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World Record Holders Kosgei and Kipchoge Lead Tokyo Marathon Elite Field

With prime minister Fumio Kishida having publicly confirmed yesterday that Japan will begin relaxing its rigid border restrictions as of Mar. 1, the Mar. 6 Tokyo Marathon followed up its earlier announcement of the domestic elite field for this year's twice-rescheduled race with the full list of international athletes scheduled to compete. Women's and men's world record holders Brigid Kosgei and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya are set to return to Japan after winning the Olympic marathon silver and gold medals in Sapporo last summer, with backing from small but high-quality international fields, the Japanese women-only and men's marathon NR holders and half marathon NR holders, and more.

Kosgei will face a solid list of proven winners, including last year's Amsterdam winner Angela Tanui (Kenya), 2019 Berlin winner Ashete Bekere (Ethiopia), 2021 Milan winner Hiwot Gebrekidan (Ethiopia), 2021 Berlin winner Gotytom Gebreslase (Ethiopia), 2020 Marathon Project winner Sara Hall (U.S.A.) fresh off a new NR at January’s Houston Half Marathon, and 2019 Tokyo Marathon runner-up Helen Bekele (Ethiopia), winner of the Olympic-qualifying microrace held in Belp, Switzerland last year. Japan's women-only NR holder Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal), 1st in Osaka last year and 1st in Nagoya the year before, is also in the mix between Gotytom and Hall by best time. 2020 winner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter is chasing bigger bucks in Nagoya the weekend after Tokyo, but her 2:17:45 event record won't go easily. 

Kipchoge's main competition comes from 2019 and 2020 Tokyo winner Birhanu Legese (Ethiopia) and 2019 Doha World Championships silver medalist Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia). Kipchoge's best time in a legitimate race since setting the 2:01:39 world record in 2018 was his 2:02:37 win in London 2019, and both Birhanu and Mosinet have run within 18 seconds of that. Mosinet and Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia) both beat Kipchoge in London 2020, and with Tola's 2:03:39 win in Amsterdam last fall almost a minute faster than Kipchoge's best time of 2020 and 2021 he's on the list of people who could take away a Tokyo win too. Likewise for Doha bronze medalist Amos Kipruto (Kenya). Jonathan Korir (Kenya) and Japanese NR holder Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) round out the list of current sub-2:05 runners, with Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) just outside. Given the number of people who've run faster than Wilson Kipsang's 2:03:58 event record, the chances are higher that we'll see it go than the women's.

As of right now it looks like Tokyo will be trying to go ahead with a full mass-participation field of 25,000, even as the 20,000-runner Osaka Marathon the weekend before Tokyo announced this week that it was cutting back to an elite-only race as COVID numbers stay high and other races cancel outright. Check back closer to race date for more info on following live from the outside world.

2021 Tokyo Marathon

Elite Field Highlights
Tokyo, 6 Mar. 2022
times listed are best in last 3 years except where noted

Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) - 2:14:04 (Chicago 2019)
Angela Tanui (Kenya) - 2:17:57 (Amsterdam 2021)
Ashete Bekere (Ethiopia) - 2:18:18 (London 2021)
Hiwot Gebrekidan (Ethiopia) - 2:19:35 (Milan 2021)
Gotytom Gebreslase (Ethiopia) - 2:20:09 (Berlin 2021)
Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 2:20:29 (Nagoya 2020)
Sara Hall (U.S.A.) - 2:20:32 (Marathon Project 2020)
Helen Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:21:01 (Tokyo 2019)
Natsuki Omori (Daihatsu) - 2:28:38 (Nagoya 2021)
Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto) - 2:28:51 (Osaka Int'l 2020)
Hitomi Niiya (Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:30:58 (Nagoya 2009)
Miharu Shimokado (SID Group) - 2:32:48 (Osaka Int'l 2020)
Yui Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:00 (Nagoya 2020)
Hitomi Mizuguchi (Uniqlo) - 2:32:33 (Osaka Int'l 2020)
Mai Fujisawa (Hokkaido Excel AC) - 2:35:52 (Kanazawa 2021)
Tomomi Sawahata (Sawahatters) - 2:36:45 (Osaka Int'l 2022)

Debut / Do-Over
Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 1:10:28 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2021)
Rika Kaseda (Daihatsu) - 31:39.86 (Nat'l Championships 2020)

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) - 2:02:37 (London 2019)
Birhanu Legese (Ethiopia) - 2:02:48 (Berlin 2019)
Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) - 2:02:55 (London 2019)
Amos Kipruto (Kenya) - 2:03:30 (Valencia 2020)
Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:03:39 (Amsterdam 2021)
Jonathan Korir (Kenya) - 2:04:32 (Amsterdam 2021)
Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) - 2:04:56 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) - 2:05:01 (London 2019)
Hidekazu Hijikata (Honda) - 2:06:26 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Kyohei Hosoya (Kurosaki Harima) - 2:06:35 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Ryu Takaku (Yakult) - 2:06:45 (Tokyo 2020)
Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi Juko) - 2:06:47 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) - 2:06:51 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Daisuke Uekado (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:06:54 (Tokyo 2020)
Toshiki Sadakata (Mitsubishi Juko) - 2:07:05 (Tokyo 2020)
Yuya Yoshida (GMO) - 2:07:05 (Fukuoka Int'l 2020)
Simon Kariuki (Kenya/Togami Denki) - 2:07:18 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 2:07:20 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Shin Kimura (Honda) - 2:07:20 (Tokyo 2020)
Kento Kikutani (Toyota Boshoku) - 2:07:26 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Yuta Shimoda (GMO) - 2:07:27 (Tokyo 2020)
Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) - 2:07:39 (Tokyo 2020)
Masaki Sakuda (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:07:42 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki) - 2:07:51 (Fukuoka Int'l 2021)
Atsumi Ashiwa (Honda) - 2:07:54 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Laban Korir (Kenya) - 2:07:56 (Amsterdam 2021)
Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:08:11 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:08:15 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Naoya Sakuda (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:08:21 (Fukuoka Int'l 2020)
Daisuke Hosomori (YKK) - 2:08:28 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Keisuke Hayashi (GMO) - 2:08:52 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Kazuma Kubo (Nishitetsu) - 2:08:53 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota) - 2:09:04 (Tokyo 2020)
Takumi Kiyotani (Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:09:13 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Yuki Sato (SGH Group) - 2:09:18 (Berlin 2018)
Kei Katanishi (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:09:27 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Yuki Takamiya (Yakult) - 2:09:30 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 2:09:36 (Fukuoka Int'l 2019)
Takamitsu Hashimoto (Komori Corp.) - 2:09:43 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Keisuke Tanaka (Fujitsu) - 2:10:07 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Kensuke Horio (Toyota) - 2:10:21 (Tokyo 2019)
Akira Tomiyasu (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:10:29 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) - 2:10:32 (Lake Biwa 2020)
Ryota Komori (NTN) - 2:10:33 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Takuma Kumagai (Sumitomo Denko) - 2:10:41 (Fukuoka Int'l 2021)
Yuki Nakamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 2:10:47 (Lake Biwa 2021)
Takuma Shibata (Komori Corp.) - 2:10:48 (Hofu 2020)
Shota Saito (JFE Steel) - 2:10:50 (Beppu-Oita 2020)
Daiji Kawai (Toenec) - 2:10:50 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Junnosuke Matsuo (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:11:00 (Beppu-Oita 2020)
Asuka Tanaka (Runlife) - 2:11:07 (Fukuoka Int'l 2020)
Taiki Yoshimura (Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:13 (Hofu 2019)
Toshinori Watanabe (GMO) - 2:11:17 (Katsuta 2020)
Yoshiyuki Hara (Gotemba Takigahara SDF Base) - 2:11:21 (Hofu 2020)
Benard Kimani (Kenya/Comodi Iida) - 2:11:31 (Eindhoven 2019)

Debut / Do-Over
Nicholas Kosimbei (Kenya/YKK) - 1:00:20 (Lisbon Half 2019)
Tomoya Ogikubo (Yakult) - 1:00:43 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2022)
Masashi Nonaka (Osaka Gas) - 1:00:48 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2022)
Naoki Koyama (Honda) - 1:01:08 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2020)

© 2022 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Andrew Armiger said…
Hopeful for Niiya to have a great race here! Also intrigued to see how Suzuki and Yoshida perform.
Stefan said…
Such a strong elite field at Tokyo. I'm a bit surprised that some of the women elite runners elected not to participate in Nagoya where the prize money being offered is so large. I'm looking forward to seeing how Sara Hall fares as she has been in superb form of late. I think a sub 2:20 time is definitely on the cards for the women. Hopefully, Mao Ichiyama can stay with the top runners and post a good time. And hoping the weather plays its part too and the conditions are suitable for a fast time.

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