A Wirral long-distance runner has taken the British title at this year's London Marathon.

Birkenhead-born Jonny Mellor, who represents Liverpool Harriers, was the first British competitor to cross the line in the 26.2 mile race, coming 13th overall with a time of 2h10m38s.

The 33-year-old's time was not a personal best but was well within the Olympic qualifying mark of 2h11m30s.

Marathon world record holder and four-times previous winner of the London Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge, had been expected to claim a record fifth victory, but he was soundly beaten, tailing off with two laps to go, and eventually finished eighth with a time of 2h06m49s.

The 40th edition of the race was won in dramatic fashion by Ethiopian Shura Kitata, who outpaced Vincent Kipchumba in a sprint finish to win with a time of 2h05m41s - a second ahead of his rival.

It was the first time that Kipchoge - widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner of all time - had failed to win a marathon event since 2013, when he came second in Berlin.

Kipchoge revealed afterwards that he had a problem with his right ear which hampered his race and ultimately cost him the chance of another win.

“I’m very disappointed but, all in all, this is sport,” he said. “I got a blocked ear the over last 15km. I tried to keep going and make sure I finished, to show there is always hope in the world. It’s not the end of the world that I can’t win.

“It’s not suicide. This is sport and we need to embrace ourselves. I want to congratulate the top finishers for bringing hope to the streets of London at this time of Covid-19.”

This year’s competitors pounded just four streets of London rather than the traditional route from Blackheath to Buckingham Palace, with no crowds and no fun runners due to the coronavirus pandemic.