Sifan Hassan beats injury to win the famous London Marathon on her debut

Two-time Olympic champion but first-time marathon runner Sifan Hassan etched her name into the headlines with a remarkable victory in the London Marathon after overcoming injury.

Winning the historic London Marathon for someone who had never raced over 26.2 miles before would be iconic enough to begin with. But for someone to do it while they were limping and struggling with a hip injury is almost unheard of.

And yet, by the time she crossed the finish line, two-time Olympic champion Sifan Hassan had done the unthinkable!

Very early on in the race, Hassan showed signs of struggle. Limping, owing to a hip injury, she had pulled to the side of the road to stretch out her muscles as her competitors disappeared up ahead. It even prompted concern from commentators and presenters.

"She needs to stop," Britain's marathon world champion Paula Radcliffe said on BBC TV. "Somebody needs to give her some advice to step off and stop trying to run on."

But Hassan is well familiar with adversity. She had left Ethiopia as a refugee and arrived in the Netherlands as a 15-year-old.

It is with that sense of obligation and relentless fortitude that she pushed on, she continued, and she reeled in celebration as she sprinted her way towards the finish line and attained glory on the Mall.

"To outkick them is remarkable," Radcliffe said.

"It's not just winning it, it's the way she was out of contention, and yet she fought back to beat the Olympic champion, the defending champion.

"She is an inspiration and that is just phenomenal."

Hassan might be an Olympic champion but running marathons didn’t come naturally to her. In fact, she had never covered the 26.2 miles distance competitively before. Even before the start of the marathon, the 30-year-old seemed unsure about her prospects of winning.

She admitted she was "scared" of competing over the distance. She said she cried at the prospect on the morning of the race.

"Sometimes I wake up and it is like 'Why the hell did I decide to run a marathon?' But also, at the same time, I am very curious [about how I will perform]," she said in the pre-race news conference.

What made the situation even worse for her is that her preparation and build-up routine was impacted by the holy month of Ramadan. It meant that she had to abstain from eating or drinking during dalyight hours which made it difficult to prepare for the marathon.

However, she mentioned that she added more endurance training to her routine and slightly tweaked her plans from those that saw her conquer the gold medals in the 5000m and 10,000m races at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago.

"I just added a little bit the endurance because also I am fasting. I didn't add that much."

"It was just amazing. I never thought I would finish a marathon and here I am winning it," she further added.