Winner of the London Marathon women’s title Sifan Hassan stopped twice in the middle of the race as she struggled with cramps.
The two-time Olympic track champion and former refugee who left Ethiopia for the Netherlands as a 15-year-old won her debut marathon in impressive style with a burst of energy to sprint ahead at the end.
Hassan, who won the 5 000m and 10 000m gold at the Tokyo Olympics, appeared to have miscalculated with her fast pace.
When she began to experience some discomfort and it seemed her race was done.
Left far behind by the leading group, Hassan bravely struggled on and eventually caught up with the leaders and stayed with them until she made the break with the finish line in sight.
After the race, the victorious 30-year-old told the BBC: “I had a problem with my hip, which made me stop. But it started to feel a little bit better.
“And then I missed one of the drinks stations. I didn’t practise that part of the race because I have been fasting [during Ramadan] and so that was quite difficult. But I needed it.
“At 20km I knew that I could kick on because I didn’t feel that tired and I didn’t care how I finished, I just wanted to get there.”
Hassan’s time of 2:18:33 was four seconds clear of Ethiopias Alemu Megertu, who took second, with Jepchirchir one second further back in third.
Winner of the men’s 2023 London Marathon, Kelvin Kiptum from Kenya, ran the second fastest marathon ever.
Kiptum narrowly missed out on his countryman Eliud Kipchoge’s world record time by 18 seconds.
Kipchoge’s record stands at 2:01:39, set on 16 September 2018, at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Britain’s long-distance great 40-year-old Sir Mo Farah completed his final marathon, finishing ninth with a time of 2:10:28.
Tens of thousands of runners took part in the 2023 London Marathon on Sunday which aimed to raise over £60 million for charity.