World record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei are due to make their Tokyo Marathon debuts when the Platinum Label World Athletics Elite the road race returns on March 6.
Kipchoge and Kosgei won respective gold and silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year and now they return to Japan to be part of strong groups including eight men with PBs below 2:05 and seven women within 2:21.
Among them are Ethiopia’s two-time reigning Tokyo Marathon champion Birhanu Legese and fellow Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, a world silver medalist. They sit third and fourth on an all-time world marathon list headed by Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39 with their respective PBs of 2:02:48 and 2:02:55 set in 2019 .
Kenya’s world bronze medalist Amos Kipruto is also in action, along with Ethiopian Olympic and world medalist Tamirat Tola and fellow sub-2:05 runners Kenya’s Jonathan Korir, Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata and Japanese record holder Kengo Suzuki , who ran 2:04:56 to win the Lake Biwa Marathon last year.
“I want to thank the organizers of the Tokyo Marathon for allowing me and my fellow athletes to run in Tokyo,” Kipchoge said.
“I have been focused on Tokyo since the beginning of my training cycle, and I can say that I am ready to race there. I am very excited to race in a country where running is a crucial part of sports culture and I look forward to discovering the Japanese enthusiasm for running the marathon in particular.
Kosgei set her world record of 2:14:04 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon and since then she has won the 2020 London Marathon. In Tokyo, she will face fellow Kenyan Angela Tanui, who won the Amsterdam Marathon last year in 2:17:57, a time that ranks 10th in the world all-time.
Ethiopian Ashete Bekere also dropped below 2:19 with her PB of 2:18:18 when finishing third in the London Marathon last year, while her compatriots Hiwot Gebrekidan and Gotytom Gebreslase – the runner-up and winner of the Marathon of Berlin 2021 – have respectively best of 2:19:35 and 2:20:09.
American Sara Hall, who ran 2:20:32 in 2020 and finished second in the London Marathon that year, is back in action after her US Half Marathon record of 1:07:15 in Houston in January. Tokyo 2019 runner-up Helen Bekele of Ethiopia is also back, as are Japan’s Mao Ichiyama, who clocked 2:20:29 in Nagoya 2020, and Hitomi Niiya, who won the first Tokyo Marathon in 2007.