Things You Might Have Missed At The 2024 Tokyo Marathon - The Running Channel Advertisement

Things You Might Have Missed At The 2024 Tokyo Marathon

BY: Mark Dredge
08 March 2024

The first of 2024’s six Abbott World Marathon Majors took place in Tokyo on Sunday 3rd March. 

Here are the key results and some of the things you may have missed at the 2024 Tokyo Marathon.


In the men’s race, it was a Kenyan top three: 
1. Benson Kipruto (KEN) 2:02:16
2. Timothy Kiplagat (KEN) 2:02:55
3. Vincent Kipkemoi Ngetich (KEN) 2:04:18

With this performance, Kipruto becomes the fifth fastest male marathoner to date, and Kiplagat jumps to seventh on the all-time time.

Eliud Kipchoge, the pre-race favourite, finished 10th in 2:06:50. It was his lowest finish position since he began running marathons in 2013. 

The fastest Japanese finisher was Yusuke Nishiyama, who came 9th in 2:06:31. He failed––by just 40 seconds––to run under 2:05:50, which may have qualified him for the Japanese Olympic marathon team. That three men have run faster than that shows the great depth of Japanese marathon running and they shouldn’t be overlooked in the Paris Olympic marathon.


In the women’s race, the top three were:
1. Sutume Asefa Kebede (ETH) 2:15:55
2. Rosemary Wanjiru (KEN) 2:16:14
3. Amane Beriso (ETH) 2:16:58

Kebede ran the 8th fastest female marathon to date, and Wanjiru’s run was the 10th fastest.

Dutch runner Sifan Hassan came 4th in 2:18:05, perhaps lower than the winner of both the 2023 London and Chicago Marathons would’ve expected of herself.

The USA’s Betsy Saina finished 5th in 2:19:17, which makes her the third-fastest American marathoner. The top Japanese woman was Hitomi Niiya, who placed 6th in 2:21:50.


As the winners raised their hands to cross the finish line, we were looking at their feet.

Men’s Podium

Kipruto: Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1
Kiplagat: Nike Alphafly 3
Ngetich: Asics Metaspeed Speed Sky Paris 

Women’s Podium

Kebede: Nike Vaporfly 2
Wanjiru: Adidas Adios Pro 3 
Beriso: Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1

Despite there being a newer Vaporfly available, and Nike Alphafly, Kebede clearly prefers the older model – and it’s still working very well for her (so look out for any Vaporfly 2 in the sales!). 

The Adidas Pro Evo 1 is their very light and very fast super shoe designed for a single-race, and costing £450 a pair! It’s been successful for numerous Adidas athletes, but would you pay that for a shoe you can use just once?


In the lead-up to the race, there was some excitement among running shoe geeks as a list of new trainers approved for use by World Athletics showed a Nike road shoe called DEV15, which was allowed to be used from Sunday 3rd March. A closer look at Kipchoge’s shoes suggests he was wearing a new version of the Alphafly 3, which some are calling Alphafly Elite.

It looks very similar to the Alphafly 3, but with subtle differences to the upper, carbon plate, outsole and perhaps being lighter weight. We already like the Alphafly 3, and Andy ran a fast time trial in a pair, so we can’t wait to hear more about this shoe.


The four-man Kenyan lead pack of Kipchoge, Kipruto, Kiplagat and Ngetich set off at world record pace, with the first two 5K splits being 14:16 and 14:14 (average of 4:35 per mile, or a 2:00:05 marathon).

Kipchoge dropped back around 20K, with the trio of Kipruto, Kiplagat and Ngetich going through halfway in 1:00:20 (Kipchoge was 14 seconds back by then, and fading), before the overall pace dropped in the second half. Is the sub-two hour marathon getting closer?


While there were no world records, there were course records in both the men’s and women’s races. The men’s race lowered the course record by 24 seconds, and the women’s race was seven seconds faster than the previous best. 


Benson Kipruto deserves to be considered a favourite for any marathon he races. The Kenyan’s time of 2:02:16, which was almost a two-minute personal best, makes him the fifth fastest male marathon runner of all time, with this run ranking as the eighth fastest time by a male runner. The Tokyo title is also his third Marathon Major victory after winning the Boston Marathon in 2021 and the Chicago Marathon in 2022. 


Three of the top 20 fastest men’s and three of the top 20 fastest women’s marathon times have been run in Tokyo. 

For the men, only Berlin (8) and Valencia (5) have more top 20 fastest times, while for women, only Valencia (7) and Chicago (5) have more top 20s.

When you look at the course profile you see why: it’s very flat, with no notable hills, only 198 feet of elevation gain, and a loss of 322 feet – that’s less elevation gain than Berlin and Chicago, and a net downhill. 


“Not every day is Christmas,” said Eliud Kipchoge after his 10th place finish. While it’s expected that he will be one of Kenya’s three picks for their marathon team at the 2024 Paris Olympics, this result may leave the selectors questioning who their best runners are, especially as five Kenyans finished above Kipchoge in Tokyo. Will Kipchoge be on the starting line in Paris to defend his Olympic titles from 2016 and 2020?


Finally, Sifan Hassan, two-time World Marathon Majors champion and one of the favourites in the women’s race, was photographed running a few laps of her hotel. An unconventional place to shake out the legs before a race!


If you look at Eliud Kipchoge’s legs then he’s wearing black tape on either side of his shins. This appears to be a special tape featuring small ‘AeroBlades’ which aid the aerodynamics, potentially gaining numerous seconds of efficiency over the course of a marathon. Will we soon be buying Go Faster Super Tape alongside our super shoes?


Asics, who are the sponsor of the race, had to apologise and recall commemorative race merchandise when they noticed the word FINISH was printed as FUNISH (which sounds like an appropriate portmanteau for a marathon!). In the Japanese language, ‘Fi’ does not technically exist and the spelling of Finish begins with ‘Fu’. We’d personally love a FUNISH line tee, so if there are any going spare then we’ll take one!

Did you spot anything else at the 2024 Tokyo Marathon?



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