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Kipruto shatters Kipchoge's record in Tokyo

Kenya’s Benson Kipruto and Ethiopia’s Sutume Asefa Kebede stormed to new course records at the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday.
 
The opening race of Series XVI of the Abbott World Marathon Majors was soaked in spring sunshine in the Japanese capital, and the athletes took full advantage of the crisp, clear conditions to register some quick times.
 
With course record holder and former world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in the men’s field, the pace was expected to be high, and the first half of the race duly obliged, delivering a split of one hour and 20 seconds at 13.1 miles.
 
It was not, however, Kipchoge leading the charge. The 11-time Major winner and double Olympic champion fell behind somewhat abruptly in the 20th kilometer and was unable to regain contact with the leading group.
 
That pack contained Kipruto and his fellow Kenyans Timothy Kiplagat and Vincent Ngetich.
 
Ngetich was next to fall away as the race reached the deep end, and in the final 5km, it was Kipruto who fired the winning shot with a surge that Kiplagat couldn’t match.
 
The 32-year-old was able to pull away and clock a new all-comers record in Tokyo of 2:02:16, wiping out Kipchoge’s 2:02:40 set in 2022.
 
In the women’s race, predictions for a third win in three Majors for Sifan Hassan never looked likely to come true.
 
The Dutch star could not take a grip of the leading pack and remained towards the rear of a large group that stayed together until 28km when she fell backwards and was left to battle to the end on her own.
 
With last year’s Tokyo champion Rosemary Wanjiru and world champion Amane Beriso Shankule in contention, the pace ratcheted up, which did nothing to deter the efforts of Kebede.
 
The 2024 Houston Half Marathon champion looked comfortable with the pace being asked for and stuck with her two more illustrious rivals.
 
It was Shankule who cracked first at 30km, leaving Wanjiru and Kebede to decide who would reach the perimeter of the Imperial Palace first.
 
Kebede, who was third in Tokyo in 2020, dropped the Kenyan in the final miles. The Ethiopian dug deep to stay within Brigid Kosgei’s course record of 2:16:04, and scorched home in 2:15:55 to score her first AbbottWMM victory.

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