Marathons have long been seen as the ultimate test of speed and stamina. The winner of last Sunday's event in London, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, crossed the finish line in 2 hours 2 minutes 37 seconds — the second-fastest time ever for the 42.1km distance.

Behind him was an enthusiastic crowd of some 43,000 runners of varying abilities, many of whom were following official pacers carrying flags denoting an anticipated finishing time — with a cut off of 8 hours.

But some of those at the back of the pack said that what was supposed to be a cheerful celebration

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