London Marathon: Lel capitalises as Tergat falls victim to misjudgement

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The Independent Online

The shattered figure struggling to the line in yesterday's men's race testified to the enduring challenge of the marathon. As Kenya's Paul Tergat fell over the line in eighth place with a time of 2hr 11min 38sec - almost seven minutes slower than the world record he set two years ago - the event which has confounded even the most confident of champions had claimed another victim.

The shattered figure struggling to the line in yesterday's men's race testified to the enduring challenge of the marathon. As Kenya's Paul Tergat fell over the line in eighth place with a time of 2hr 11min 38sec - almost seven minutes slower than the world record he set two years ago - the event which has confounded even the most confident of champions had claimed another victim.

Victory in the 25th anniversary men's race went to another, far less regarded Kenyan, the 26-year-old Martin Lel, although his World Half Marathon and New York Marathon wins in 2003 showed he was a serious contender.

Lel won in 2.07.26, judging the pace best of all on a day when, in the estimation of Britain's sixth-placed Jon Brown, too many others went off too fast.

"Some people over-committed in the first half of the race," said Brown after running 2.09.31, a personal best, despite a build-up marred by a bad reaction from the Athens Olympics. "When that happens, guys are always going to fall apart. I was going past guys that had run 2.06 and they were staggering along.

"I went past Tergat about one and a half miles from the end, and he looked terrible. One minute he was 200 metres ahead of me, the next I was just racing past him. It was kind of sad, really."

On an unexpectedly warm day which saw a record number of starters - 35,680 - few finished as satisfied as Nell McAndrew. The former Page Three girl and participant in I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here finished in tears in a time of 3.10.51 - good enough to earn entry to official UK Athletics Championship events.

The Mexican Saul Mendoza and Italian Francesca Porcellato successfully defended their wheelchair titles. The Briton David Weir finished in third in the men's race in 1.36.01, narrowly ahead of his training partner Tushar Patel.

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