Eliud Kipchoge, the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, won the Enschede marathon on Sunday in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. The 36-year-old Kenyan completed the course, over eight laps at Enschede airport, in 2 hours 4 minutes and 30 seconds. He was well outside his official world record of 2:01.39 set in Berlin in 2018 but comfortably outpaced his competition. Jonathan Korir, another Kenyan, stayed with Kipchoge until the 30 km mark before dropping away to finish more than two minutes back in 2:06.40.
The invitation-only event, which served as a Tokyo Games qualifier, was originally scheduled for Hamburg but was moved to a closed circuit in the Netherlands and put back a week because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kipchoge had won 11 straight marathons before a disastrous eighth place in the London marathon last October won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata. He blamed cramp and “problems with my hip".
Kipchoge rebounded in eight laps on the Enschede runways.
He ran his ninth fastest marathon and set a world best for the year as he showed strong form three months before the Olympic marathon which will take place in Sapporo, in northern Japan.
As defending Olympic champion he had already qualified for the Games.