Eliud Kipchoge Opting to Run the Tokyo Marathon Is All About Paris

By choosing Tokyo, Kipchoge is banking on a longer buildup to the 2024 Olympic Games, but will he try for sub-two hours?

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Former marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge has revealed his next marathon ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics. Kipchoge will head to Japan to take on the first Abbott World Marathon Major of the year on March 3rd, the Tokyo Marathon.

This announcement comes after a recent tour in Asia, set up by Nike, where he spent most of his time in China, building relations with the blossoming running community on the continent.

Kipchoge has had good success and exposure in Japan, where distance running events are treated like major sports entertainment. He last took part in the Tokyo Marathon in 2022, where he set a new course record of 2:02:40 despite taking a wrong turn around the 10k mark.

Kipchoge and his NN Running Team have made it clear that the former world record holder has his sights set on winning an Olympic gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon. What’s unclear is if the Kenyan athlete will attempt to run under two hours for the first time in a sanctioned race.

I have good memories in Japan. I won my Olympic gold medal there and ran the course record in the Tokyo marathon,” The NN Running Team Athlete said, “I feel good working towards my next race in Tokyo. For me, it is the perfect preparation towards my aim to win my third consecutive Olympic title next summer in Paris.”

Eliud Kipchoge, seen here running Berlin, will attempt to win the 2024 Tokyo Marathon for a second time

Kipchoge has previously said that he would like to win every World Marathon Major eventually. He’s currently won four out of six: Tokyo, London, Berlin, and Chicago. However, with his focus on Paris, this goal will be put on the back burner, as he will not be competing in Boston, and presumably will also skip New York City in 2024.

According to Kipchoge’s agent Valentijn Trouw, when speaking to LetsRun, timing and familiarity are the major reasons for which they selected Tokyo. 

The Tokyo course provides a good level of familiarity, and it also didn’t leave Kipchoge beat up, as the hillier Boston Marathon course did previously. 

Eliud Kipchoge Opting to Run the Tokyo Marathon Is All About Paris 1

The timing of the Tokyo Marathon is also ideal for an Olympic buildup. The Tokyo Marathon gives Kipchoge a full 23 weeks before the Olympic Games to prepare, whereas the Boston Marathon, which takes place April 15th, only gives him 17 weeks before the Olympics.

However, prior to his two previous Olympic victories, Kipchoge had a much tighter turnaround.

Before his victory at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kipchoge won the London Marathon just 17 weeks before. And just 16 weeks prior to his win at the Tokyo Olympics, Kipchoge won the NN Mission Marathon in Enschede.

For these Olympics, although the London Marathon is 16 weeks ahead of the Olympic Marathon and also offers a higher paying appearance fee compared to the Tokyo Marathon, at the age of 39, Kipchoge may be looking to maximize his recovery time to ensure he is in peak form come the big day in Paris.

The Olympic Games in Paris will also be the first time former world record holder Kipchoge will be pitted against the 23-year-old current world record holder, Kelvin Kiptum. Kiptum announced earlier this year that his spring campaign would be in Rotterdam.

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Will Sifan Hassan attempt a world record at the Tokyo Marathon?

Eliud Kipchoge will be headlining the Tokyo Marathon along with Sifan Hassan, who announced she would be making her Tokyo Marathon debut at the 2024 edition.

Although the marathon is a relatively new distance for Hassan, she has shown incredible promise in the event, winning the London Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. Hassan not only won the Chicago Marathon but also ran the second-fastest marathon ever in 2:13:44.

With the Olympic Marathon just around the corner, we are looking forward to an exciting spring campaign from the best marathoners in the world as they prepare for the big day. With its recent headliner announcements, the Tokyo Marathon will certainly be an early-season event to keep your eyes on.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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