LONDON: Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir produced a stunning surge outside Buckingham Palace to sprint to victory in the TCS London Marathon in a women-only world record time of 2:16:16.

The previous best time of 2:17:01 was also set here in London by Jepchirchir’s compatriot Mary Keitany in 2017.

The race featured the best women’s field ever assembled, but the calibre of her fellow racers failed to phase the 2020 Olympic champion Jepchirchir, who played a smart waiting game in the final 10K before surging away from pre-race favourite Tigst Assefa of Ethiopia – racing for the first time since setting a stunning world record of 2:11:53 at the 2023 Berlin Marathon.

Jepchirchir’s sprint finish put clear space between her and Assefa, who finished in 2:16:23 in the runner-up spot, with Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya third just a second behind in 2:16:24.

The elite men’s race also produced a close final 5K, as Kenya’s Alexander Mutiso Munyao pulled away from Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele along the Embankment to sprint to victory on The Mall at his debut London Marathon. Munyao finished in 2:04:01 while Bekele crossed the line in 2:04:15.

Great Britain’s Emile Cairess delighted the London crowds with his third-place finish in 2:06:46, the second fastest time ever by a British man, while fellow Brit Mahamed Mahamed finished fourth in 2:07:05.

Marc Scott finished just outside the top 10, placing 11th in 2:11:19 on his marathon debut, while Callum Hawkins finished 16th in 2:17:34.

Behind the elites, more than 50,000 were expected to finish the London Marathon while around the world thousands of people were taking part in the sold-out MyWay virtual event.