There was a flurry of congratulatory messages on social media on Sunday after Kenyan athletes Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei put the country on the map when they won the London Marathon in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.
Kipchoge, an Olympic champion, retained his London Marathon title for a record fourth win with a course record time in the British capital.
The 34-year-old world record holder Kipchoge tactically shed off Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun with three kilometres to go to claim victory in 2 hours, 02 minutes and 37 seconds.
Kipchoge’s feat saw him break his own course record time of 2:03:05 set with victory in 2016.
It is the second fastest time in history after his world record time in Berlin of 2:01:39.
"I'm happy to win on the streets of London for the fourth time and to make history, on a day that the event has raised £1 billion [for charity]," Kipchoge told the BBC.
"The crowd in London is wonderful and that spirit pushed," added Kipchoge, who has now won 11 of the 12 marathons he's contested.
Asked where he would run next, he replied: "As usual, I do not chase two rabbits, I only chase one and that was London. I have caught that rabbit so I will discuss with my team what follows."
Britain's Mo Farah, whose build-up to race day was overshadowed by an extraordinary row with distance great Haile Gebrselassie over an alleged robbery in the hotel owned by the retired Ethiopian, could not cope with the pace as he finished in fifth place.
In the women’s race, 25-year-old Kosgei, who won Chicago Marathon six months ago, pulled away from defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot after cruising past the 35km mark to win in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds; becoming the youngest female London winner.
Kosgei and Cheruiyot engaged in a thrilling exchange of leads as they passed 30km in 1:39:45 with Kosgei leading by two seconds.
Then Kosgei gradually started to pull away clocking 35km mark in 1:55:48 with Cheruiyot three seconds behind.
Kosgei built her lead passing the 40km mark in 2:11:19 to win and exact revenge on Cheruiyot, who beat her last year. Pocket Rocket came second in 2:20:14 with Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje completing the podium finish in 2:20:51.
According to statistics compiled by the BBC, Kosgei ran the second half of the race in a time of 66 minutes and 42 seconds – the fastest for the women's event.
Kosgei is 25 days younger than Aselefech Mergia when she won the 2010 race.
"I gave it my best today, 2nd in the London Marathon. Congratulations Bridget Kosgei and Eliud Kipchoge," tweeted Cheruiyot.
Top 10 Men's results
1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2 hours 2 minutes 37 seconds, 2. Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:02:55, 3. Mule Wasihun (ETH) 2:03:16, 4. Tola Shura Kitata (ETH) 2:05:01, 5. Mo Farah (GBR) 2:05:39, 6. Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:06:57, 7. Bashir Abdi (BEL) 2:07:03, 8. Leul Gebresilasie (ETH) 2:07:15, 9. Yassine Rachik (ITA) 2:08:05, 10. Callum Hawkins (GBR) 2:08:14
Top 10 Women's results
1. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:18:20, 2. Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:20:14, 3. Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:20:51, 4. Gladys Cherono (KEN) 2:20:52, 5. Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:20:58, 6. Emily Sisson (USA) 2:23:08, 7. Sinead Diver (AUS) 2:24:11, 8. Carla Salome Rocha (POR) 2:24:47, 9. Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 2:25:04, 10. Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 2:25:38