Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat claims Marathon glory as Australia’s Jessica Stenson takes women’s title

Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat took the honours in the Commonwealth Games Men’s Marathon on the streets of Birmingham.

Kiplangat finished in a time of two hours 10 minutes and 55 seconds despite appearing to go the wrong way at one point.

He still won by one minute 34 seconds ahead of Alphonce Simbu of Tanzania, with Kenya’s Michael Mugo Githae completing the podium places.

“The people riding the motorcycles were confusing me. They told me to turn back but I still made it to the finish,” said Kiplangat.

I believe Uganda is proud of me today

VICTOR KIPLANGAT
“I feel so happy to have won. Thanks to all the fans for cheering me on. I was feeling fatigue in my legs but the crowd were cheering me on and they gave me courage.”

He became the first Ugandan to win marathon gold at the Commonwealth Games and said: “I believe Uganda is proud of me today. We have been waiting for this.”

He followed the legacy of compatriot Joshua Cheptegei’s double gold in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2018 Gold Coast and added: “If God is good to me I believe I shall be a great man like Cheptegei and (Kenya’s double Olympic champion Eliud) Kipchoge.

“We shall keep breaking records. As long as we are healthy, everything is possible. I’m still young and still growing. I believe I can be even better.”

Australia’s Jessica Stenson, who has previously won two bronze medals, took the women’s title in two hours 27 minutes and 31 seconds.

She broke clear in a lead group with Margaret Wangari Muriuki of Kenya and Namibia’s Helalia Johannes but the Australian had too much for her rivals and dropped them over the closing stages to come home 29 seconds clear.

The 34-year-old contracted Covid-19 just a month before the Games but believes it was a blessing in disguise that enabled her to take some time off in order to be in the best shape for the race.

She said: “Maybe it served me well – a bit of extra rest. I had two complete days off and then just jogged for the rest of the week.
My coach and the Athletics Australia medical staff were really calm and said: ‘Look people have had it before and got through it. You will be fine.’ It was good having that composure around me and my husband too, who said it was the best thing for me – extra rest.

“I did a half marathon a month ago and it didn’t go well. I had trouble with my breathing at 11km and that threw me a bit. So today I was thinking ‘I have got to keep my breathing relaxed. I mustn’t think about the outcome’.

“In terms of tactics, there were hills early on and I was feeling quite strong. The altitude training I have been doing helped. I tried to conserve as much energy as possible until the final 6km.

“In the later stages, you can lose concentration, so I had to balance getting excited and making sure I got to the finish line.”