Reigning Tokyo marathon champion Wilson Kipsang will be targeting 2:5.50 when he tackles the Tokyo marathon course on Sunday morning in the Japanese Capital.
As world marathon silver medalist Helah Kiprop leads women category as Kenyans plan to conquer one of the World Marathon Majors.
With the race being run early morning, few Kenyans will watch the live coverage on pay television in the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
The former world record holder (2:2:23) won the race last year with a course record and hopes to reduce.
Kipsang, a former world record holder, experienced mixed fortunes after his 2017 victory in Tokyo, dropping out of Berlin in September but bouncing back to finish second at the New York City Marathon in November. Already the course record holder in Tokyo, he’s aiming to better that on Sunday. His goal? 2:02:50.
“My main aim is the world record. Last it was little bit too fast. I want to go through the half marathon point in 61:40 this year, and then pick up the pace from there.”
The former New York marathon champion will face off with Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen, who has a 2:04:32 during Dubai Marathon, Feyisa Lilesa, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, and Kenyan Dickson Chumba, whose 2:04:32 set Chicago Marathon, Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, who was third at the 2010 Rotterdam Marathon in 2:05:13, Gideon Kipketer and Amos Kipruto.
In women’s race, Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga will be in contention against Kenyans Purity Rionoripo, who won 2017 Paris Marathon in 2:20:55 and Shure Demise, who was fourth in the 2015 Dubai Marathon in 2:20:59, Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba, who was second in Tokyo last year in 2:21:29 and Helah Kiprop, the 2016 winner in 2:21:27, are also expected in the mix.