TOKYO, Japan, February 24 – Dennis Kipruto Kimetto defeated defending champion and fellow Kenyan Michael Kipkorir Kipyego to claim his first victory in the Tokyo marathon on Sunday.
Kimetto, the runner-up in his debut at Berlin last year, kept a narrow lead over Kipyego in the last 10 kilometres before crossing the finishing line in two hours six minutes 50 seconds in his second full distance marathon.
He led the Kenyan one-two-three finish with Kipyego finishing second in 2:06:58 and Bernard Kiprop Kipyego third in 2:07:53.
The women’s race was won by Aberu Kebede in 2:25:34, who made it an Ethiopian one-two with Yeshi Esayias in 2:26:01. Irina Mikitenko of Germany was third in 2:26:41.
“I feel good and happy, because I won the race,” said Kimetto, 29.
“After I started, I felt good and I tried to push the pacemakers. I felt I was sure of winning the race after 35 kilometres, so I just tried to keep my pace,” he added.
Some 30 runners formed the front-running group until the last three pace-setters abandoned the race at the 30km point, from where Kimetto and Michael Kipkorir Kipyego increased their pace.
James Kipsang Kwambai, Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa and Gideon Kipkemoi Kipketer trailed them to form a five-Kenyan group before Kimetto and Kipyego slowly outdistanced them.
Japan’s Kazuhiro Maeda missed the bottom line of qualifying for the world championships by one second finishing at fourth place in 2:08:00, but still has a chance for the competition in Moscow in August.
1. Dennis Kipruto Kimetto (KEN) 2hr 06min 50sec
2. Michael Kipkorir Kipyego (KEN) 2:06:58
3. Bernard Kiprop Kipyego (KEN) 2:07:53
4. Kazuhiro Maeda (JPN) 2:08:00
5. James Kipsang Kwambai (KEN) 2:08:02
6. Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa (KEN) 2:08:17
7. Feyisa Bekele (ETH) 2:09:05
8. Dino Sefir (ETH) 2:09:13
9. Takayuki Matsumiya (JPN) 2:09:14
10. Jonathan Kiplimo Maiyo (KEN) 2:10:18
1. Aberu Kebede (ETH) 2:25:34
2. Yeshi Esayias (ETH) 2:26:01
3. Irina Mikitenko (GER) 2:26:41
4. Albina Mayorova (RUS) 2:26:51
5. Yoshimi Ozaki (JPN) 2:28:30
6. Helalia Johannes (NAM) 2:29:20
7. Mika Yoshikawa (JPN) 2:30:20
8. Nastassia Staravoitava (BLR) 2:30:45
9. Azusa Nojiri (JPN) 2:31:15
10. Hiroko Yoshitomi (JPN) 2:31:28