Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia won the virus-hit Tokyo marathon reduced from a mass participation event of 38,000 runners to just elite athletes on Sunday because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The race, which doubled up as a trial for Japanese athletes hoping to run in their home Tokyo Olympics later this year, was limited to 200 participants including wheelchair racers.
Legese won his second successive Tokyo marathon in 2hr 4min 15sec with Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel winning the women’s event in 2:17.45.
The Tokyo marathon is one of the biggest sporting events to be affected by the coronavirus in Japan, with the Olympic Games opening ceremony less than five months away.
Image: Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men’s category in the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on March 1, 2020. Photo [AFP]