Kenya’s Dickson Chumba cruised to victory in the 2018 Tokyo Marathon cutting the tape in a time of 2:05.30 to win the men’s race in the Japanese capital.
It was his second win in the marathon after his exploits in 2014 after finishing third in the last three editions.
Yuta Shitara prevented a Kenyan sweep as he came in second ahead of Amos Kipruto and Gideon Kipketer who timed 2:06:33 and 2:06:47 respectively.
The women’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Birhane Dibaba, who timed 2:19:51, with Helah Kiprop the best Kenyan finisher in fifth place.
Last year’s winner and favourite Wilson Kipsang did not finish the race.
Chumba, who was in the leading pack increased his pace in the final 5km, before clinching victory.
Kenya was poised take the first three positions but this was cut short by Japanese Shitara, who zoomed past Kipketer and Kipruto, before settling for second position timing 2:06:11.
The Kapsabet-based Chumba athlete told Nation Sport that he was thirsty for the title and he wanted to be at the top.
"I'm so happy I was able to retain the title held by a Kenyan (Wilson Kipsang). I went to the race with one thing in mind, winning," said Chumba.
He said the disappointment of finishing third in the last three editions motivated him further to go for the win this year.
"For the last three years I have been taking the third position in this race, but this year I wanted to get out of that bracket and even win the race. It has happened and I'm very happy," he added.
His training mate Amos Kipruto managed to take the third position after clocking 2:06:33.
Kipruto said that he was happy with his performance and will be seeking to improve in his next race.
"It was a tough race but I'm very happy with my position. It was my first major marathon and at least I have seen where to fine tune," said the Seoul Marathon champion.
"We ran well as Kenyan athletes but in the few final kilometres a Japanese athlete ran past us ruining the party," said Kipruto.
The two athletes are under the 2 Running club based in Kapsabet, Nandi County.
Gideon Kipketer settled for fourth position after clocking 2:06:47.
In the ladies category, Ethiopian ladies Birhane Dibaba and Ruti Aga proofed too strong to their opponents after taking the first two positions in 2:19:51 and 2:21:19 respectively.
In third place was Amy Cragg from USA while Kenya's Helah Kiprop was in fifth position after clocking 2:28:58.