TOKYO: Dickson Chumba won the men’s race at the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday in a meet record of two hours, five minutes and 42 seconds as Kenyan and Ethiopian runners dominated the event. The 27-year-old Kenyan was followed home by Tadese Tola of Ethiopia at 2:05:57 and fellow countryman Sammy Kitwara at 2:06:30. Runners from the two African countries swept the top seven spots in the men’s race and the top five in the women’s.
Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race in a meet record of 2:22:23. Fellow Ethiopian Berhane Dibaba finished second at 2:22:30 and Lucy Kabuu of Kenya third at 2:24:16. The men’s race turned into a contest between 10 African runners after 30 kilometres and the front pack slimmed to four at the 35-kilometre mark. Chumba spurted ahead after 40 kilometres with Tola struggling behind him. “I have trained fully,” Chumba said after breaking his own personal best time of 2:05:46, which he clocked in winning the Eindhoven Marathon in October 2012. “I had planned to go for it after 35 kilometres,” he said. “I want to win a bigger race.”
After his Eindhoven triumph, Chumba had been without a marathon title. He failed to finish in Xiamen, China, and placed seventh and eighth in Boston and Amsterdam last year. “The course was tough and the weather was windy but I could stay focused well,” said Tsegaye after winning the women’s race. The 29-year-old Ethiopian made her marathon debut in 2008 when she won the Porto Marathon. She won the Paris Marathon in 2012 and the Dubai Marathon last year.
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