Meseret Defar to make her debut Marathon in Tokyo


Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar is the leading name in Tokyo Marathon women’s field. A winner of two Olympic 5000m titles, two world 5000m titles and four world indoor 3000m titles, the 34-year-old has spent the past few years – when not injured or pregnant – making a gradual transition to the roads.
She has won three half marathons on US soil and finished second at the 2013 Great North Run in 1:06:09. With track PBs of 8:23.72 for 3000m, 14:12.88 for 5000m and 29:59:20 for 10,000m, athletics fans will be keen to see what Defar manages in her marathon debut.
She will line up against compatriot Ruti Aga, who finished second at the 2017 Berlin Marathon in a PB of 2:20:41 and won the recent Houston Half Marathon in a PB of 1:06:39, and fellow Ethiopian Shure Demise, whose 2:20:59 performance at the 2015 Dubai Marathon is the fastest performance ever by an U20 athlete.
Kenya’s 2015 world silver medalist and 2016 Tokyo champion Helah Kiprop and 2017 Paris Marathon champion Purity Rionoripo are also set to compete.
Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera, who ran a PB of 2:04:24 to win the 2016 Dubai Marathon, is the fastest of Kipsang’s opponents in Tokyo. Compatriot and fellow former Dubai winner Tesgaye Mekonnen is also in the field.
“Expect a very exciting race this year,” said race director Ted Hayano. “The assembled field may be good enough to target the world record of 2:02:57 as well as the Japanese record of 2:06:16.”