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Lilesa wins Tokyo Marathon

Kyodo

Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, using a late burst of speed to break away from Dickson Chumba inside the final 2 km to cross the line for his first major marathon win.

Lilesa and Chumba got separation from the leading pack around the 30-km mark, breaking away from a group of seven that had been out in front from early in the race, but it was Lilesa who had the stronger final kick, taking the win in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 56 seconds.

Chumba, a Kenyan who won the Tokyo Marathon in 2014, eventually fell to third when his countryman Bernard Kiprop Kipyego passed him just meters before the line. Chumba would have shared the Abbott World Marathon Majors title with Eliud Kipchoge with a first-place finish.

The race for top Japanese honors went to 28-year-old Yuki Takamiya who made a late charge to get past Yuma Hattori and cross the line in just under 2 hours and 11 minutes, nearly 5 minutes better than his previous personal best over the distance.

For the first 35 km of the race it looked like Japanese 23-year-old Kenta Murayama could make a huge impression in his marathon debut as he kept pace with the six elite runners from Africa. But it was not to be as he fell off the leaders’ pace just after the halfway point and struggled home well off the pace in 2:16:58.

Kenya’s Helah Kiprop won the women’s race, going one better than her second place finish in 2015. Her winning time of 2:21:27 saw her cross the line almost 2 minutes faster than last year’s winning time, set by Birhane Dibaba who finished in second on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Kenyan winner surpassed her personal best by 2 minutes and 36 seconds.

Australia’s Kurt Fearnley powered to a one-second sprint-finish win over South African Ernst van Dyk in the men’s wheelchair event while Wakako Tsuchida won the women’s event in 1:41:04, her ninth-consecutive Tokyo marathon win.