Kenya’s two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge said he would aim for “one thing at a time” after narrowly failing to break his own world record in a dominating performance at Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon.
Kipchoge won the race in 2 hours 2 minutes 40 seconds, the fourth fastest time in history, earning him victories in four of the world’s six major marathons.
But Kipchoge was unable to beat the 2:01.39 he clocked in the 2018 Berlin Marathon, hampered in part by a wrong turn around 10 kilometers that cost him precious seconds.
The 37-year-old has now run three of the four fastest marathons in history and has ambitions to win a record-breaking third consecutive Olympic gold in Paris 2024.
“I think I’m happy to run a course record here in Tokyo,” said Kipchoge, who joined a select club of athletes last year when he defended his gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics at the pandemic-delayed Games. in Tokyo.
“I always say I’m aiming for one thing at a time,” Kipchoge said.
“I’m going back to Kenya to talk to the coaches, to the management, to talk to my team about the opportunities and the goals we’re going to set together because we’re working as a team.”
The Tokyo Marathon took place for the first time in two years due to the pandemic and it took an unexpected turn when the leading pack took a wrong turn around 10km.
‘Inspire the world’
The runners had to turn around after following a TV truck in the wrong direction, disrupting their rhythm and costing them about 10 seconds.
Kenyan Amos Kipruto was the only runner who could keep up with Kipchoge until the world record holder broke around 35km.
Kipchoge crossed the tire to finally enjoy victory in Tokyo, having won his Olympic title in Sapporo last summer after the race was rescheduled due to heat problems.
“The reason I came back was to run in the streets of Tokyo, as I promised last year,” Kipchoge said.
“The second was to come strong and run, the third was to come and inspire the world, the fourth was to come and enjoy the streets of Tokyo by telling people that if we come together, we can do it dissolve.”
Kipruto finished second in a personal best in 2:03.13 and Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola was third in 2:04.14.
Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, who started the race with the fourth fastest marathon time in history, dropped out around 25km.
Kenyan Brigid Kosgei, another world record holder, won the women’s race in 2:16.02.
Ethiopian Ashete Bekere was second in 2:17:58, while her compatriot Gotytom Gebreslase was third in 2:18.18.
Kipchoge made his debut in Tokyo, one of the six major marathons alongside New York, Berlin, Chicago, London and Boston.
Kipchoge had already won in London, Chicago and Berlin and it is one of his career goals to land all six.
He made history in 2019 by breaking the two-hour barrier in a specially designed challenge run, but his 1:59.40 does not count as a world record mainly due to the use of 41 rotating pacemakers.