Tokyo marathon promises to be exciting and great this weekend, a view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat


StartV-Tokyo12.jpgTokyo's amazing start, photo by

Here is a short piece on the Tokyo Marathon which is about to start in Tokyo this weekend!

Tokyo marathon promises to be exciting and great this weekend
The Tokyo marathon is poised to command a large following on social media and also on the TV networks this weekend given the timing of it being the last race that will determine the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) winners, a race that holds the fate of many athletes in their quest to make their countries' Olympic national teams and also for the fact that the elite fields that have been assembled this year for this marathon is arguable the best ever assembled here. The marathon will also be celebrating its 10thanniversary.
Emmanuel Mutai who has a personal best time of 2:03:13 will not be running in his traditional marathon, the London Marathon, but is shifting his focus this year to the Tokyo Marathon. Mutai is used to competing in the most competitive marathons in the world and the field assembled for Tokyo marathon may not be as daunting to him as those he would meet in London and Berlin.
Some of his biggest competitors will include Abel Kirui, the 2009 and 2011 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist, who is well known as a championship runner and will definitely be using this marathon to try and get named in Kenya's Olympic marathon team. Dickson Chumba with a personal best time of 2:04:32 stands a chance to equal Eliud Kipchoge on the AWMM points and will be in contention for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series IX title having won the Chicago marathon last year. He is perhaps one athlete who has the greatest incentive to do his best at this race.

Two other big contenders for the Tokyo marathon title and who, interestingly, trains alongside Emmanuel Mutai are Bernard Kipyego and Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. Kiprotich is the 2012 Olympic and 2013 World Champion, but has never won in any of the world marathon majors. He will be seeking to win his first AWMM race here.
Besides the Kenyan men is the world bronze medalist from Daegu, Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia who has a personal best time of 2:04.52 and will be aiming to spoil the party for the Kenyans.
Heading the women's race is Kenya's Edna Kiplagat who has a personal best time of 2:19:50. Like her male counterparts, she will be aiming to run well here and get to be named in Kenya's marathon team to the Rio Olympic Games. Helah Kiprop, who was the silver medalist and the best placed Kenyan during the Beijing world championships will also be in the race and she also stands a chance to win the AWMM jackpot prize if she wins here.
There will be a strong group of Ethiopian runners that will include two runners who still have a chance to win the AWMM title if they win here; Aberu Kebede and Birhane Dibaba. Other Ethiopians include Demise Shure and Gobena Amane.

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