Sifan Hassan only entered the London Marathon to see if she could finish it.
Yet despite stopping twice, once through injury and once as she tried to grab a drink, the 30-year-old track specialist won it.
On the day the capital said farewell to Sir Mo Farah, who finished ninth in his final crack at the famous race, two new distance stars emerged.
Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete Hassan’s remarkable victory, in her first marathon, was followed by a staggering run from Kelvin Kiptum, who won the men’s race in the second-fastest marathon in history.
The 23-year-old Kenyan broke the course record with an incredible time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds.
But he was somehow upstaged by Hassan, an infectious character who had been fasting for Ramadan and who revealed she had cried on Sunday morning at the prospect of taking on the 26.2 mile course.
At one point it appeared she was about to pull out, having fallen way off the pace, clutching her hip, around the 15-mile mark.
Former winner Paula Radcliffe, commentating for the BBC, said: “She needs to stop. Somebody needs to give her some advice to step off and stop trying to run on.”
But Hassan, who is the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion, somehow reeled in the leaders with three miles to go.
“The injury hurt when I sped up or when I was going downhill,” she said. “I thought I was going to stop.”
Hassan then survived making a mess of collecting a drink, narrowly missing a support motorbike, but recovered again and even offered rival Yalemzerf Yehualaw, last year’s winner, a swig from her bottle.
“I didn’t practise getting a drink. I’m born to have drama,” she added. “I didn’t know what to drink. I saw the other athletes go and I thought ‘where are they going?’. So I grabbed a drink.
“I knew the bike was close but I didn’t really care. I just knew I was going to finish the marathon.”
Being a track athlete gave Hassan a distinct advantage in a sprint finish and she pulled away from Alemu Megertu and Peres Jepchirchir down The Mall, coming home in 2:18.33.
“To finish the race is amazing,” she said, “I have a big respect for the marathon and all the people who run marathons.
“My goal was to finish the race, I didn’t have the goal to win or run a fast time. But I still won.”
Sam Harrison was the first British woman to finish, smashing her personal best by around five minutes in 2:25.59 to come 11th.
Kiptum tired towards the end and missed out on Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by 16 seconds.
But he sliced over a minute off Kipchoge’s course record to beat compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor by almost three minutes, with Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola third.
“I was not thinking about the record, ” he said. “I am very happy with the result. “I loved it.”
The first British man home was not Farah but Yorkshire’s Emile Cairess, who finished a creditable sixth on his marathon debut.
Swiss star Marcel Hug won a fifth men’s wheelchair race in London, just six days after winning the Boston Marathon.
The ‘Silver Bullet’ shattered his own course record with a time of 1:23.43.
Great Britain’s David Weir finished fifth in his 24th London Marathon in a time of 1:32.44.
The women’s wheelchair race was won by 2018 winner Madison de Rozario of Australia, who pipped four-time champion Manuela Schar on the finish line.
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