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Ruth Chepngetich earns second straight $250K payday at Nagoya Marathon

The 2019 marathon world champion earned more money in two races than most runners win in their entire careers

Nagoya Women's Marathon Photo by: Nagoya Women's Marathon

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan on Sunday, defending the title she first claimed in 2022. The Nagoya Women’s Marathon is currently the highest-paying marathon in the world, and with her win, Chepngetich took home US$250,000 (C$344,000) for the second year in a row. For a sport in which athlete paydays are routinely dwarfed by those in major markets like the NBA, MLB and more top leagues, Chepngetich has managed to take home a pair of massive cheques at the same race in back to back years. 

Nagoya Women's Marathon
Nagoya Women’s Marathon start 2023. Photo: Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Chepngetich has had an amazing professional career already, and at just 28, she likely has many years left to add to her resume. She has run to many noteworthy results in her time as a pro, including two Chicago Marathon titles (in 2021 and 2022), a third-place finish at the 2020 London Marathon and the 2019 marathon world championship crown.

With her long list of impressive runs, she has secured multiple big paydays, including the two US$250,000 cheques in Nagoya over the past year and a pair of US$100,000 wins, thanks to her two Chicago Marathon titles. In the last year alone, Chepngetich has won US$600,000, solely from her Nagoya and Chicago Marathon wins.

Ruth Chepngetich
Ruth Chepngetich wins the 2023 Nagoya Women’s Marathon. Photo: Nagoya Women’s Marathon

For context, the winner of the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon (one of Canada’s biggest and most highly contested road races) takes home C$25,000. That’s a nice amount, of course, but it is, amazingly, less than a tenth (accounting for the difference between USD and CAD) of Chepngetich’s total from Nagoya. 

This is not to say Chepngetich did not earn such a massive paycheque. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Runners have spent decades watching athletes in other sports earn millions upon millions of dollars, and while the Nagoya Women’s Marathon prize purse is still incredibly tiny when compared to an NBA player’s salary, it’s extremely exciting to see a runner winning so much money from a single race. 

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