Kipsang 2:03:58 and Chepchirchir 2:19:47
TOKYO (JPN, Feb 26): Wilson Kipsang broke the sub-2:04 mark for the fourth time in his career with victory in the Tokyo Marathon in a Japanese all-comers’ record of 2:03:58. Kipsang was ahead of Dennis Kimetto’s world record schedule through 30km in 1:27:27 but the record slipped in the next 10km which he covered in 30:02. Kipsang won by nearly two minutes ahead of Gideon Kipketer (2:05:51), Dickson Chumba (2:06:25), Evans Chebet (2:06:42), Alfers Lagat (2:07:39) and Bernard Kipyego (2:08:10). Eritrea’s Yohanes Ghebregergish was the top non-Kenyan finisher in seventh in 2:08:14 with Hiroto Inoue the leading Japanese finisher in eighth (2:08:22). Former Olympic bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede from Ethiopia was ninth in 2:08:45. Thirteen athletes broke the 2:10-mark in the men’s race. “Had someone stayed close to me, it would have been easier to chase record,” said Kipsang. Sarah Chepchirchir made a big breakthrough in the women’s race, improving from 2:24:13 to 2:19:47 (70:31/69:16) to break the Japanese all-comers’ record which stood to Mizuki Noguchi at 2:21:18 from 2003. “I am convinced that this time is good enough to be selected for the Kenyan World Championships team,” said Chepchirchir. Ethiopians were second and third respectively through Birhane Dibaba (2:21:19) and Amane Gobena (2:23:09) while USA’s Sara Hall set a big lifetime best of 2:28:26 in sixth. Debutant Betsy Saina was on 2:20-pace in the early stages but dropped out in the second half.