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2011 Virgin London Marathon - The Women's Race
by Sharon Ekstrom
The Women's Race
The London Marathon organizers always put together a fantastic field and 2011 was no exception. Liliya Shobukhova had emerged as the queen of London, winning the 2009 and 2010 races; but for 2011 she would fail to maintain her streak.
In the past, the London pacers have burned out the field, especially in years when they have tried to force women to a sub-2:20 finish when the field was not capable of that. On a perfect day, no wind and overcast, the pacer took the women out at about the 2:20 pace but, at first only Mary Keitany would run with the pacesetter and the pace slowed to bring the field back together as one. The nine women who were in the pack were Liliya Shobukhova (RUS), Atsede Baysa (ETH), Mary Keitany (KEN), Aberu Kebede (ETH, Aselefech Mergia (ETH), Askale Tafa (ETH), Mariya Konovalova (RUS) and Edna Kiplagat (KEN).
The mile pacing, as reported, seemed a bit uneven through the halfway in 1:10:37. The third and seventh miles were clocked at 5:05 and 5:02 respectively, while the sixth mile came in at 5:48. The pacer seemed in trouble and ran only to the halfway point, where Shobukhova began to push the pace.
At mile 16, Mary Keitany the Half Marathon world record holder, pushed the pace and ran away from the field, but the field brings her back quickly. However, Keitany pushed again and quickly pulled away to a six second gap by 25K. Initially, Edna Kiplagat was the only one to give chase to Keitany
Keitany, just two moths off setting the Half Marathon world record (65:50) and holder of four of the fastest twelve Half Marathons ever run, seemed to look at the second half of the marathon as a standalone half marathon as she started forward. Behind, Shobukhova stepped up the pace slightly and, with Aberu Kebede in tow, overtook Edna Kiplagat to move into second place by mile 18.
Through the next miles, Mary Keitany continued to extend her lead - there could be no doubt that Keitany would be champion. And, after a slightly slow first half of 1:10:37, Keitany made up for that with a blistering second half of 1:08:40, crossing the finish in 2:19:17, the seventh fastest marathon ever run and the third fastest ever at London (only Radcliffe had ever run faster).
Liliya Shobukhova, who was trying to break 2:20, failed in that endeavor, but set a personal best of 2:20:14; eleven seconds faster than her winning time from 2010. Edna Kiplagat finished third in 2:20:45, nearly five minutes ahead of her previous personal best.
1. Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:19:19 - $55,000 + $75,000
2. Liliya Shobukhova (RUS) 2:20:15 - $30,000 + $50,000
3. Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:20:46 - $22,500 + $50,000
4. Bezunesh Bekele (ETH) 2:23:40 - $15,000 + $15,000
5. Atsede Baysa (ETH) 2:23:49 - $10,000 + $15,000
6. Yukiko Akaba (JPN) 2:24:08 - $7,500 + $10,000
7. Irina Mikitenko (GER) 2:24:22 - $5,000 + $10,000
8. Jessica Augusto (POR) 2:24:32 - $4,000 +$10,000
9. Aberu Kebede (ETH) 2:24:33 - $3,000 + $10,000
10. Mariya Konovalova (RUS ) 2:25:18 - $2,000 + $5,000
11. Askale Tafa (ETH) 2:25:23 - $1,500 + $5,000
12. Azusa Nojiri (JPN) 2:25:29 - $1,000 + $5,000
13. Yoshiko Fujinaga (JPN) 2:25:40 - $0 + $5,000
14. Xiaolin Zhu (CHN) 2:26:28 - $0 + $5,000
15. Inga Abitova (RUS) 2:26:31 - $0 + $5,000
16. Noriko Matsuoka (JPN) 2:26:54 - $0 + $5,000
17. Madai Perez (MEX) 2:27:02 - $0 + $5,000
18. Lornah Kiplagat (NED) 2:27:57 - $0 + $5,000
19. Jo Pavey (GBR) 2:28:24 -