London Marathon winner Sifan Hassan admits she was ‘born for the drama’ after stopping TWICE and almost dropping out of the race – before miraculously recovering to win the event for the first time
- Sifan Hassan turned out to have a leg injury during the London Marathon
- Hassan stopped twice during the first part of the race to stretch her left leg
- She somehow went through and fought back to win the race for the first time
“I was born for drama,” Sifan Hassan smiled. And anyone who witnessed her insane first attempt over 16.2 miles on Sunday couldn’t disagree.
That the madness should lead to the Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete actually winning the race defied all logic. Even London Marathon boss Hugh Brasher described her run as “almost unfathomable.”
The Olympic champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters said she only entered the event to see if she could finish it. And an hour later it looked like she wouldn’t have any money.
It was at that stage that Hassan held onto her left hip and stopped twice on the road to stretch. She was 20 seconds behind the breakaway, with former winner Paula Radcliffe commenting: “Someone needs to give her some advice to get off and stop trying to keep running.”
Yet she did. And by mile 19, the 30-year-old had caught up with the leaders incredibly. However, the fun and games weren’t over yet.
Sifan Hassan stopped several times to stretch because she seemed to hurt her left leg
She was seen grinning in pain as she tried to fight her way through the early part of the race
With just over a mile to go, she misjudged the last drink station and suddenly swerved from one side of the road to the other to retrieve her bottle, narrowly avoiding a trailing motor and losing valuable seconds.
When they reached the Mall, Hassan was somehow still involved in a three-way battle with Ethiopian Alemu Megertu and Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir. And it was the marathon debutant who, much to her surprise, pedaled clear and finished in a time of 2 hours 18 minutes 33 seconds – four seconds ahead of Megertu, with Jepchirchir still a second behind.
“I didn’t even believe it was the finish line,” Hassan admitted. “I wasn’t sprinting 100 percent in case there was still a kilometer to go.
“I never thought I would finish a marathon and here I am winning it. It was amazing. This morning I told myself how stupid I was to run the marathon. What was wrong with me?
“I had a problem with my hip. I was going to record it, but I forgot. The injury hurt when I accelerated or when I went downhill. I thought I was going to stop.
“It started to feel a little better and then I missed one of the drink stations. I didn’t practice that part of the race because I fasted for Ramadan. I’ll never forget this all my life.’
She made a remarkable recovery by winning the London Marathon for the first time on Sunday
The women’s field was the largest ever assembled, but world record holder Brigid Kosgei retired after just three minutes, while defending champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw was fifth. The first Brit across the line was Sam Harrison, 27, in a personal best of 2:25:59.
Switzerland’s Marcel Hug claimed the men’s wheelchair race – his third consecutive win in London and fifth overall. He broke his own course record by 50 seconds as 43-year-old British great David Weir finished fifth in his 24th consecutive race on these streets.
The women’s wheelchair race was won by Australia’s Madison de Rozario, beating Switzerland’s Manuela Schar in a sprint finish.
A record 48,200 runners completed the London Marathon yesterday, raising over £60 million for charity. “It couldn’t have been better from a race point of view,” said Brasher, who was relieved that protesters stayed away. “And then you get the record number of people out there. It was unbelievable.’