In 7th place, a junior doctor becomes the first British male to cross the London Marathon finish line.
Phil Sesemann, a COVID hero, ran the London Marathon for the first time yesterday, and it was just what the doctor prescribed.
The junior medic, 29, was greeted with applause as he crossed the finish line in seventh place, becoming the first British man to do so. With a time of 2hr 12m 58sec, the marathon newcomer qualifies for next year’s European Championships and Commonwealth Games.
“It’s been painful for my colleagues,” said the pleased Yorkshireman, who witnessed the tragedy of Covid at Leeds General Infirmary. There have been difficulties, but they have centered on Covid danger for me. I’ve gone through all of this preparation and have been attempting to prevent contracting it beforehand.” The pandemic in 2020 limited the 26.2-mile marathon to elite runners, but it was the first full-scale race in for almost two years yesterday.
In what could be the largest race in history, 40,000 runners took part, with tens of thousands more participating digitally. The event, which is usually conducted in April, was postponed until yesterday due to Covid limitations.
Scott Mitchell, 57, the late Carry On and EastEnders actress Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband, nephew Harry, and brother-in-law Laurence, ran for Alzheimer’s Research UK in T-shirts carrying her likeness.
“Having Ba on my top and continuously in my thoughts really reminded me why I’m doing it,” Scott added, paying tribute to Dame Barbara, who died of Alzheimer’s disease last December at the age of 83. We need to develop effective cures for this awful disease, and I’m glad to have played a small part in getting us closer to that goal.” Ex-England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, 44, DJ Chris Evans, 55, and BBC presenter Sophie Raworth, 53, were among the celebrities in attendance.
Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, was one of numerous MPs who ran, raising money for St Nicholas Hospice Care in his West Suffolk area.
“We must keep fighting,” said Liam McHugh, 60, of Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, whose daughter Rachel, 29, has cystic fibrosis.
This year, to lessen the Covid danger, runners were required to provide negative lateral flow checks and medals were placed in kit bags rather than around necks.
Sisay Lemma, 30, of Ethiopia, won the men’s elite race in 2h 4m 1sec, and Joyciline Jepkosgei, 28, of Kenya, won the women’s race in 2h 17m 42sec.
“There’s light at the end of this very dark tunnel we’ve been in for the last 18 months,” event director Hugh Brasher remarked yesterday.
“This is about London’s heart and soul,” he added. “Brinkwire Summary News.”