The announcement on Thursday of Eliud Kipchoge and Sifan Hassan's participation in the Tokyo Marathon sent thunder through the running world. March 3, 2024, will be the date these two incredible athletes set off on the iconic race. This is just five months before the Paris Olympics.
For Kipchoge, the Tokyo Marathon held a special place in his heart. The Kenyan marathon legend triumphed on those streets in 2022, setting a course record of 2:02:40. Having already conquered the World Marathon Majors in Berlin, Chicago, London, and Tokyo, Kipchoge's quest to complete the set became a compelling story line.
The 39-year-old, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the men's marathon, harbored ambitions of capturing every World Marathon Major. Last year he faced a setback in Boston, finishing sixth. This year Kipchoge has handed up chances to win the two last races, Boston and New York. Choosing Tokyo for his spring marathon allows Kipchoge more time to prepare for an ambitious bid to become the first to clinch three Olympic marathons. In doing so, he becomes the oldest runner to win any Olympic track and field event.
Meanwhile, Sifan Hassan, the Ethiopian-born Dutch powerhouse, is on a remarkable trajectory of her own. Her 2023 exploits showcased her ability to recover swiftly between major events. Winning the London Marathon in April, claiming two medals at the World Championships on the track in August, and then conquering the Chicago Marathon in October with the second-fastest time ever recorded shows a testament to her versatility and endurance.