Though there were few major upsets at yesterday’s Tokyo Marathon, owing to temperatures of 6 C or less, moderate winds and unrelenting rain on the course, Ethiopians had an excellent day, sweeping the women’s podium and both men’s and women’s winners scoring their first career wins. Ruti Aga ran 2:20:40, after three second-place finishes in her last three marathons. Helen Tola finished second, in 2:21:01, and Shure Demise was third, in 2:21:05.
Men’s winner Birhanu Legese, also of Ethiopia, finished in 2:04:48, the fastest marathon time in the world so far this year and his first marathon win. Bedan Karoki of Kenya was second, running a personal best 2:06:48, and 2018 champion, the Kenyan Dickson Chumba, finished third, in 2:08:44, bringing to six the number of times he has podiumed in as many starts here.
Ethiopian sweep @TokyoMarathon_E as Ruti Aga 2:20:29 and Birhanu Legese 2:04:48 🇪🇹 win
Podiums-Helen Tola 2nd 2:21:01, Shure Demise 3rd 2:21:05
Bedan Karoki 2nd 2:06:48, Dickson Chumba 3rd #TokyoMarathon2019 @WMMajors pic.twitter.com/id0K5tk8X1
— Boston Marathon JH (@jhboston26) March 3, 2019
Japanese runners were mostly disappointed yesterday, with the favourite, national record-holder Suguru Osako dropping out just after 20K. The first Japanese man across the line was Kensuke Horio in his marathon debut, in 2:10:21 for fifth place overall. (There was speculation that the number of Japanese men breaking 2:10 this year might climb from 98 to 100, but, due mainly to the weather it was not to be.)