Ruti Aga, photo by PhotoRun.net
TOKYO (JPN, Mar 3): 2019 Tokyo Marathon registered Ethiopian winners as headwinds in the last 6.5 km and cold rain throughout kept the really fast times from happening as scheduled. Brett Larner informs that number one on paper Birhanu Legese as men winner was not a surprise in 2:04:48. Second Bedan Karoki 2:06:48 PB and third Dickson Chumba 2:08:44. Only one more time sub 2:10 with Simon Kariuki in debut 2.09:41. Best Japanese Kensuke Horio 2:10:21 in debut as fifth. Equally unsurprising was the top position of Ruti Aga who had predicted a 2:18:30 at the pre-race press conference and forced the pacers and at least six other women in the front group to go for just that, splitting 1:09:45 at halfway. Things fell off a bit in the second half, especially after the 35.8 km turnaround. Her winning time was 2:20:40. Helen Tola and Shure Demise were 2nd and 3rd in 2:21:01 and 2:21:05 to make it an Ethiopian sweep of the podium, with Kenyan Florence Kiplagat the top non-Ethiopian at 4th in 2:21:50. Best Japanese was Mao Ichiyama 2:24:33 as 7th in the debut at the distance.