Both the men’s and women’s Tokyo Marathon course records, along with the Japanese all-comer’s records, went down on Saturday evening (Sunday morning in Tokyo). Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who pre-race predicted a world-record performance, ran 2:03:58; Sarah Chepchirchir took a remarkable four minutes off her personal best running 2:19:47.
The Tokyo Marathon was the first of the year’s Abbott World Marathon Majors, a circuit of the top 42K races in the world. Other notable events include Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. On Saturday, the race organizers’ decision to alter the course for 2017 paid off as the two Kenyans ran the fastest marathons ever in Japan.
The men’s field, led by Kipsang, the former world record holder in the marathon, went through the halfway point in 1:01:22, ahead of world record (2:02:57) pace. Kipsang was wearing a pair of Adidas Adizero Sub2s, a racing flat designed to help break the sub-two-hour barrier. (Click to see photos of those shoes.) As evident from Saturday’s results, it appears that the two-hour barrier may still be a long way away as Kipsang’s pace slowed over the second half of the race.
Kipsang was at 40.8K when the clock was at 1:59:59. That's a long way from a #sub2 marathon
— Canadian Running (@CanadianRunning) February 26, 2017
With his 2:03:58, Kipsang pads his lead atop some remarkable categories. He has run more sub-2:04s (four), sub-2:05s (eight), and sub-2:06s (eight) than any other runner in history. Saturday’s win was his first at the Tokyo Marathon. Gideon Kipketer finished second in 2:05:51 with Dickson Chumba in third in 2:06:25.
🥇Wilson Kipsang 2:03:58 pic.twitter.com/Nv2D754TIf
— EKIDEN_MANIA (@ekiden_mania) February 26, 2017
With Chepchirchir’s massive improvement over her previous best, she vaults into 16th on the all-time list with the elusive sub-2:20 performance. While Kipsang was on world record pace early, Paula Radcliffe’s women’s world record of 2:15:25 was never in danger on Saturday. Chepchirchir’s improvement comes at the age of 32. She trains with Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong.
American Sara Hall had a solid run going below 2:30 for the first time in her career. She finished sixth in 2:28:26. The highly-anticipated debut from Kenyan Betsy Saina, who trains with Canadians Mo Ahmed and Matt Hughes as part of the Oregon-based Bowerman Track Club, did not go well as she dropped out around the 40K mark.
Top results (click here for full results)
1. Wilson Kipsang, KEN 2:03:58
2. Gideon Kipketer, KEN 2:05:51
3. Dickson Chumba, KEN 2:06:25
4. Evans Chebet, KEN 2:06:42
5. Alfers Lagat, KEN 2:07:39
6. Bernard Kipyego, KEN 2:08:10
7. Yohanes Ghebregergish, ETH 2:08:14
1. Sarah Chepchirchir, KEN 2:19:47
2. Birhane Dibaba, ETH 2:21:19
3. Amane Gobena, ETH 2:23:09
4. Ayaka Fujimoto, JPN 2:27:08
5. Marta Lema, ETH 2:27:37
6. Sara Hall, USA 2:28:26
7. Madoka Nakano, JPN 2:33:00