Tokyo – Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang stormed to victory in the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday in the fastest race ever run in Japan.
The former world record holder clocked 2 hours 3 minutes 58 seconds over a flatter course than in previous years as he added the Tokyo title to victories in London, New York and Berlin.
Sarah Chepchirchir won the women’s race in a personal best 2:19:47 – the first sub-2:20 in Japan – to complete a perfect day for Kenya.
The top six men’s finishers were all Kenyans with Gideon Kipketer runner-up in 2:05:51 and former winner Dickson Chumba third in 2:06:25.
Evans Chebet (2:06:42), Alfers Lagat (2:07:39) and Bernard Kipyego (2:08:10) all finished ahead of Eritrean Yohanes Gebregergish, who clocked 2:08:14 to edge out Japan’s Hiroto Inoue.
Kipsang had targeted countryman Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 and he got off to a quick start in the Tokyo sunshine.
The 34-year-old’s pace dropped over the final 10 kilometres running into a slight breeze but still ran a fourth sub-2:04.
“I felt good today and I was trying to go for a world record,” said Kipsang, who held the world mark with a 2:03:23 run at the Berlin Marathon in 2013 before Kimetto surpassed that a year later.
“It was a little bit windy,” added the London Olympic bronze medallist.
“That’s why I couldn’t run that time, but I look forward to coming back and hope to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.”
Chepchirchir left a quality field in her wake, former champion Birhane Dibaba of Ethiopia finishing second over a minute and a half behind in her bid to win a second Tokyo title in three years.