It was the triumph of the Ethiopians again, with Endeshaw Negesse and Berhane Dibaba, running away with the titles at the Tokyo Marathon that happened on Sunday, the 23rd of February, 2015. They finished with timings of 2:06:00 and 2:23:15 respectively, simultaneously creating history by being winners in the men and women’s categories from the same nation.
Negesse’s timing was the third fastest in the 9-year old history of the prestigious road race. Runners claimed of tough conditions though, because of the rain and cold temperatures, going to as low as 5 degrees.
The weather played havoc with many of the runners, causing an erratic pace. Kohei Matsumura, who was first Japanese in the last year’s race, started to drift back after the first 10km, and eventually finished 25th in 2:16:08. Kenya’s Joseph Gitau, Fukuoka Marathon champion (2012), also fell behind early. Former Tokyo Marathon winner Michael Kipyego suddenly started walking after 14km, whereas Tariku Bekele, who made his marathon debut, stayed with the leaders until 20km, but ultimately dropped out before 30km.
There were approximately 36,000 runners who participated in the race in the Japanese capital on Sunday. As this race doubled as a qualifier for the summer's World Championships in Beijing, there were many Japanese athletes who participated this year. Prior to the race, there were threats about terrorist attacks, but the Japanese police made sure the event went off smoothly. Officers were deployed all around, and each group ran about 10km carrying anti-terrorism gear in backpacks, alongside the participants. Ultimately, they proved that Tokyo remains a safe place to hold major sporting events.