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Chumba recaptures Tokyo Marathon title

Dickson Chumba winning the 2018 Tokyo Marathon (AFP) © Copyright

TOKYO, Japan, Feb 25 – Kenya’s Dickson Chumba cruised to his second victory at the Tokyo Marathon after winning the men’s 2018 edition in a time of 2:05:30 in a race held on Sunday in the Japan’s capital city.

Chumba, who won the race in 2015, clocked 2:05:30 to take his second Tokyo title while the women’s title went to Ethiopian Berhane Dibaba, who joined the sub-2:20 club with her 2:19:51 run to also capture her second Tokyo crown.

Both runners became the first man and woman to ever win a second Tokyo Marathon title.

Chumba’s winning time was the second fastest in race history, behind the course record of 2:03:58 set by Wilson Kipsang in 2017.

“Although I missed cracking 2:05, I am happy with the time,” Chumba said. “Next year, I would like to come back and run a 2:04.”

The race did not start as quickly as last year, when runners covered the opening five-kilometre stretch in 14:15. Instead, it was a more reasonable 14:47, with later splits of 29:38 at 10 kilometres and 44:36 at 15.

They were fast, but not fast enough for the world record pace planned for Kipsang who began to drift back at the 15-kilometre water station. About a kilometre-and-a-half later, Kipsang’s pace was reduced to a walk before he eventually dropped out.

The midway point was reached in 1:02:44 and 30 kilometres in 1:29:20. With the pacesetters’ duties completed, Chumba began to force the pace.

The Kenyan, along with compatriots Amos Kipruto and Gideon Kipketer, covered the next five kilometres in 14:51. But when he further increased the tempo, he was soon left completely alone.

But he but didn’t let up. Chumba covered the 35-40 kilometre segment in 14:44 –nobody else managed it in under 15 minutes– before reaching the finish for his convincing win.

Japanese record for Shitara

Seventh at 35 kilometres, Yuta Shitara roared back to second soon after the 40th kilometre to finish second in 2:06:11, breaking Toshinari Takaoka’s Japanese national record of 2:06:16 set in 2002.

Amos Kipruto was third with 2:06:33, Gideon Kipketer fourth with 2:06:47 and Hiroto Inoue was fifth in 2:06:54. In all, five runners broke 2:07 and ten broke 2:09, both records for a marathon in Japan. Previously, four broke 2:07 in both the 2014 and 2017 Tokyo Marathons while nine broke 2:09 in both of those editions.

Dibaba dominates

Berhane Dibaba winning the 2018 Tokyo Marathon (AFP) © Copyright

In the women’s race, Dibaba’s winning time of 2:19:51 was also the second fastest time in race history, behind the 2:19:47 course record Sara Chepchirchir set last year. Dibaba also became the 26th runner to crack 2:20 for the distance.

By 20 kilometres, the lead pack was reduced to four runners –Dibaba, her compatriots Ruti Aga and Shure Demise, and Amy Cragg of the US. Demise began to drift back, leaving a trio in contention 10 kilometres later.

Cragg was the next to drop back after Dibaba’s 16:26 split between kilometres 30 and 35. The next five kilometres were even faster at 16:22, dropping Ruti.

“The weather was great and my leg also felt great,” said Dibaba, whose previous best was 2:21:19 set in Tokyo last year. “At 35km I thought I could win this race.”

Aga held on for second in 2:21:19 with Cragg crossing the line third in 2:21:42, slicing more than five minutes from her previous personal best. Aga’s time equalled the third fastest performance in race history while Cragg’s was the sixth fastest.



1) Dickson Chumba (KEN) 2:05:42

2) Tadese Tola (ETH) 2:05:57

3) Sammy Kitwara (KEN) 2:06:30

4) Michael Kipyego (KEN) 2:06:58

5) Peter Some (KEN) 2:07:05

6) Geoffrey Kipsang (KEN) 2:07:37

7) Deressa Chimsa (KEN) 2:07:40

8) Kohei Matsumura (JPN) 2:08:09 PR (previous best 2:10:12)

9) Koji Kobayashi (JPN) 2:08:51 PR (previous best 2:10:40)

10)Abel Kirui (KEN) 2:09:04


1) Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH) 2:22:23

2) Birhane Dibaba (ETH)2:22:30 PR (previous best 2:23:01)

3) Lucy Kabuu (KEN) 2:24:16

4) Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2:24:35

5) Janet Rono (KEN) 2:26:03 PR (previous best 2:28:36)