•Kipchumba had trained well but did not expect the second-place finish
•Kipchumba was surprised by marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge's eighth place finish
•Kipchoge attributed his spectacular collapse to a blocked ear and a leg cramp
Long-distance runner Vincent Kipchumba has admitted that his second-place finish in London Marathon two weeks ago came as a pleasant surprise.
Kipchumba was the only Kenyan on the podium after former Toronto marathon champion Benson Kipruto and race favourite Eliud Kipchoge finished seventh and eighth respectively.
“It is a result that makes me so happy because I had been training for it for so long. Although I had prepared well, I was surprised by the performance considering that I was competing with some of the best runners,” Kipchumba said.
The 2019 Amsterdam Marathon winner said that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected his training and psychological fortitude.
"The postponement of London Marathon in April disrupted the initial plans that I had made for the race. I had trained so well and was raring to go before the cancellation, which was sort of demoralising," he said.
Concerning Kipchoge, Kipchumba , who also won the Vienna City Marathon and the Adana Half Marathon in 2019 , said he was shocked and disappointed by Kipchoge's eighth place finish.
“As the race progressed, I saw Kipchoge lagging behind but I thought that he would eventually increase the tempo and catch up with the leading pack. However, he kept falling further behind and I kept asking myself what was wrong,” he said.
However, the two have not talked since Kipchoge's nightmarish experience. Kipchumba revealed that both had agreed before the race on a strategy to ensure a 1-2 Kenyan finish but this never came to pass.
"We were to keep close to one another in the race and then take off at the right moment. Our plan was to fly the Kenyan flag high with at least a one-two finish," he said.
The strategy came to naught after Kipchoge tailed off at the 15km-mark due to a blocked ear and a leg cramp.
The race had been billed as a titanic one between the marathon world record holder and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele who dropped out a day earlier due to a calf injury.
In place of Kipchoge's spectacular collapse, Ethiopia's Shura Kitata sprinted to the finish line in 2:05:41 for his first London Marathon title after a disappointing performance in 2019.
Kipchumba clocked in one second later at 2:05:42 ahead of Ethiopia's Sisay Lemma.
The 24-year old is currently enjoying a well-deserved rest before embarking on rigorous training in preparation for next year's major races.
"I have not yet decided on which races to compete in, including the Tokyo Olympics. After I begin training, I will identify the ones to participate in," he said.
Kipchumba hopes to build on his exceptional performance at London to achieve more podium finishes in future races.