Eliud Kipchoge defeated at London Marathon, ending historic win streak


Eliud Kipchoge‘s invincibility is gone.

The greatest marathoner in history lost for the first time in seven years at Sunday’s chilly, rainy London Marathon, ending a streak of 10 straight wins over 26.2 miles.

Kipchoge dropped behind a leading group of six men in the 24th mile and never regained contact, placing eighth in 2:06:49. The Kenyan cited a blockage in his right ear over the last 10 miles and leg and hip cramping but didn’t blame the 50-degree weather.

“At the last five kilometers, I discovered that something is wrong,” said Kipchoge, a 35-year-old who shivered through a thick jacket in a post-race interview. “My legs are not moving. My ear is totally blocked. I tried to keep on with the pace and tried to finish.”

Ethiopian Shura Kitata won in 2:05:42, one second ahead of runner-up Vincent Kipchumba of Kenya.

Kipchoge came into Sunday with 11 wins in his 12 career marathons.

In his last three times racing 26.2 miles, he lowered the world record to 2:01:39 in Berlin in 2018, won his fourth London Marathon title in 2019 in a course record 2:02:37 and became the first person to cover the distance in under two hours. He ran 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible event in Vienna last October.

To put Kipchoge’s 10-marathon streak in perspective, the two other legendary male marathoners, Ethiopians Abebe Bikila and Haile Gebrselassie, topped out at six in a row.

“I’m truly disappointed,” said Kipchoge, known for his calm, philosophical demeanor. “But, all in all, this is sport. Sport is run by today you are up, tomorrow you are down.”

The London Marathon was postponed from its usual April date due to the coronavirus pandemic. The mass race was canceled. On Friday, Kipchoge’s biggest threat, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, withdrew with a calf injury.

Traditionally, runners wind around the River Thames and produce some of the faster times of the six World Marathon Majors.

This year, they were in “a secure biosphere” and completed 19 loops of St. James’s Park without the usual spectator crowds — but cutouts, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William — before finishing at the usual line at The Mall.

MORE: London Marathon Results

Earlier in the women’s race, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya won easily in 2:18:58. Kosgei, who repeated as London Marathon winner, ran the fastest women’s time in history at the Chicago Marathon last October, a 2:14:04.

American Sara Hall surged in the final half, going from ninth place to second in 2:22:01. a personal best and the eighth-fastest time ever by a U.S. woman. In her last marathon on Feb. 29, Hall went into the Olympic Trials as a contender to make the three-woman team but dropped out in the 23rd mile, calling it “a massive disappointment.”

“This was the moment of redemption,” she said Sunday.

Hall, who edged world champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya by four seconds on Sunday, earned her first World Marathon Major podium. She became the first American runner to make the London Marathon podium since Deena Kastor won in 2006.

“I’m still kind of in shock,” Hall said. “I feel so honored to be enjoying my career the most I ever have at age 37.”

Molly Seidel, who made the Olympic team by placing second at trials in her first marathon, took sixth on Sunday in 2:25:13, which was 2:18 faster than her debut in Atlanta.

MORE: With major marathons canceled, Emily Sisson chose a virtual one

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Noah Lyles runs personal best and is coming for Usain Bolt’s world record


Noah Lyles ran a personal-best time in the 60m on Saturday, then reaffirmed record-breaking intentions for the 100m and, especially, the 200m, where Usain Bolt holds the fastest times in history.

Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 60m sprint in 6.51 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, clipping Trayvon Bromell by two thousandths in his first top-level meet of the year. Bromell, the world 100m bronze medalist, is a past world indoor 60m champion and has a better start than Lyles, which is crucial in a six-second race.

But on Saturday, Lyles ran down Bromell and shaved four hundredths off his personal best. It bodes well for Lyles’ prospects come the spring and summer outdoor season in his better distances — the 100m and 200m.

“This is the moment I’ve been working, like, seven years for,” he said. “We’re not just coming for the 200m world record. We’re coming for all the world records.”

Last July, Lyles broke Michael Johnson‘s 26-year-old American record in the 200m, winning the world title in 19.31 seconds. Only Bolt (19.19) and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) have run faster.

Lyles has since spoken openly about targeting Bolt’s world record from 2009.

How does an indoor 60m time play into that? Well, Lyles said that his success last year sprung from a strong indoor season, when he lowered his personal best in the 60m from 6.57 to 6.56 and then 6.55. He followed that by lowering his personal best in the 200m from 19.50 to 19.31.

He believes that slicing an even greater chunk off his 60m best on Saturday means special things are on the horizon come the major summer meets — the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in July (on the same Oregon track where he ran the American 200m record) and the world championships in Budapest in August.

After focusing on the 200m last year, Lyles plans to race both the 100m and the 200m this year. He has a bye into the 200m at world championships, so expect him to race the 100m at USATF Outdoors, where the top three are in line to join world champ Fred Kerley on the world team.

Lyles’ personal best in the 100m is 9.86, a tenth off the best times from Kerley, Bromell and 2019 World 100m champ Christian Coleman. Bolt is in his own tier at 9.58.

Also Saturday, Grant Holloway extended a near-nine-year, 50-plus-race win streak in the 60m hurdles, clocking 7.38 seconds, nine hundredths off his world record. Olympic teammate Daniel Roberts was second in 7.46. Trey Cunningham, who took silver behind Holloway in the 110m hurdles at last July’s world outdoor championships, was fifth in 7.67.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 60m in 7.02 seconds, one week after clocking a personal-best 6.98 to become the third-fastest American in history after Gail Devers and Marion Jones (both 6.95). Hobbs, 26, placed sixth in the 100m at last July’s world championships.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world 400m hurdles champion competing for the first time since August, and Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the world 200m champion, were ninth and 10th in the 60m heats, just missing the eight-woman final.

In the women’s pole vault, Bridget Williams, seventh at last year’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, upset the last two Olympic champions — American Katie Moon and Greek Katerina Stefanidi. Williams won with a 4.63-meter clearance (and then cleared 4.71 and a personal-best 4.77). Stefanidi missed three attempts at 4.63, while Moon went out at 4.55.

The indoor track and field season continues with the Millrose Games in New York City next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

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Birk Irving, last man on Olympic team, extends breakout season with Mammoth win


One year ago, Birk Irving was the last man to make the four-man U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe team. Since, he continued to climb the ranks in arguably the nation’s strongest discipline across skiing and snowboarding.

Irving earned his second World Cup win this season, taking the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, on Friday.

Irving posted a 94-point final run, edging Canadian Brendan Mackay by one point. David Wise, the two-time Olympic champion who won his fifth X Games Aspen title last Sunday, was third.

A tribute was held to 2015 World champion Kyle Smaine, a U.S. halfpipe skier who died in an avalanche in Japan last Sunday.

“We’re all skiing the best we have because we’re all skiing with Kyle in our hearts,” Irving said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re skiing for him, and we know he’s looking down on us. We miss you Kyle. We love you. Thank you for keeping us safe in the pipe today.”

Irving also won the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Dec. 17. Plus, the 23-year-old from Colorado had his best career X Games Aspen finish last Sunday, taking second.

The next major event is the world championships in Georgia (the country, not the state) in early March. Irving was third at the last worlds in 2021, then fifth at the Olympics last February.

The U.S. has been the strongest nation in men’s ski halfpipe since it debuted at the Olympics in 2014. Wise won the first two gold medals. Alex Ferreira won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics. Aaron Blunck is a world champion and X Games champion.

Irving is younger than all of them and has beaten all of them at multiple competitions this season.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hasn’t competed since the Games after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

In snowboarding events at Mammoth, Americans Julia Marino and Lyon Farrell earned slopestyle wins by posting the top qualification scores. The finals were canceled due to wind.

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