•Last year during the Berlin Marathon, Wanjiru ran the second fastest debut in the women’s marathon after clocking 2:18:00 to finish second behind Ethiopia’s Tigist Asefa.
•Matsuda was the next to lose touch but was still on a Japanese record pace as the speed picked up again, a sub-16:00 5km split taking the leaders to 15km in 48:32.
Fresh from winning the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, Rosemary Wanjiru hopes to be part of Team Kenya's win at the World Championships in Budapest in August.
Wanjiru won in a new personal best time of two hours, 16 minutes and 28 seconds ahead of Ethiopians Gamechu Tsehay (2:16:56) and Ashate Bekere (2:19:11) who were in second and third positions respectively.
“I hope I make the team to Budapest. It was a difficult race and I had to push hard and adjust to the conditions which were equally tough. I hoped I have convinced the selectors at Athletics Kenya for the world event," she noted.
Last year during the Berlin Marathon, Wanjiru ran the second fastest debut in the women’s marathon after clocking 2:18:00 to place second behind Ethiopia’s Tigist Asefa.
A seven-man strong pack went through 5km in 16:19 with Wanjiru enjoying the company of last year’s runner-up Ashete Bekere and her Ethiopian compatriots Tigist Abayechew, Worknesh Edesa and Gemechu, as well as Japan’s Mizuki Matsuda, through 10km in 32:34.
Japan’s woman-only national record-holder Mao Ichiyama, who ran 2:20:29 in Nagoya in 2020, had explained at the pre-event press conference that she fractured a rib in December and she dropped back at the 10km mark, running 23 seconds behind the leaders.
Matsuda was the next to lose touch but was still on a Japanese record pace as the speed picked up again, a sub-16:00 5km split taking the leaders to 15km in 48:32.
The women’s race was down to four by 20km, the tempo having eased slightly as Wanjiru, Edesa, Bekere and Gemechu reached that point in 1:04:44. Matsuda was just over a minute behind them, clocking 1:05:52.
The leading quartet remained together behind the two pacemakers through 25km in 1:21:07, but a few kilometres later that group of four, led by Wanjiru, decided to leave the pacers behind.
The tempo had slipped to 2:17 pace at 30km, covering it in 1:37:25, but Wanjiru and Gemechu forged ahead over the next couple of kilometres.
Wanjiru was running solo by 39km but upped her pace to a projected 2:16:20 finish passing the 40km mark in 2:09:14 and a 19-second lead over Gemechu.
Wanjiru continued to glance over her shoulder during the closing kilometre but she had nothing to worry about and she crossed the finish line well clear, evidently elated with her victory and big 2:16:28 PB.
In the men's category, it was a clean sweep for the Ethiopians with the first Kenyan Titus Kipruto finishing fourth in 2:05:32.
It was an Ethiopian clean sweep of the podium positions with Deso Gelmisa winning in 2:05:22 with Mohammed Ese finishing second in a similar time as Tsegaye Getachew rounded off the podium in 2:05:25