Eliud Kipchoge’s historic streak ends, and what comes next, from the eyes of his coach


Patrick Sang, who has coached Eliud Kipchoge since 2002, offered a final few words of encouragement to his pupil before Sunday’s London Marathon.

Let’s go and make history.

Sang said that Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner of all time, was prepared as he put a six-year, 10-marathon win streak at stake in St. James’s Park. The 35-year-old Kipchoge was bidding for a record-breaking fifth title for a runner in London’s 40-year history.

“I was really confident that all was going to be at par with what he had done before,” Sang said by phone on Tuesday, after flying back to Kenya.

Kipchoge finished eighth in 2:06:49. Ethiopian Shura Kitata won in 2:05:42.

Kipchoge won London in 2019 in a course record of 2:02:37, seven months after lowering the world record to 2:01:39 in Berlin.

But this was a very different London Marathon. It was not held on the traditional course hugging the River Thames, but with 19 loops around the park. The weather didn’t help, either — hovering around 50 degrees with wind and rain.

“We went to the competition prepared,” Sang said, “but the weather conditions were a bit too much.”

Sang watched the race broadcast. He noted that an impatient Kipchoge requested pacers to speed up after about 12 miles.

“The pacers said they got the message, but I think the reaction was not visible,” Sang said with a laugh. “They said they really suffered with the winds and the rains and the cold.”

Later, Kipchoge missed one of his drink bottles. The leading group remained at nine men through 21 miles. Then Kipchoge dropped in the 24th mile, afterwards citing an ear blockage followed by hip cramping.

“He felt like the hip area was not coordinating well, and the leg movement was not bouncing,” Sang said. “He was saying he was trying to communicate with the legs to bounce, but the coordination was not there.”

Sang and other friends spent time with Kipchoge in his hotel room later Sunday — “just to uplift his spirits, but you could see he was somewhat down,” Sang said. Kipchoge said he had never experienced that kind of ear problem before.

“The first lesson is to know that I am also human and can be beaten,” Kipchoge said in a video interview Tuesday. “The second is I’m now able to implement what disappointment is.”

As Sang saw what he called “the emotional effect” on Kipchoge, he was reminded of his student’s last defeat of this size. In 2012, Kipchoge placed seventh in the Kenyan Olympic Trials 5000m, missing the team for the London Games and leading to his victorious marathon debut the following spring.

“The feeling of not accomplishing something that you really look forward to,” Sang said. “You can see that he’s still passionate about doing a lot in the sport. You can see the spirit of going farther is still there.”

Kipchoge, who even in defeat presented his usual calm and philosophical demeanor (amid shivers while enveloped in a heavy coat), has never been in the business of comparing himself to others. The withdrawal of Kipchoge’s biggest threat, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, two days before the race did not affect the Kenyan great.

“The focus has never been on beating an individual,” Sang said, “but the higher the competition, you can see the higher the motivation to perform at his best.”

Kipchoge and Sang both flew out of London earlier this week. Sang went back to Kenya. Kipchoge jetted to the Netherlands to see a specialist for the ear blockage, then said Tuesday that he was given a clean bill of health.

He plans to race London again and is expected to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next summer, aiming to become the second-oldest men’s marathon gold medalist in history, according to Olympedia.org.

No matter what happens, Kipchoge distanced himself from the other greatest marathoners in history these last seven years. Former world-record holders Haile Gebrselassie and Abebe Bikila each had six-marathon win streaks.

“Each generation gives us something to remember,” Sang said. “We had a generation of Abebe Bikila. We had a generation of Haile. Now we have the generation of Eliud. All these athletes gave us beautiful competitions, things to look forward to and took the sport to the highest level of their generation.

“[Kipchoge] has been an inspiration beyond our sport. We hope that, after overcoming this setback, he will continue for the next few more years to inspire us and give us beautiful performances.”

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

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Faith Kipyegon smashes women’s 1500m world record in Florence

Faith Kipyegon

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon smashed the women’s 1500m world record, clocking 3 minutes, 49.11 seconds at a Diamond League meet in Florence, Italy, on Friday.

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic champion and two-time world champion, took 96 hundredths of a second off Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba‘s world record from 2015. Kipyegon began the day as the second-fastest woman in history at 3:50.37.

The 29-year-old was already the most decorated female miler in history, the only one with four global 1500m titles. Her Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 2021 were separated by a 22-month maternity leave from competition (that included 12 months without running).

Kipyegon was the eighth of nine children growing on a farm in the Kenyan Rift Valley. She was a soccer player at age 14 when she lined up for a one-kilometer run in PE class, according to World Athletics.

“I won that race by 20 meters,” Kipyegon said, according to World Athletics in 2016. “It is only then I knew I could run fast and be a good athlete.”

In 2010, a barefooted Kipyegon placed fourth in the world cross country championships junior race as, at age 16, the youngest finisher in the top 21. The next year, she won it. The year after that, she made her Olympic debut at age 18. By 2015, Jenny Simpson, arguably the best American miler in history, had a nickname for her: “The Sniper,” for her ability to run people down in the final lap.

After the pacers dropped out, Kipyegon ran the last lap on Friday in 58.87 seconds.

Next year, Kipyegon can become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track race three times, joining Usain Bolt. She said last year that she may shift to the 5000m after the 2024 Paris Games, according to Olympics.com.

Also in Florence, world champion Fred Kerley extended a year-plus win streak in the men’s 100m, prevailing in 9.94 seconds over Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala (10.04) and American Trayvon Bromell (10.09).

Full meet results are here.

Earlier, Dutchwoman Femke Bol won the 400m hurdles in 52.43 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded this early in a year. Bol, the Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist, is the world’s fastest this year by eight tenths of a second. World record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone has yet to race this outdoor season and could bypass the 400m hurdles entirely for the flat 400m.

Erriyon Knighton, a 19-year-old American, took the 200m in 19.89 seconds to rank third in the world this year. Knighton may be the favorite at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships given Noah Lyles, who won the 2022 World title in an American record 19.31, has a bye into August’s worlds as defending champion.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 13.04 seconds. Holloway, the world’s fastest man this year at 13.01, outsprinted Devon Allen, the world’s fastest man in 2022, in two Diamond League head-to-heads this week.

Spain’s Mohamed Katir won the 5000m in 12:52.09, edging Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha by three hundredths. Woody Kincaid (12:54.40) and Joe Klecker (12:55.16) ran personal bests to move into Nos. 3 and 4 on the U.S. all-time list behind Grant Fisher and Bernard Lagat.

Olympic champion Valarie Allman won the discus in her first matchup with China’s Feng Bin since Feng won the world title last July. Allman, who has the world’s top nine throws this year, prevailed with a 65.96-meter toss, five centimeters farther than Feng.

Olympic and world champion Katie Moon won a pole vault that included the top five women from last August’s worlds. Moon cleared 4.71 meters and has the world’s top clearance this season of 4.81.

American JuVaughn Harrison earned his second Diamond League high jump win this season by clearing 2.32 meters, just as he did in Doha last month.

Italian Larissa Iapichino was the surprise long jump winner, going 6.79 meters. She beat a field that included Olympic and world champion Malaika Mihambo of Germany, who was fifth. Jamaican Ackelia Smith, a University of Texas sophomore, remains best in the world this year at 7.08 meters.

The Diamond League season continues with a meet in Paris next Friday, live on Peacock. McLaughlin-Levrone is scheduled to make her outdoor season debut in the flat 400m, an event she is also expected to contest at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. If McLaughlin-Levrone finishes in the top three at USATF Outdoors, she will choose either the 400m or the 400m hurdles to race at August’s world championships, her coach said last month.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.

No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw