LONDON — Wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos won the London Marathon on Sunday.
Fellow Canadian Tristan Woodfine dipped under the Olympic qualifying standard in the men’s event.
Lakatos crossed in one hour 46 minutes four seconds for his first major marathon victory. The 40-year-old from Dorval, Que., has seven Paralympic medals, and 11 world track titles in every distance between the 100 and 800 metres to his name.
Woodfine, from Cobden, Ont., needed to run 2:11.30 for the Olympic qualifying standard, and crossed in 2:10.51 to finish 14th in the men’s race held in front of no fans at St. James Park in central London.
Woodfine’s previous best had been 2:13:16 from the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon a year earlier.
Canadian record-holder Cam Levins didn’t finish, dropping well off the pace over the final five kilometres.
“Sorry everyone I ended up frozen out there today,” Levins posted on Twitter. “Won’t let this fitness go to waste though and I’ll be back out there soon! Congrats to Tristan Woodfine. You the man!”
Temperatures weren’t ideal for fast marathon times, hovering around 11 C, with overcast skies and periodic drizzling rain.
Shura Kitata of Ethopia won in 2:05.41 in a sprint to the finish. Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba was second in 2:05.42.
Canada didn’t have any entries in the women’s event.
Levins, who ran 2:09.25 to shatter the 43-year-old Canadian record two years ago, had been almost three minutes under national-record pace halfway through Sunday’s race. But the 31-year-old from Black Creek, B.C., fell dramatically off the pace over the final kilometres, then eventually stopped.
Since the marathon schedule was virtually wiped out due to COVID-19, it’s been difficult for runners to achieve the Olympic standard. Levins still hasn’t qualified, but had been expecting a fast race Sunday after running a personal best last month in the half-marathon in a training run near his Portland, Ore., home.
It was shocking result for Kenya’s world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who’d never finished lower than second in a marathon. He led through 37 kilometres before falling off the pace. He finished in 2:06.49.
London runners were housed in a secret location a week ahead of the race, and tested three times for COVID-19.
After the global pandemic cancelled the world’s largest marathons, the London event featured a small, elite field, under strict health protocols. The course was pared down to a 2.15-kilometre loop around St. James Park that featured Buckingham Pallace as the backdrop.
Levins had credited the some-45,000 runners who registered for the virtual London Marathon, saying the elite race wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer and Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky had already booked spots in the Tokyo Olympic marathon as the top Canadians in the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. They retained their Olympic spots despite the Games postponement.