‘Christmas doesn’t come every day’: Kipchoge places 10th at Tokyo Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge faced a setback in his journey towards the Paris Olympics, finishing 10th in the Tokyo Marathon, marking his worst performance over the marathon distance. While Kenya has not finalized its three-man marathon team for the Games, Kipchoge’s struggle in the Tokyo Marathon raised concerns among selectors.

The race saw Benson Kipruto clinch victory in a course-record time of 2:02:16, followed by Timothy Kiplagat in second place at 2:02:55. In contrast, Kipchoge clocked in at two hours, six minutes, and 50 seconds, lagging more than four minutes behind the winner.

Reflecting on his performance, Kipchoge, the double Olympic marathon champion, acknowledged uncertainties about his form for the upcoming Paris Games. He humbly stated, “That’s how it is – not every day is Christmas Day.”

The race began optimistically with a swift pace led by a group of seven runners targeting the world record. However, Kipchoge experienced a sudden decline around the 15km mark, revealing post-race that “something happened in the middle of the race” without providing further details.

In contrast, Kipruto, a recent winner of prestigious marathons like Boston and Chicago, expressed confidence in his performance as he eyes selection for the Olympics. “I think I’m ready for Paris,” he affirmed, awaiting his country’s decision on the team composition.

On the women’s side, Ethiopia’s Sutume Asefa Kebede clinched victory in the Tokyo Marathon, setting a new course record of 2:15:55. Amane Beriso Shankule, the reigning world champion, secured third place while pre-race favorite Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands finished fourth.

Hassan, known for her triumphs in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the Olympics, participated in her third marathon, expressing contentment with her performance despite missing the podium. She remains undecided on her event choices for the Paris Games but affirmed her readiness and learning from the race experience.

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