Kiptum was killed at the age of 24 on Feb 11, just months after he beat Kipchoge’s world record to set a mark of 2:00:35 in Chicago.

Kiptum and Kipchoge were expected to face off for the first time at the Paris Olympics.

The Tokyo Marathon was Kipchoge’s first race since Kiptum’s death and he was on pace to reclaim the world record until he tumbled out of contention.

Kiptum was driving in the Rift Valley, the heartland of Kenyan distance running, when his car careered off the road.

Police said Kiptum and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed on the spot, while a woman passenger was injured.

Kipruto took over the lead from Kiplagat around 30km in and powered towards the finish for a new personal best and the eighth-fastest time in history.

Kipruto said he did not know what had happened to Kipchoge but declared himself “ready” for the Paris Games if he is chosen for Kenya’s team.

“I didn’t know we were on world record pace – there was no problem, we were ready for it,” said the 32-year-old, the 2022 Chicago Marathon winner.

When asked if he could become the first person to run under two hours, Kipruto said: “Nothing is impossible, I will work on that.”

Kebede knocked more than two minutes off her personal best to claim the 10th-fastest women’s time in history.

“I was able to set a course record and I wasn’t expecting to do that,” she said.

Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Hassan was competing in only her third marathon, having won both her previous races in London and Chicago.

She has yet to decide what events she will compete in at the Paris Olympics but she said she was satisfied with her performance.

“It doesn’t change my Olympics,” she said.

“I know what shape I’m in and it really doesn’t matter. I learned a lot.”

Ichitaka Yamashita was the fastest Japanese man in 2:06:31 to finish ninth, while Hitomi Niiya took the local honours in the women’s race with a sixth-placed finish in 2:21:50.  AFP, REUTERS

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