The prohibitive favorite Dennis Kimetto won the Tokyo Marathon 2013 with the course record time of 2:06:50. Because of the strong wind, the pace stayed moderate from the start.
The race broke open after passing 30Km in 1:31:21, when the pace makers left the course. Kimetto covered 30 to 35Km in 14:20 and 35 to 40km in 14:35 and only the defending champion Michael Kipyego was able to stay close to Kimetto.
Michael Kipyego was six seconds behind Kimetto at 40Km, but he was not able to get any closer. Kimetto won in 2:06:50, which was the course record by 33 seconds. “At 35Km I thought I could win the race. The pace maker was little slow for me and I thought of leaving them behind at times, but I decided to stay with the pace,” said Kimetto at the post race press conference. When asked about his next marathon, Kimetto said, “I want to run the World Championships next, but if that is not possible then I will run Berlin. And if I ran Berlin I want to go after the world record.” Michael Kipyego was second with 2:06:58, while Bernard Kipyego was third with 2:07:53. Michael Kipyego failed on his attempt to become the first two-time champion at Tokyo.
The race for the first Japanese was won by Kazuhiro Maeda. He pushed hard in the closing stage of the race in pursuit of World Championships auto qualifying time of 2:07:59. Although he passed Gilbert Kirwa and then James Kwambai in the final Km to finish fourth, his time goal was not fulfilled. His time was 2:08:00. “I am disappointed that I did not run 2:07, but I am happy with 2:08 in such a windy condition,” said Maeda after the race. Kwambai was fifth with 2:08:02 while Feyisa Bekele was sixth with 2:08:17.
Unlike men’s race which started quite slowly, the women’s race was relatively fast in the beginning. However, unlike men’s race, the women’s race did not close fast. Aberu Kebede was one of the three runners in the lead from the start. Although Kebede pulled ahead of Caroline Kilel after the half way, Yeshi Esayias caught Aberu Kebede by 25Km and they ran together for more than 10Km before pulling away in the final Km to win by nearly 30 seconds over Esayias. Kebede was close to the course record but she did not push hard at the end to improve it. “It was too windy to pursuit the course record. It was especially tough at 37Km and 41Km because of both wind and hill,” said Kebede at the post race press conference. Irina Mikitenko had a chance to break world master’s record of 2:25:43. Although she closed fast (7:17 for the last 2.195Km), Mikitenko fell short by less than a minute with 2:26:41.
Yoshimi Ozaki, who is planning for a long break, was the first Japanese with 2:28:30. “I could have run faster if there was no wind. I felt a head wind in many part of the course. I passed Nojiri (her former team-mate) after 30Km. I didn’t’ want to lose to her,” explained Ozaki after the race.