Home > Runs & Races

Eliud Kipchoge and Sifan Hassan will headline 2024 Tokyo Marathon

Mark your calendars. Two of the greatest distance runners in history will run the Tokyo Marathon on March 3, 2024

Eliud Kipchoge and Sifan Hassan Photo by: Kevin Morris

On Thursday, two of the greatest distance runners in history, Eliud Kipchoge and Sifan Hassan, were named headliners for the 2024 Tokyo Marathon on March 3.

Third time charm for Hassan?

Hassan, who is coming off wins in her first two career marathons (London and Chicago), will make her debut in Tokyo. The 30-year-old had a lot of success in the Japanese capital at the 2020 Olympic Games, winning two golds and a bronze across three athletics disciplines. Hassan is undecided if she will tackle the quadruple at the Paris Olympics: the 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, and marathon, but she said her goal for this race is to “continue her marathon journey.”

“I do not have any time-based expectations for Tokyo,” Hassan told Athletics Weekly. “I want to continue to learn the distance and gain more experience and have fun doing it.”

sifan hassan chicago marathon
Sifan Hassan wins the 2023 Chicago Marathon. Photo: Kevin Morris

Although she has no specific goal, Tokyo is considered one of the faster Abbott World Marathon Majors and has a similar course profile to the London Marathon. In London last year, Hassan ran a stunning 2:18:33 debut to win, despite stopping twice. She redeemed herself with a fast time in Chicago, setting a course record and running the second-fastest marathon time in history (2:13:44). The time to watch for Hassan in Tokyo would be Brigid Kosgei’s course record of 2:16:02 from 2022.

Kipchoge’s return to Tokyo

The former marathon world record holder will return to Japan in preparation for his ultimate quest to win three consecutive Olympic marathon titles.

Kipchoge has had a lot of success in Tokyo in the past, winning the Olympic marathon there in 2021 and setting a course record of 2:02:40 in his only appearance at the Tokyo Marathon in 2022.

The 11-time Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) champion told Athletics Weekly that Tokyo is the “perfect preparation race” toward his main goal of winning his third Olympic title next August in Paris.

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin
Eliud Kipchoge at the 2023 Berlin Marathon press conference. Photo: Kevin Morris

What makes Tokyo the perfect preparation race is the timing and competition. The race is almost 23 weeks before the Olympic marathon, which gives Kipchoge plenty of time to recover after the race and focus on a new build. Tokyo being an AWMM, Kipchoge is bound to face elite competition, as he also would in Paris.

The Tokyo Marathon and Paris Olympic marathon course do not share a lot of similarities. Tokyo is relatively flat but has several turns, and Paris is the opposite, a hilly out-and-back loop to the Palace of Versailles with over 400 metres of elevation gain across the 42.2-kilometre distance.

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon course unveiled

Kipchoge has dominated flat courses throughout his career, winning Berlin a record five times and London four times. He has shown vulnerability on hillier, more tactical courses, like the 2022 Boston Marathon, where he finished a disappointing sixth (to his standards), suffering only the third marathon defeat of his career. The 39-year-old has won four of the six AWMMs, and is only missing wins in Boston and New York. Ironically, two of the hillier courses.

Mens start boston
Eliud Kipchoge at the start of the 127th Boston Marathon. Photo: Kevin Morris

The full elite field for the 2024 Tokyo Marathon has not been released but regardless of who is announced, Kipchoge and Hassan will enter as the favourites to win on March 3.

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

The best online sales on running gear

Now's the time to stock up on some of your favourite brands