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Wet, cold Tokyo Marathon dominated by Ethiopians

In a slightly less extreme version of last year's Boston Marathon, the 2019 Tokyo Marathon featured a lot of clear plastic raincoats among runners and umbrellas on the sidelines

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. 

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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.

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.)