Course Records Fall at Tokyo Marathon 2014

24 Feb 2014 00:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Press Release

2014 World Marathon Majors competition picked up where it left off last year, with two more course records falling at today’s 8th annual Tokyo Marathon. Kenya’s Dickson Chumba and Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won their first WMM event titles in style, posting course records of 2:05:42 and 2:22:23, respectively. Chumba’s victory placed him in a four-way tie for sixth place in the 2013-2014 WMM series, while Tsegaye catapulted from 24th to fourth in the 2013-2014 rankings.

In Tokyo’s second year as a World Marathon Major, about 36,000 athletes crossed the start line on a cool, overcast day in Japan’s capital city. The conditions proved to be perfect for marathon racing, as Chumba bettered the men’s course record by more than a minute (previously 2:06:50 set by Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto last year), and Tsegaye carved more than three minutes off the women’s course record (previously 2:25:28 set by Ethiopia’s Atsede Habtamu in 2012).

Despite arriving with a sub 2:06 personal best, Chumba was not favored as a likely winner, as his previous WMM best was a seventh place showing at the Boston Marathon last spring. He also started but did not finish the 2012 Boston and 2011 Chicago marathons. With the lead pack still 12-strong through 30K, it was Chumba who produced the surge that dropped the race favorite Abel Kirui of Kenya, the two-time world champion. By 35K, the pack was down to six, and 5K later, with Chumba in charge, the only athlete hanging on was world championship bronze medalist Tadese Tola of Ethiopia. Chumba broke the finish tape in 2:05:42, a personal best by four seconds, and Tola followed 15 seconds later in second. In total, three athletes were under the previous course record, as Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara was third in 2:06:30. The top five was rounded out by Kenyans Michael Kipyego (2:06:58), the 2012 Tokyo winner, and first-time WMM point-scorer Peter Some (2:07:05). Kirui was 10th in 2:09:04.

Tsegaye won a hard-earned victory over fellow Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba. Like Chumba in the men’s race, Tsegaye was the aggressor, moving to the front near 30K and dropping race favoite Lucy Kabuu of Kenya by 35K. With one kilometer to go, Tsegaye appeared spent and Dibaba seemed on her way to victory. But the 2012 Berlin Marathon runner-up fought back with half a kilometer to go, crossing the finish line seven seconds ahead of Dibaba. Kabuu was third in 2:24:16, and Caroline Rotich of Kenya was fourth in 2:24:35, putting the top four under the previous course record. Fifth place went to WMM rookie Janet Rono of Kenya with a personal best 2:26:03.

The top Japanese athletes were Kohei Matsumura, eighth in the men’s race in a personal best 2:08:09, and Mai Ito, seventh in the women’s race in 2:28:36.

WMM competition resumes in April with the Virgin Money London Marathon (April 13) and the B.A.A. Boston Marathon (April 21).

2013-2014 WMM Series Leaderboard

Top 10 Men

1 Dennis Kimetto KEN 50 pts Competing in Boston
2 Tsegaye Kebede ETH 45 pts Competing in London
3 Lelisa Desisa ETH 40 pts Competing in Boston
4 Emmanuel Mutai KEN 30 pts Competing in London
5 Wilson Kipsang KEN 26 pts Competing in London
6 Dickson Chumba KEN 25 pts Competed in Tokyo
6 Stephen Kiprotich UGA 25 pts Competing in London
6 Geoffrey Mutai KEN 25 pts Competing in London
6 Tadese Tola ETH 25 pts Competed in Tokyo
10 Michael Kipyego KEN 20 pts Competed in Tokyo
10 Sammy Kitwara KEN 20 pts Competed in Tokyo
10 Micah Kogo KEN 20 pts Competing in Boston

Top 10 Women

1 Priscah Jeptoo KEN 50 pts Competing in London
1 Rita Jeptoo KEN 50 pts Competing in Boston
3 Edna Kiplagat KEN 40 pts Competing in London
4 Tirfi Tsegaye ETH 26 pts Competed in Tokyo
5 Sharon Cherop KEN 25 pts Competing in Boston
5 Aberu Kebede ETH 25 pts Competing in London
5 Florence Kiplagat KEN 25 pts Competing in London
8 Irina Mikitenko GER 20 pts
9 Valeria Straneo ITA 16 pts
10 Buzunesh Deba ETH 15 pts Competing in Boston
10 Jemima Sumgong KEN 15 pts Competing in Boston
10 Meseret Hailu ETH 15 pts Competing in Boston
10 Birhane Dibaba ETH 15 pts Competed in Tokyo
10 Yeshi Esayias ETH 15 pts Competing in Boston

For more, go to worldmarathonmajors.com.