on Wanjiru who had a look over his shoulder. All Wanjiru had to do was to keep his foot on the peddle and he would win the race. He was running his miles a little slower though at 5:00mins.
In the last two miles, Wanjiru still had a good lead on Bekele and if he kept that going he was on his way to the greatest win of his career. And he sped up to 4:53 per mile keeping his advantage on Bekele edging closer to his biggest career victory.
The big question was if Bekele had enough time to pounce on Wanjiru and if Wanjiru had to keep the pressure up and the gap big enough to win the race?
Wanjiru crossed the 40km mark at 1:59 with a 9 seconds lead over Bekele though slowing down to 5:00 for that mile. If Bekele were to win the race we would have to make his move soon because summoning his finishing kick after 26 miles of running would be a tall order- even for an athlete with his pedigree on track.
Tip: when running a marathon the blue line is the shortest route to follow
Looking back at your opponents when running can give you a better sense of how far back they are. However, looking back can also give them the sense that you are tiring and therefore give them the energy to want to catch up to you.
Bekele started to close the gap to 5 seconds. Sensing danger, Wanjiru geared up to hold Bekele back. He looked the stronger of the two with running an impressive 4:27 for the mile. Clearly he had more in his arsenal to take the top spot.
Wanjiru won the race at 2:05:49, striding majestically past the finish line. His finishing Kick showed up when he needed it most.
Bekele could not reel in Wanjiru and settled for silver at 2:05:57. Bedan Karoki was third in 2:07:41 and Abel Kirui in 2:07:47