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Perfect day for Kenya as Kipsang wins Tokyo Marathon

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Wilson Kipsang (C) comes in ahead of five other Kenyan runners to win the Tokyo Marathon © AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI

TOKYO, Japan, Feb 26 – Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang stormed to victory in the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday in the fastest race ever run in Japan.

The former world record holder clocked 2hr 3min 58sec over a flatter course than in previous years as he added the Tokyo title to victories in London, New York and Berlin.

Sarah Chepchirchir won the women’s race in a personal best 2:19:47 — the first sub-2:20 in Japan — to complete a perfect day for Kenya.

The top six men’s finishers were all Kenyans with Gideon Kipketer runner-up in 2:05:51 and former winner Dickson Chumba third in 2:06:25.

Evans Chebet (2:06:42), Alfers Lagat (2:07:39) and Bernard Kipyego (2:08:10) all finished ahead of Eritrean Yohanes Gebregergish, who clocked 2:08:14 to edge out Japan’s Hiroto Inoue.

Kipsang had targeted countryman Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 and he got off to a quick start in the Tokyo sunshine.

The 34-year-old’s pace dropped over the final 10 kilometres running into a slight breeze but still ran a fourth sub-2:04.

“I felt good today and I was trying to go for a world record,” said Kipsang, who held the world mark with a 2:03:23 run at the Berlin Marathon in 2013 before Kimetto surpassed that a year later.

“It was a little bit windy,” added the London Olympic bronze medallist. “That’s why I couldn’t run that time, but I look forward to coming back and hope to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.”

Chepchirchir left a quality field in her wake, former champion Birhane Dibaba of Ethiopia finishing second over a minute and a half behind in her bid to win a second Tokyo title in three years.

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