This 2013 Tokyo Marathon preview comes with just four days remaining until the gun sounds on Sunday February 24 to signal the start of the seventh edition of the race.
The marathon, and running in general, has continued to grow since the running craze began in the early 1980’s. It does not seem that long ago when women were not allowed in the Boston Marathon and the first Women’s Olympic Marathon took Place in the 1984 Los Angele’s Olympic Summer Games.
Yet here we are some 28 years later since those same Olympics in Los Angeles with 35,500 runners entered in the 2013 Tokyo Marathon and a further 500 in the 10k race. You can include many of the best female marathoners in the world as Tokyo 2013 features three women who have run in under 2:21.
Although that number may not seem so astounding as there are many marathons that host larger numbers of entries, it’s important to note that the Tokyo Marathon is one of the most difficult marathons in the world to gain entry into.
They could have had almost ten times more entries as over 304,000 runners applied to be part of the 2013 Tokyo Marathon and over 1000 were looking for entry into the 10k race, but at some point you have to draw the line.
THE WORLD MARATHON MAJORS
There used to be five marathon courses around the world that comprised the WMM.
Now there are six as the Tokyo Marathon is now part of the series.
Boston, London and Tokyo will take place in the beginning of the year, and Berlin, Chicago and New York will be contested at the end. All six races will contribute to the prize pool.
There is a prize purse of one million dollars and both the male and female who compile the most points over the course of the six races will be awarded $500,000.
This pretty much guarantees that the most accomplished marathoners in the world will be racing in Tokyo on Sunday February 24 as Tokyo has the honor of leading off the 2013/2014 cycle.
If the 2011/2012 WMM series is any indication, the Kenyan’s will be out in force and will be very difficult to beat.
2011/2012 SERIES FINAL STANDINGS
Place Name Country Points 1. Geoffrey Mutai Kenya 75 pts. 2. Tsegaye Kebede Ethiopia 46 pts. 3. Wesley Korir Kenya 41 pts. 4. Abel Kirui Kenya 40 pts. 4. Moses Mosop Kenya 40 pts. 4. Emmanuel Mutai Kenya 40 pts. 7. Wilson Kipsang Kenya 35 pts. 7. Patrick Makau Kenya 35 pts. 9. Martin Lel Kenya 30 pts. 10. StephenKiprotich Uganda 25 pts. 10. Feyisa Lelisa Ethiopia 25 pts.
Place Name Country Points 1. Mary Keitany Kenya 65 pts. 2. Edna Kiplagat Kenya 50 pts. 3. Sharon Cherop Kenya 45 pts. 3. LiliyaShobukhova Russia 45 pts. 5. Priscah Jeptoo Kenya 40 pts. 6. Firehiwot Dado Ethiopia 30 pts. 6. FlorenceKiplagat Kenya 30 pts. 8. Atsede Baysa Ethiopia 26 pts. 9. Tiki Gelana Ethiopia 25 pts. 9. Aberu Kebede Ethiopia 25 pts. 9. Caroline Kilel Kenya 25 pts.
The field of elite men includes four runners who have gone in 2:04 and six who have crossed the line in 2:06.
Wow! It’s almost like a 42km all-out sprint for these guys!
Last years Tokyo Marathon male and female winners were Michael Kipkorir Kipyego of Kenya and Atsede Habtamu of Ethiopia and they are expected to be on hand to defend their titles.
There are probably four male Kenyan runners who could top the podium on Sunday. Michael Kipkorir Kipyego, Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, James Kwambai, and Jonathan Kiplimo Maiyo.
Kipruto was the runner up in the 2012 Berlin Marathon and should provide a stiff challenge for Kipyego.
It would be no surprise at all if a non-Kenyan took top honors for the elite women. Irina Mikitenko of Germany will be tough with a 2:19:19 marathon to her credit. However she is up against speedsters Bezunesh Bekele and Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia. 2011 Boston Marathon champion Caroline Cheptonui is also entered in Sunday’s race.
Apart from the series challenge, there is also considerable race prize money at stake for the elite marathoners.
If a runner sets a course record in the process of winning the 2013 Tokyo Marathon, the prize is $120,000.
This could very likely happen considering the depth of this field and the somewhat pedestrian course record times of 2:07:23 and 2:25:28.
Of course I mean pedestrian by world class “elite” standards.
Especially when you consider that a 27-minute 10k time is considered strictly second-tier among the elite Kenyan male runners of the world.
The weather will play a big roll in the outcome of the race on Sunday and if Mother Nature co-operates both the elite men and women will set a blistering pace and both records will fall.