KIPCHOGE & KOSGEI RUN FASTEST-EVER MARATHONS IN JAPAN AT TOKYO MARATHON
By David Monti, @d9monti (c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
PHOTO: Eliud Kipchoge wins the 41st Tokyo Marathon (photo via NN Running Team; used with permission)
(06-Mar) — On a beautiful sunny and cool day, world marathon record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei of Kenya put on a master class in marathon running this morning in Tokyo, each running the fastest-ever marathons on Japanese soil and winning the 41st Tokyo Marathon in 2:02:40 and 2:16:02, respectively. Kipchoge, twice an Olympic Marathon champion and a member of the Nike-sponsored NN Running Team, ran a perfectly executed race which resulted in his 14th marathon victory in 16 starts.
Staying with the three designated pacemakers through 10-K in 28:37 and halfway in 1:01:03, Kipchoge never looked to be under any pressure from the other four contenders who were with him: Amos Kipruto (adidas) and Jonathan Korir (Nike) of Kenya, and Mosinet Geremew (Nike) and Tamirat Tola (adidas) of Ethiopia. Another Ethiopian, Shura Kitata (Nike), had already fallen off of the pace at 15-K. Just before the 25-K mark, Geremew pulled to the left side of the course and stopped leaving Kipchoge with only Kipruto, Tola and Korir to contend with. Korir and Tola faded in the next 5 kilometers, but Kipruto stubbornly held on, first drafting the taller Kipchoge then running off of his right shoulder.
Both men looked strong. The Kenyan duo matched strides through 35-K (1:41:30), but in the 36th kilometer Kipchoge began to ease away. By the 40-K mark he had an insurmountable 13-second lead and was able to cruise home to victory. His time was both a 2022 world leader and the third fastest of his career, and gave him two marathon victories in Japan; he won the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo last August. He also added another Abbott World Marathon Majors victory to his résumé; he had already won in Berlin (three times), Chicago (once) and London (three times) and hopes to add Boston and New York before his career is over. “I’m really happy,” said Kipchoge in his post-race broadcast interview.
“I’m very exited to be in Japan especially after the Olympics in Sapporo.” Kipruto held on for second in a big personal best of 2:03:13, and Tola got third in 2:04:14. In fourth place Japan’s Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) ran an excellent 2:05:28, but was clearly disappointed not to break his own Japanese record of 2:04:56. Kosgei (Nike) got a stiff battle from 2019 and 2021 Berlin Marathon champions Ashete Bekere (Nike) and Gotytom Gebreslase (Nike) of Ethiopia. Kosgei’s two rivals were right with her at 30-K (1:36:59), and Bekere was only 11 seconds back at 35-K. But between 35 and 40-K Kosgei broke away, running a blazing 15:48 for that segment. By the time she reached the finish, Kosgei had nearly two minutes on the two Ethiopians.
Her time was the third-fastest by a woman in history, but Kosgei seemed a little disappointed as she accepted her winner’s medal, trophy and wreath. She said that the wind in the final stretches of the race had slowed her down. “I could run 2:14, but it become tough,” she said of the wind. Bekere got second in 2:17:58, a personal best, and Gebreslase ran 2:18:18, also a career best time. Among domestic runners, Mao Ichiyama beat compatriot Hitomi Niiya 2:21:02 to 2:21:17 (sixth and seventh place). Ichiyama had hoped to beat Mizuki Noguchi’s national record of 2:19:12. American Sara Hall was eighth in 2:22:56, the fourth-fastest time of her career. Interestingly, the combined time of Kengo Suzuki and Mao Ichiyama was 4:26:30. That set a new world best for a married couple running in the same race. The previous record was 4:27:05. The Abbott World Marathon Majors series resumes at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.