Rosemary Wanjiru secured her biggest win to date as the Kenyan ran away from Tsehay Gemechu to take the 2023 Tokyo marathon title in a new personal best of 2:16:28.
In only her second career marathon, having made her debut in a second-place at Berlin in 2022, Wanjiru moves to sixth on the all-time list, falling just outside Brigid Kosgei’s course record of 2:16:02, set last year.
Gemechu’s time of 2.16:58 sees her move to eighth, running a time which would have won all but the two most recent editions.
The women’s race quickly developed into a leading quartet as Ethiopians Gemechu, Ashete Bekere and Worknesh Edesa accompanied Wanjiru, the quartet moving away by 15km and staying four-strong right the way through to 30km. Passing 10km in 32:34, they completed the next 10km in 32:08, passing 20km in 2.16.30 pace.
Whilst the four would slow over the next 10km, running 32:43, Wanjiru set the race alight over the next 10km running 31:49 as only Gemechu could even keep her in sight.
Wanjiru had time to waive to fans over the final 2km as she left suggestions there may be even more to come.
The 28-year-old Kenyan has surely announced herself as another in a increasingly dense pack of elite level Kenyan marathoners and will aim to seize more major triumphs in the years to come.
Men’s Race – Gelmisa edges three-way sprint
Ethiopian Deso Gelmisa earnt the biggest moment of an experienced marathon career, edging a three-way sprint finish to take his first World Marathon Major title in his 12th career marathon, running 2:05:22.
Finishing on the same time Mohamed Esa just couldn’t get past his compatriot in the final straight as third place Tsegaye Getachew, Amsterdam’s winner from 2022, finished just three seconds back.
The men’s race saw a huge pack for much of the race as 19 runners were within six seconds of the lead at 30km. The race still really only came alive at 37km as the pack splintered, leaving a leading six in which Esa would slowly bide his time.
With less that 2km to run the lead pack was still six-strong, with Gelmisa still waiting for his moment and he only made his move with 400m to go, closing with devastating speed as Esa initially rounded the final corner in the lead.