Dickson Chumba triumphs at Tokyo Marathon

Dickson Chumba celebrates winning Tokyo Marathon

Dickson Chumba won the men’s race at the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday in a meet record of two hours, five minutes and 42 seconds as Kenyan and Ethiopian runners dominated the event.

The 27-year-old Kenyan was followed home by Tadese Tola of Ethiopia at 2:05:57 and fellow countryman Sammy Kitwara at 2:06:30.

Chumba broke his own personal best time of 2:05:46 he clocked in winning the Eindhoven Marathon in 2012.

Runners from the two African countries swept the top seven spots in the men’s race and the top five in the women’s.

Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race in a meet record of 2:22:23.

Fellow Ethiopian Berhane Dibaba finished second at 2:22:30 and Lucy Kabuu of Kenya third at 2:24:16.

Tsegaye, 29, made her marathon debut in 2008 when she won the Porto Marathon. She won the Paris Marathon in 2012 and the Dubai Marathon last year. She set her personal best of 2:21:19 when she finished second at the 2012 Berlin Marathon.

Under cloudy skies, about 36,000 runners took part in the eighth staging of the Tokyo event which was upgraded last year to one of the world’s major marathons, with the others comprising Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Chumba win and fast time earned him $107,000 in prize money for the win and course record. He said he plans to use part of the money to start up a business.

“From the start, I felt that I can run a good race today,” said Chumba. “I am very happy. I hope to come back next year to run the Tokyo Marathon again. I didn’t have the confidence to run a faster time today, and I did not realise the time would be this fast until the very end.”

In all, four runners cracked 2:07 and seven in total dipped below 2:08 in what proved to be one of the highest-quality marathons ever in Japan.