On Sunday morning in Tokyo (Saturday night in North America), Ethiopian Deso Gelmisa crossed the Tokyo Marathon finish line first. He was credited with the same time of 2:05:22 as compatriot Mohamed Esa who finished in second place. In the men’s race it was an Ethiopian sweep with Tsegaye Getachew rounding out the podium with his 2:05:25 finish — all clocking faster than the previous course record.
The first Kenyan was Titus Kipruto in the time of 2:05:32 taking fourth place.
The performance of the day may have been by Canadian Cameron Levins who smashed his own Canadian record finishing fifth in the time of 2:05:36. In fact, it is a North American record as he surprassed Khalid Khannouchi who continues to hold the American record at 2:05:38 from London in 2002. Levins’ previous record was 2:07:09 from the Eugene World Athletics Championships, where he finished fourth.
The race went out with three pacers, who varied between projected finish times of 2:03-high and 2:04-mid, with the gently undulating course. The lead pack was large through 10K at approximately 30 runners. The usual suspects were upfront, while Levins sat centre mid, biding his time.
As common in the marathon, things began to get interesting at approximately 32K into the race. The lead group had began to splinter, leaving a long trail of runners in a single file, fighting to keep pace. At 38K Levins went to the front. It was clear by his relaxed expression that the 33-year-old Vancouver Island native was going to again break the national record. By how much was in question.
Over the final kilometre it was down to four with Levins beginning to trail just a little.
Gelmisa entered the race with a 2:04:53 personal best from Valencia 2020. Esa has run as fast as 2:05:05 from Amsterdam in October last year — less than five months ago. In that same race Getachew won in the time of 2:04:49. Kipruto took second in the time of 2:04:54.
For Levins, a 2:07:09 marathon runner, to have the confidence to run with a pack of 2:04-level athletes demonstates that he knew going in that he had the potentional and the fitness. His 60:18 half marathon in Vancouver last month, which was run in less than perfect conditions and with no competition, was a harbinger of this race performance. Apparently, he could have dropped a 59-minute half on the day.
The top Japanese man was Ichitaka Yamashita 2:05:51 finishing in seventh position.
Canadian men now have the first and second fastest North American 5000m times and the fastest North American marathon porformance. Mo Ahmed and Justyn Knight ran the 5000m in 12:47.20 and 12:51.93 respectively.
Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya took the lead behind the pacers and appeared calm and in complete control of her effort from gun to tape. She won in the time of 2:16:28 for a new personal best time and course record. Also finishing under the old course record time was Ethiopian Tsehay Gemechu 28 seconds back in 2:16:56. They were together until about 36K into the race before an almost imperseptable crack formed in the distance between the two. Gemechu held strong, but a slight strain in her face showed, she was working harder than Wanjiru.
It was Gemechu’s second marathon. In October she ran the Amsterdam and clocked a 2:18:59 in her debut.
Ethiopian Ashete Bekere took third in the time of 2:19:11. She came in as the defending champion and pre-race favourite with her 2:17:58 from last year.
The top Japanese woman was Mizuki Matsuda who took sixth in the time of 2:21:44.
The lead women dropped the pacers early and forged on as at different points they were one minute ahead of goal pace, through 10K and 20K, respectively.
Leading Results Men
|3||ＧＥＴＡＣＨＥＷ ＫＥＢＥＤＥ Ｔｓｅｇａｙｅ||ETH||2:05:25||0:00:03|
|6||ＡＢＡＴＥ Ｄｅｍｅ Ｔａｄｕ||ETH||2:05:38||0:00:16|
|16||ＯＭＡＲＥ ＤＯＭＩＮＩＣ Ｎｙａｉｒｏ||KEN||2:08:13||0:02:51|
Leading Results Women
|18||Rachel Joy Hodgkinson||GBR||2:36:44||0:20:16|
|21||Olivia Alexandra Witney||NZL||2:40:01||0:23:33|