26 Feb

Rising Son Kimetto Takes Tokyo

Dennis Kimetto at Tokyo finish line.

A record 36,201 competitors took part in Tokyo marathon as it made its major debut in cold and windy conditions on Sunday (24 February). Kenya's Dennis Kimetto won the men's race, setting a new course record of 2:06:50, and Ethiopian, Aberu Kebede was first in the women's event with her time (2:25:34) just six seconds short of the previous best.

Kimetto, runner-up in last year's Berlin marathon, ran an impressive second half to claim victory. The leading pack of 25 runners stayed together until the 29th kilometre when Kenyan, James Kwambai, broke the race open with a 2:55 kilometre burst. He wasn't able to maintain the pace though due to the windy conditions. Later he said: "My body is very light, so I can't resist [the wind]."

Kimetto seized his chance by running 30-35 kilometres in 14:20, giving him a five-second lead over defending champion Michael Kipyego. The 29-year-old said: ""At 35km I thought I could win the race. The pace maker was a little slow for me and I thought of leaving them behind at times, but I decided to stay with the pace. I want to run the World Championships next, but if that is not possible then I will run Berlin. And if I run Berlin I want to go after the world record."

Unlike the men's race, the women's event was relatively fast from the start. Kebede pulled ahead of Caroline Kilel after the half-way mark but was caught by Yeshi Esayias of Ethiopia. The pair ran together for more than 10k before Kebede pulled away in the final kilometre to establish a 30 second lead over her rival.

The course took runners from the front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, passing the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower and the world's largest fish market, before finishing at Tokyo Big Sight Convention Centre.

Lying just across from the Cancer Institute Hospital, it was a poignant finish for local runner, Jiro Kawada, whose wife Yoshimi died at the centre in 2011 following a long battle with cancer. The 60-year-old ran his the race wearing a t-shirt with his wife's picture on it and said: "It felt like my wife was cheering me on. It was wonderful hearing the loud roadside cheers. Next time I want to run the marathon in under five hours."

For a full list of results visit our race listings page.