Sifan Hassan Claims Victory in London Marathon with Remarkable Comeback


Courtesy of: Filip Bossuy

Hassan victory has been dubbed one of the greatest victories of all time.

Sifan Hassan Claims Victory in London Marathon with Remarkable Comeback

Sifan Hassan, an Ethiopian Dutch Olympic track champion who was participating in her first marathon, achieved a remarkable comeback during the London Marathon on Sunday. Her victory was one of the most sensational and unforeseen endings in the history of the event.

Hassan demonstrated with her victory that she was an exceptionally versatile runner. At the age of 30, she had already won three medals in various shorter distances at the Tokyo Olympics, and she even holds the world record in the mile. 

Hassan, an Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete, is best known for her middle-distance success. During the marathon, she fell off her pace about an hour into the race, paused at least once to stretch her sore left hip, and even offered a drink to one of her competitors while running together despite having missed a water stop herself. She later revealed that she has never trained for such situations. 

Despite the challenge of training during Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting that prevented her from completing long runs due to the inability to eat or drink during the day, Sifan Hassan was able to achieve her victory. After crossing the finish line, she collapsed on her knees a few yards past the finish tape. She was covered in a pink towel and seemed to be dazed at her incredible accomplishment. 

“I can’t believe it,” she said, stunned. “I learned to be patient and just to run your own race,” Hassan expressed at a news conference. “Just keep going as much as possible and maybe you will surprise yourself.”

Hassan’s marathon was far from conventional. She encountered difficulties and paused to stretch about a house into the race, indicating her struggle. Nevertheless, she managed to regain her strength and resumed her pursuit of the leafing group. Over the course of the marathon, she gradually closed the gap on the front-running group that consisted of experienced marathoners such as Olympic gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, the Kenyan Olympic gold medalist, and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, the Ethiopian defending champion of the London Marathon.

As the race drew to a close, Sifan Hassan continued to narrow the gap between herself and the frontrunners while navigating the rainy streets of Westminster. She soon found herself within sight of the leading group, and then alongside them. With the finish line in sight and a crowd of spectators cheering her on in front of Buckingham Palace, Hassan took off as if she were finishing a 1,500-meter race. 

Hassan is no stranger to victories and undertaking challenging running propositions. She won gold medals in the 5000 and 10000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics and earned a bronze medal in the 15000 meters. She accomplished this feat by participating in six grueling races in just nine days, after which she admitted to questioning if she was “crazy.”

It’s possible that Hassan’s experience at the Tokyo Olympics was still fresh in her mind when she made the decision to participate in the London Marathon.

In a pre-race interview, Hassan revealed that she entered the London Marathon spontaneously and that fasting during Ramadan had prevented her from training at her best. She admitted to having doubts about her decision, saying, “Sometimes I wake up like, ‘Why the hell did I decide to run a marathon?” She also admitted to being nervous for almost a month, stating that she was afraid of the marathon and unsure if she would even complete it, let alone win it. “I’m already having nerves, almost for one month,” she said. “And I’m just so scared of a marathon.”

Hassan’s main objective in participating in the London Marathon was to gain experience, hoping to benefit from it in the future. Her primary focus was to finish the race so that she could learn from her mistakes and improve her performance next time. She expressed her desire to participate in another marathon, and the knowledge gained from this experience would undoubtedly be beneficial. Now, the next time Hassan crosses the starting line is as a major marathon champion.