Defeat came quickly for all of the contenders in today's Stockholm Marathon, except for two: Paul Kipkemei Kogo and Isabellah Andersson.
Kogo, a 26 year-old Kenyan who had won the 2007 Maratona di Sant' Antonio in Padova, Italy, when as a pacemaker he decided to finish, broke away from the field just past half-way and was never seriously challenged. Splitting halfway in just over 67 minutes, he was able to slow down a little in the second half and enjoy his victory as his lead was never threatened. He finished in 2:15:35. Compatriot Benjamin Serem was a distant second in 2:22:51.
Andersson, a 28 year-old Kenyan who is acquiring Swedish citizenship through marriage with her Swedish coach, had an even lonlier run than Kogo. The defending champion was well clear of the field by halfway (1:17:26), and had a three and one-half minute lead over Swedish record holder Lena Gavelin, her nearest rival, by the 30 km mark. Increasing her speed in the second half, she breezed to victory in a personal best 2:33:52. Gavelin finished second for the second year in a row, clocking 2:40:52, nearly the same time as last year.
While Kogo and Andersson were competing in the streets of Stockholm, Ethiopia's Meseret Defar was making her 10,000m debut inside of Stockholm Olympic Stadium where the marathon would finish. In a special race, designed to allow her to secure a qualifying mark for this summer's IAAF World Championships, she made her debut at the 25-lap distance in about 31:07, according to the video coverage provided by UniversalSports.com (official results are not yet available).
Both races were held under cloudless skies accompanied by warm temperatures. When Kogo finished the race at about 16h15, the temperature was 23°C (73°F).
The marathon, which had over 18,000 entrants and sold out last December, is still in progress.