Sutume Asefa Kebede Stuns The Field, Wins Tokyo Marathon

The 29-year-old ran the eighth fastest marathon in history. Pre-race favorite Sifan Hassan faded to fourth

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Sutume Asefa Kebede Stuns The Field, Wins Tokyo Marathon 1


  • Kebede, an unsung Ethiopian distance runner, dominated the final stages of the race
  • Sifan Hassan, the pre-race favorite, struggled as the pace intensified in the second half
  • Hassan finished fourth
  • Kebede ran the eighth fastest marathon in history
  • It was also a course and all-comer’s record in Japan

Sutume Asefa Kebede is having quite the 2024, and could have just run her way to the Ethiopian Olympic squad.

The 29-year-old won the hotly contested Tokyo Marathon in 2:15:55. That’s both a course record and the fastest marathon ever run by a woman on Japanese soil. Her time is now eighth fastest in history.

Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya finished in second place, in 2:16:14. Kebede’s compatriot, Amane Beriso Shankule, took third in 2:16:58.

Kebede sat in a lead pack of several top level athletes, alongside about 20 national class Japanese men, until she made her move late in the race.

It’s the second big statement win of the year for Kedede, who won the Houston Half Marathon in January as she prepared for Tokyo. In that race, she also set both a course and all-comer’s record on American soil.

She’s now surely a serious contender for her country’s marathon team bound for Paris this summer.

Sifan Hassan, like Eliud Kipchoge, seemed destined to win Tokyo, until her race, too, sputtered in the second half. She wound up running a respectable 2:18:05, placing fourth. She’s now finished all three of her first marathons in under 2:19. There was some speculation going into the race in Tokyo that she might request that pacers go out in world record pace, but instead the large lead group ran relatively conservatively. Still, Hassan never seemed comfortable, and struggled to close as Kebede surged.

Women’s Results

  1. Sutume Asefa Kebede πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή 2:15:55 (CR)
  2. Rosemary Wanjiru πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ 2:16:14
  3. Amane Beriso Shankule πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή 2:16:58
  4. Sifan Hassan πŸ‡³πŸ‡± 2:18:05
  5. Betsy Saina πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 2:19:17 (3rd U.S. all-time)
  6. Hitomi Niiya πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ 2:21:50
  7. Meseret Abebayahau πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή 2:23:08
  8. Galbadrakhyn Khishigsaikhan πŸ‡²πŸ‡³ 2:26:32
  9. Tigist Abayechew πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή 2:28:53
  10. Ayumi Morita πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ 2:31:38
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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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