"Lord, I don't ask that I should win, but please, please don't let me finish behind Akabusi."
London Marathon 2014
The winning elite runners!
The 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon was a great event. The men's race was won by Wilson Kipsang of Kenya, the world recordholder, who told me earlier in the week that he had celebrated breaking the world record by praying at his church. Thankfulness to God was again a theme at his press conference after the race.
Wilson Kipsang finishes
The men's podium
The women's race was won by 2011 and 2013 world champion Edna Kiplagat, from her on related Kenyan namesake, Florence. Edna has just set up a foundation to help single mothers and orphans. She said before the race, “my faith in God helps me to be focused and to remain strong in everything I'm doing”.
Edna Kiplagat wins
The women's wheelchair race was won by Tatyana McFadden, who is a phenomenal athlete. Last summer I saw her win six gold medals in the world disability Championships in France, in distances from 100 m to 5000. He also won three gold medals at the London Paralympics. She has also won the Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City marathons. This was her second victory in London. Incredibly, she took the winter off wheelchair racing to train for the Sochi Winter Paralympics at which she won a silver medal in cross-country skiing.
Talking to Tatyana after the race
Tatyana told me last year: “I have always been a believer in God and Jesus . I learned at a young age through going to church that I had survived a lot of tough things in my life. And in those tough times I knew that God was with me and that he had plans for me later in life. I knew I would make it through those tough times and that he was definitely there to help me. God has definitely always played a big role in my life”.
Ernst is third - in the picture and in the race
Ernst van Dyk of South Africa was third in the men's wheelchair race, despite not liking the London course – “London favours the smaller guys, lighter guys who are good in acceleration”. Two years ago Ernst told me: “I travel a lot and I am on the road a lot and am alone a lot. Being a Christian is like having a friend on the road with me. When things get too much for you or you feel alone or get down, because you are not getting the results, it is so easy to talk to him and be there and get guidance and feel the warmth”.
Where the journalists watch the races
Crossing Tower Bridge
Celebrities - how many can you recognize?
With Edna Kiplagat
A chance to interview Michael Owen
Photos courtesy of Virgin Money London Marathon
Hear my Virgin Money London Marathon on www.planetsport.tv from Wednesday.