NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Defending Champion Wilson Kipsang of Kenya aims to run faster
and break the world record on his returns to the Tokyo marathon
on Feb. 25.
In the women’s race,
Helah Kiprop and Purity Rionoripo will face stiff challenges
from Ethiopians Shure Demise, Ruti Aga and Birhane Dibaba while
Anna Hahner (Germany) and Amy Cragg (USA) are also in the lineup.
Former world 5,000m
champion Meseret Defar will also be launching her marathon
career after retiring from the track.
Last year, Kipsang
missed out on the world record (2:02:57) but still ran the
fastest time ever on Japanese soil to win the Tokyo Marathon in
two hours, three minutes and 58 seconds. Now the Kenyan, 36,
will make a second attempt to break his compatriot Dennis
Kimetto’s world record.
Kipsang is one of
the most accomplished marathon runners from Kenya and holds a
best time of 2:03:13, which he attained in 2016 in Berlin.
“My focus is on
Tokyo race. I am out on a mission and today I had the
opportunity to train with Adidas runners in Japan and shared few
tips on how to run faster,” said Kipsang, who is in Tokyo to
promote the race.
After his win in
Tokyo last year, Kipsang dropped out of the Berlin marathon, but
recovered to finish second at the New York marathon.
Tokyo marathon Race
Director Tadaaki Hayano, said he has assembled a top class elite
“The assembled field
is good enough to target the world record of 2:02:57 as well as
the Japanese national record of 2:06:16,” said Hayano.
Tokyo’s new flat and
fast course was introduced from last year when the new
all-comers records were set for both men and women.
Kipsang will be
running the Tokyo Marathon for the second year in a row. Last
year, he passed half way point in 1:01:22 and was at the world
record pace until 30km.
competition is Tesfaye Abera from Ethiopia whose best time is
There is also Feyisa
Lilesa, the Olympic marathon silver medalist and Dickson Chumba
(Kenya), who stayed with Kipsang until 35km last year.
will be targeting to win and challenge the 2:07:19 time recorded
by Suguru Osako in Fukuoka Marathon.
Kenya’s Helah Kiprop
will be the lead candidate in the women’s race. Last year
Japanese all-comers record of 2:19:47 was set and this year’s
race features three 2:20 runners led by Ruti Aga of Ethiopia
with Berhane Dibaba starting the Tokyo marathon for the fifth
Chepchirchir set a new women’s mark in Tokyo last year when she
won in 2:19.47, the 32-year-old leading home Ethiopians Birhane
Dibaba (2:21.19) and Amane Gobena (2:23.09).