Analysis: How Kipchoge faltered at Tokyo Marathon

Sunday, March 3rd, 2024 15:17 | By
Kipchoge eyes Tokyo Marathon as ladder to 2024 Paris Olympics
Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge checks his watch as he jogs in Berlin. PHOTO/ Eliud Kipchoge/X

Eliud Kipchoge was among the favourites athletes tipped to win the 2024 Tokyo Marathon, but the Kenyan star ended up finishing a distant 10th.

Although Kipchoge failed to deliver in Japan, his three compatriots, Benson Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat, and Vincent Kipkemoi Ngetich, completed the podium sweep, with Bethwell Kibet coming in sixth.

Although the race went out at world-record pace, the tempo settled slightly by the 15km point, with Kipchoge, Kipruto, Kiplagat, and Ng'etich all in the leading group. Running behind the pacemakers, they went past that mark in 42:52.

By the time the leading group reached the 20km mark, Kipchoge started dropping back and was five seconds behind when the leaders reached that checkpoint at 57:14.

Over the second half, there was a cat-and-mouse duel between the leading three as Kipchoge ceded more ground. Kiplagat was at this time five seconds ahead of his rivals as they hit the 30km mark, which they passed at 1:26:08, before Kipruto took control.

Ng'etich, the 2023 Berlin Marathon runner-up, dropped, with Kiplagat and Kipruto forging forward. The leading duo were split in the final 5km when Kipruto picked up more speed, leaving Kiplagat trailing.

Kipruto's Tokyo success

Kipruto emerged as the winner, and it was a double joy for him given that he completed the race in 2:02:16, taking a chunk off his personal best of 2:04:02, which was set in Chicago in October last year.

Kenya’s Benson Kipruto in Tokyo Marathon. PHOTO/Tokyo Marathon

He also moved to fifth on the world all-time list, and on his part, Kiplagat improved by almost a minute, running 2:02:55.

Yusuke Nishiyama, who finished ninth ahead of Kipchoge, was the top Japanese finisher after running a personal best of 2:06:31.

After winning, Kipruto revealed how he prepared and what he expected in Tokyo.

“I didn’t know that it would be a course record, but I am so happy with today’s run. I was ready. I knew it was so fast. I trained for it, and I was ready for everything that could come," Kipruto said.

More on Sports