Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir wins London Marathon women’s elite race and breaks women’s-only world record

It was billed as a race that would be harder to win than the Olympic marathon gold in Paris and the London Marathon’s elite women’s race did not disappoint as reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir won a hugely competitive race and set a new women’s-only world record.

Jepchirchir, regarded as one of the greatest female distance runners of all time, raised her arms in jubilation as she crossed the tape in two hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

The Kenyan broke the women’s-only record – the fastest marathon time by a female runner without male pace makers – set by Mary Keitany in 2017 by 45 seconds.

The field had a clutch of runners who were capable of breaking the record but it was Jepchirchir who made history, finishing ahead of Ethiopia’s world record holder Tigst Assefa in a sprint finish. Former winner Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya was third.

“I’m so happy for today’s victory. I was not expecting to run a world record. I knew it would be run, but I was not expecting it to be me,” Jepchirchir told BBC Sport, adding that she “worked extra hard” because the other race favorites had quicker personal bests.

“I’m so happy, I’m feeling grateful. I’m happy too to be in Paris for the Olympic marathon. My prayer is to be there, and my prayer is to run good and defend my title.”

Alexander Mutiso Munyao after winning the men's elite race. - John Walton/PA/AP
Alexander Mutiso Munyao after winning the men's elite race. - John Walton/PA/AP

The men’s elite race was won by Jepchirchir’s compatriot Alexander Mutiso Munyao in 2:04.01. He beat the great Kenenisa Bekele, 41, to second, while home favorite Emile Cairess was third, becoming the second-fastest British man of all time over the distance with his time of 2:06.46.

Before the race a tribute was paid to world record holder and 2023 winner Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a traffic accident near his home in Kenya earlier this year.

After the race, Munyao told BBC Sport: “I think about him and let him rest in peace.”

The 27-year-old added that he had a lot of confidence during the race despite pressure from Bekele around the 25-mile mark.

“After 40km I thought I had enough energy to win,” he added. “That’s why I kicked and when I saw a gap I knew I would win.”

Swiss great Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth consecutive time, with compatriot Catherine Debrunner comfortably winning the women’s wheelchair race.

This story has been updated with additional information.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at