Feb 22 (Reuters) – A majority of elite runners will be confident of lowering personal bests when the Tokyo Marathon debuts as a World Marathon Majors race on Sunday with a stellar field and favorable weather forecast for the Japanese capital.
From 2013, Tokyo joins Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York in the six-legged series contested over a two-year period.
Victor Rothlin’s 2008 timing of two hours, seven minutes and 23 seconds, the Tokyo Marathon record, is set to come under threat with the men’s race boasting four runners with times of less than two hours and five minutes.
Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, who holds the fastest time in the field at 2:04:16, sounded a warning to his fellow runners.
“I am very prepared for this race,” Kimetto told Japanese media on Friday. “I don’t fear anything. I will try to see if I can run a 2:04 on this course.”
Defending champion and fellow Kenyan Michael Kipyego, who clocked 2:07:37 last year for his victory, was also hopeful of a quick race.
“My training went well. I am here to defend my title. The field is strong and a 2:05 is possible,” he said.
Tokyo will be the first World Marathon Majors race since Chicago last October after the New York leg was cancelled a month later in the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The series was founded in 2006 with the men’s and women’s winners each receiving $500,000 in prize money.