Kipchoge looking forward to next month's Tokyo Marathon

Another star attraction at the March 6 race is women's world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei who will be joined by fellow countrywoman Angela Tanui.

In Summary

•Kipchoge says the Tokyo Marathon has always been integral to his career

•Last year's edition was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic 

•Kosgei will first be competing at the RAK Half Marathon on Saturday 

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya crosses the finish line at the Tokyo Olympics to win the men's marathon
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya crosses the finish line at the Tokyo Olympics to win the men's marathon

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge says he cannot wait to compete at next month's Tokyo Marathon. 

The two-time Olympic marathon champion, alongside the women's world record holder Brigid Kosgei, will be the star attraction at the March 6 event, which makes a return after it was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Kipchoge spoke of the significance of the World Marathon Majors event to his road race career. 

"I would like to thank the organisers of the Tokyo Marathon for making it possible for me and my fellow athletes to race in Tokyo. My focus has been on Tokyo from the beginning of my training cycle and I can say I am ready to race there," the four-time London Marathon champion said. 

Kipchoge further praised Japan for its rich running culture that has seen many of its citizens embrace marathons as a way of life. 

"I am very excited to run in a country where running is a crucial part of the sports culture and looking forward to experiencing the Japanese excitement for running and the marathon in particular," he said. 

The three-time Berlin Marathon champion will return to the country where he bagged his second Olympic title, timing 2:08:38 to beat the tape. 

Kipchoge will be accompanied by compatriot, world bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, as well as the Ethiopian trio of Birhanu Legese, Mosinet Geremew and Tamirat Tola. 

Legese, who won the Tokyo Marathon in 2019 in 2:04:15, boasts the second-fastest time in the men's road race, courtesy of his 2:02:48 timed on his way to a second-place finish at the Berlin Marathon in the same year. 

On the other hand, Geremew is the fourth-fastest marathoner after he clocked 2:02:55 on his way to finishing second behind Kipchoge at the 2019 London Marathon.

Tola timed 2:08:27 to win silver in the men's marathon at the 2017 World Championship in London, behind Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui, who set a season's best of 2:08:27. 

In the women's category, Kosgei will be joined by fellow Kenyan, Amsterdam Marathon champion Angela Tanui, and Ethiopian Ashete Bekere. 

The Tokyo Olympic marathon silver medalist will be hoping to go one better than August last year when she timed 2:27:36 behind world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir. 

First, the two-time London Marathon champion will be in action on Saturday at the RAK Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates where she will be seeking to set the right momentum for the Tokyo onslaught.

"I'm currently preparing for this race and very confident of a successful 2022," Kosgei said. 

Tokyo Marathon race director Hayano Tadaaki said the elite line-up guarantees an exciting competition on the material day. 

"The high standard race will unfold till the finish, and all witnesses of this race will not be able to take their eyes off, not to miss the moment of a new record. Please look forward to the exciting Tokyo Marathon 2021, the beginning of a new chapter in history," Tadaaki said.