Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, the greatest marathoner of all time, added another title to his long list of accolades, winning the Tokyo Marathon in 2:02:40.
Amos Kipruto of Kenya, who pushed Kipchoge for almost 22 miles, ran a 17-second personal best and finished second in 2:03:13. He was greeted just after the finish line with a bear hug from his countryman. Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia was third, a minute back, in 2:04:14.
At age 37, Kipchoge shows no signs of slowing down. He ran the third-fastest marathon of his life—and the fourth-fastest of all time. He holds the world record, 2:01:39, which he set in 2018 in Berlin, and he also ran 2:02:37 in 2019 in London.
Japan has been good to Kipchoge, who won the gold medal in the Olympic marathon in Sapporo last August.
The women’s race was equally impressive. World record holder Brigid Kosgei, 28, of Kenya won in 2:16:02, the third-fastest marathon of all time.
She was pushed by Gotytom Gebrselase of Ethiopia until 35 kilometers. But Kosgei turned on the jets, running the next 5 kilometers in 15:48, her fastest 5K split of the race.
Gebrselase was overtaken in the race’s final miles by Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia, who finished second in 2:17:58, nearly two minutes behind Kosgei. Gebrselase held on for third in 2:18:18.
American Sara Hall, fresh off her American record in the half marathon in January in Houston, ran at American record pace for the first half of the race, but fell off significantly in the second half. She finished eighth in 2:22:56.
Her husband and coach, Ryan Hall, said she took a fall last month, which forced her to miss a few days of training. Hall is scheduled to run the Boston Marathon on April 18.
The Tokyo Marathon had 20,000 entrants and marked a return to normalcy for the race after two years of pandemic disruption. In 2020, as COVID-19 was just beginning to spread around the globe, the race was held for elite runners only. Last year, the race was initially pushed from the spring to the fall before it was canceled entirely.
The weather cooperated in this return to racing. Temperatures were 46 degrees at the start and the runners had bright sunshine, although they faced stiff winds in the final 5K. Kosgei said in a postrace interview that she had been prepared to run closer to 2:14. Both she and Kipchoge ran the fastest marathons ever in Japan.
There were 27 sub-2:10 finishers on the men’s side. Five women ran faster than 2:20.
Kipchoge has said he would like to win all six of the World Marathon Majors (WMM), and today he crossed the fourth of the six races off his list. He has multiple victories in London and Berlin, and he won Chicago in 2014. That leaves the Boston and New York City marathons as the two WMM races he hasn’t won—or run.