Legese and Aga Secure Ethiopian Double at Tokyo Marathon

Birhanu Legese wins the Tokyo Marathon (AFP / Getty Images)

Birhanu Legese (marathon world rank: 55) and Ruti Aga (marathon world rank: 10) claimed the top spots at the Tokyo Marathon today, landing just the second Ethiopian double in the 13-year history of the IAAF Gold Label road race.

Legese’s mark of 2:04:48 was the second-fastest winning time in the Japanese capital, while Aga’s 2:20:40 was the third-fastest clocking in the women’s race.

“It is a good course,” said Legese. “Had the weather been better, I could have run 2:03.”

Both athletes achieved the first marathon victories of their careers and did so with their second-fastest times to date.

Legese went on to win in 2:04:48, just 33 seconds shy of the PB he set on his debut at the distance in Dubai last year. Bedan Karoki (Kenya) finished second with a PB of 2:06:48 and was followed by compatriot and two-time winner Dickson Chumba in 2:08.44. 

Ruti Aga crosses the finish line at the Tokyo Marathon (AFP / Getty Images)

Aga Leads Ethiopian Sweep in women’s

The women’s race also went out fast, covering five kilometres in 16:34, 10 kilometres in 33:04, and 15 kilometres in 49:25. Seven runners – Ababel Yeshaneh, Ruti Aga, Florence Kiplagat, Helen Tola (marathon world rank: 42), Shure Demisse (marathon world rank: 28), Yebrgual Melese (marathon world rank: 8) and Bedatu Hirpa (marathon world rank: 33) – passed the half-way point in 1:09:44, putting them on pace to break the course record.

Melese was dropped before 25 kilometres, leaving six women in the lead pack. Aga started to pull away after 35 kilometres and went on to win in 2:20:40, little more than two minutes shy of the 2:18:34 PB she set in Berlin last year.

Compatriot Tola finished just 21 seconds adrift in a lifetime best of 2:21:01, her fourth consecutive PB. Demisse was four seconds behind in third in 2:21:05, just six seconds shy of her 2:20:59 PB, recorded on her debut. It was the first Ethiopian women’s 1-2-3 in the history of the Tokyo Marathon.


1 Birhanu Legesse (Ethiopia) 2:04:48
2 Bedan Karoki (KEN) 2:06:48
3 Dickson Chumba (KEN) 2:08:44
4 Simon Kariuki (KEN) 2:09:41
5 Kensuke Horio (JPN) 2:10:21
6 Masato Imai (JPN) 2:10:30
7 Takuya Fujikawa (JPN) 2:10:35
8 Daichi Kamino (JPN) 2:11:05
9 Ryu Takaku (JPN) 2:11:49
10 Tadashi Isshiki (JPN) 2:12:21

1 Ruti Aga (Ethiopia) 2:20:40
2 Helen Tola (Ethiopia) 2:21:01
3 Shure Demise (Ethiopia) 2:21:05
4 Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:21:50
5 Bedatu Hirpa (Ethiopia) 2:23:43
6 Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia) 2:24:02
7 Mao Ichiyama (JPN) 2:24:33
8 Joan Chelimo Melly (KEN) 2:26:24
9 Rose Chelimo (BRN) 2:30:35
10 Ruth Chebitok (KEN) 2:31:19

Read original article at: IAAF.org