Yehualaw and Scott lead NN Running Team challenge in London

Published 21 Apr 2024

On a chilly, blustery day former champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw finished eighth in a high-class women’s race at the 2024 TCS London Marathon and home athlete Marc Scott was the pick of the NNRT athletes placing 11th in the men’s race. 

In a thrilling finale, four women dipped under the former women-only world record as the fast finishing Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya claimed victory in 2:16:16 to triumph by seven seconds from world record-holder Tigst Assefa. 

Yehualaw, who triumphed in London two years ago and finished fifth last year, lost contact with the lead group at 25km and could not quite deliver her best today, placing eighth in 2:23:26. 

In a loaded field of the highest class, Yehualaw looked comfortable in the early stages and went through the 10km checkpoint with the lead group in a blistering 31:26.  

The 15km mark was ticked off in 47:37 with no change in the make-up of the lead group. However, the searing pace was taking its toll and by halfway – reached in 1:07:04 – the lead group led by Assefa - had been reduced to seven with Yehualaw still in contention.  

Former world record-holder Brigid Kosgei dropped off the pace a little before 25km – reached in 1:19:28 with Yehualaw showing no sign of distress.  

However, a little further up the road the 2022 London Marathon champion dropped off the lead group alongside her countrywoman Tigist Ketema - her hopes of regaining her title fading. At the 30km checkpoint, Yehualaw trailed the lead group of four containing Jepchirchir, Assefa, Joyciline Jepkosgei and Megertu Alemu by 21 seconds.  

With the lead quartet in close order leading into the final kilometre it was Jepchirchir, the Olympic champion, who put on the after burners to power clear of the field and seize the women’s only world record previously held by Mary Keitany of 2:17:01.  

Yehualaw battled on gamely to claim her third successive top ten finish in the London Marathon. 

The men’s race created a surprise as Kenyan Alexander Mutiso Munyao proved too strong for Ethiopian veteran Kenenisa Bekele to win by a 14-second margin in 2:04:01. 

Behind, Scott, a former World Indoor 3000m bronze medallist, produced an encouraging marathon debut to place 11th in 2:11:19. NN Running Team duo Leul Gebresilase and Daniel Matieko withdrew in the second half of the race after a prominent showing by the pair up to 25km.  

Gebresilase and Mateiko were both part of a dozen strong lead group which passed 10km split in 29:03. The team-mates remained safely ensconced in the lead group at 15km (43:41) while the halfway mark was reached in a time of 1:01:29 with Gebresilase and Mateiko in the leading bunch of ten athletes. Scott, the British athlete, passed halfway in a respectable 19th in 1:03:39. 

As the athletes headed out to the business end of the race, a lead group of nine continued to contain Gebresilase and Mateiko at the 25km checkpoint hit in 1:12:45 - on track for a sub-2:03 time. 

However, by 30km Gebresilase had dropped 24 seconds off the leaders in ninth and Mateiko has lost contact by five seconds on the lead trio of Tamirat Tola, Milkesa Mengesha and Bekele.  

Unfortunately, Mateiko did not finish leaving the course between 30-35km and a little later the same fate befell Gebresilase, the 2023 World Championships bronze medallist, typically such a consistent performer who had a rare off day.  

Out front, Munyao broke Bekele’s challenge along The Embankment to claim victory. British duo Emile Cairess (2:06:46) and Mahamed Mahamed (2:07:05) grabbed third and fourth with Scott climbing up to 11th – a performance he can be proud of on his first ever appearance over the 42.2km distance.