22nd April 2018


Mo Farah (coach: Gary Lough) broke the British record and Lily Partridge (Alan Storey) set a new personal best as both notched victories at the hottest Virgin Money London Marathon on record.

Farah had targeted Steve Jones’ British mark of 2:07:13 hours, set back in 1985, in his first marathon since concentrating fully on the 26.2-mile distance and did enough to lower it to 2:06:21 hours as the mercury hit 23.

With the London Marathon acting as the British Championships and trials for this summer’s European Championships, that gave Farah gold while Partridge took the women’s title.

Partridge took almost three minutes off her personal in her first ever London Marathon, her time of 2:29:24 and the win guaranteeing her a spot at the Europeans in Berlin should she wish to accept the spot.

Farah, who finished 92 seconds off Ethiopia’s second-placed Tola Shura Kitata in second and a further 33 from Kenyan winner Eliud Kipchoge after pushing his way to third from halfway, will not contest the European Championship marathon in Germany but was pleased with his effort.

“It would have been nice to get that win but the better athlete won on the day, Eliud is a great athlete and today he managed to make it look so easy,” said Farah. “I managed to fight up to third but at around 30km I was feeling the pain and it was hard to run.

“It was set up for world record pace at the beginning and I had to fight as much as I could and I came away with third in a personal best. I know I can go at least 2:04 or 2:05 It’ll take another couple of years to get there, I’ll need to run a couple of marathons a year but that’ll be a good thing.”

Partridge needed to dip inside 2:36:00 to hit the European mark and was always on course to do so, taking the lead in the British race from Tracy Barlow (Nick Anderson) after 15km and finishing eighth overall.

She clocked 2:32.09 in Seville in February of 2017 before failing to finish in Berlin last September but did confirm that she will be preparing for another tilt in the German capital for the European Championships.

“I’m happy with that, I blew up a bit in the last three miles but I think that was the nature of the day, everyone slowed towards the end. I’m happy. It’s job done, top 10 and qualification for the Euros,” said Partridge.

It’s my second marathon finish from my third start, I learnt a lot from Berlin in particular and Seville in that for the first ten miles I was sat off the pacemakers trying to relax as much as possible because I didn’t do that in Seville.

“I need to keep doing what I’m doing and stay healthy, in the next couple of years I think I can go under 2:25, my training suggests that’s where I can go. Half the sport is staying healthy and if I can put in that consistency in a couple of years back-to-back, you can start doing big things.”

Barlow took British silver and ninth overall in 2:32.09, that time outside her personal best but inside the European mark while Rebecca Murray (Alex Stanton) claimed bronze and 12th in 2:39.27.

“I was hoping for sub 2:30 but in those conditions, I think I am happy with how it went. You have always got it in your head [going under 2:30] so initially you are gutted when you see the time but on reflection you think it is not bad and hopefully I can do better at Europeans,” said Barlow.

“It was quite tough. I kept chucking water over my head to try and cool down but I found that I was drying off almost instantly in the heat. There was a bit of a breeze that cools you down but it was also a strong head wind at times.”

Behind Farah in the race for the British men’s title, Jonny Mellor (Steve Vernon) picked up silver but was outside his personal best as the heat tolled, clocking 2:17:55 for 14th overall. John Gilbert claimed British bronze in 2:20:19.

Mellor’s silver combined with his personal best of 2:12:57 set in Berlin in September was enough to meet the European selection standard. He said: “I didn’t feel great after ten miles. I struggled in the second half. It was just the heat, I didn’t feel great all the way through, it was really tough out there. Quite quickly in the race time went out of the window, it wasn’t important in the end.

“I wanted to go for a personal best but it didn’t happen in the heat. I wanted to finish, I wasn’t going to drop out no matter what. Training had gone better than Berlin, I will just have to go again now. I will see how the body recovers, there is quite a quick turnaround to Europeans. We will see what happens.”