Pakistan's biggest-ever contingent takes part in Tokyo Marathon

Nizar Nayani and Faisal Shafi finished the marathon in less than three hours

By Web Desk
March 03, 2024
Nizar Nayani raises Pakistan's flag after completing Tokyo Marathon. - Geo Super

Nizar Nayani and Faisal Shafi were able to notch up a sub-3 hour marathon as a large number of Pakistanis took part in the Tokyo major on Sunday.

Nizar finished the Tokyo Marathon, which kick started the Abbott World Marathon Majors event of 2024, in two hours, 53 minutes and 59 seconds, meanwhile Shafi did it in 2:59:10 over the course from Shinjuku to the Imperial Palace.

Nayani, a Pakistani origin runner from Texas who finished the Chicago Marathon in an impressive two hours and 56 minutes, completed his fifth star in Tokyo.

Additionally, Shafi, Adnan Gandhi, Imran Aleem and Hira Diwan of Seaview Runners Club also completed their fifth star in the World Marathon Majors.

Ziyad Rahim and Raza Zaidi were the other six star finishers for Pakistan at Tokyo Marathon. 10 years after completing the first 5 World Marathon Majors, Ziyad finally crossed the finish line in Tokyo today to get the six-star WMM medal.

Hira was the only female participant among Pakistani origin runners at the Tokyo Marathon.

Hamid Butt, a senior marathon runner from Lahore, also returned to Tokyo Marathon after he became Abbott six-star finisher at the same venue in 2023. He was joined by USA-based nephrologist and marathon runner Dr Salman Khan.

Pakistan runners at Tokyo Marathon. - Geo Super

Dr Jehanzeb Mughal, Danish Elahi, Noshwerwan Ali, Shoaib Nizami and Faisal Shafi, who are part of Pakistan Eye Bank Society’s team, which has been working for charitable cause initiated by Mughal to provide free treatment of oral cancer in Karachi, also competed in the event.

Meanwhile, Shoaib Nizami participated in his third world marathon major after organising first official Karachi Marathon on 28th January 2024, which was broadcasted live on Pakistan’s first sports channel Geo Super.

Muhammad Fasih-ul-Saleh was also among the participants after joining the Tokyo Marathon from Norway.

Danish Elahi, Adnan Gandhi, Faisal Shafi, Hamid Butt and Nizar Nayani also qualified for the Boston Marathon 2025. 

The Tokyo Marathon is a World Athletics Platinum Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. Japan is generally considered a difficult destination for Pakistani travelers in terms of obtaining visa. While several of the dual nationality runners did not need visa, some did manage to obtain visas from Japanese consulate Karachi. However, one of the runners from Islamabad, Ammar Mumtaz, was refused the visa resulting him to opt out from his Tokyo Marathon race entry, despite having paid for everything including his charity pledge.

This was the highest number of Pakistanis of any origin participating in the Tokyo Marathon. In 2023, there were 11 Pakistani origin runners who finished the Tokyo marathon, where Dr Salman Khan became the first Pakistani origin Abbott six-star finisher and Hamid Butt from Lahore the second. Fahd Mukhtar, Prem Kumar, Sara Lodhi, Huma Rehman, Fawad Karim, Hasan Tajdar and Ayesha Akhtar were also among the finishers.

Tokyo Marathon Results 

Nizar Nayani 
Faisal Shafi2:59:10
Danish Elahi
Adnan Gandhi
Hamid Butt
Hira Diwan
Nosherwan Ali
Fasih Saleh
Imran Aleem
Dr Jehanzeb Mughal
Muneeb Saeed
⁠Shoaib Nizami

Kipruto, Kebede win Tokyo Marathon

Kenyan Benson Kipruto broke former world record holder Eliud Kipchoge's course mark and clinched the men's Tokyo Marathon in two hours, two minutes and 16 seconds.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia's Sutume Asefa Kebede bagged the women's event ahead of Kenya's defending champion Rosemary Wanjiru in 2:15:55, also improving the best previous women's time.

Kipruto finished 39 seconds ahead of his compatriot Timothy Kiplagat to secure the Tokyo title. He also won the race in Boston in 2021 and Chicago in 2022.

The 32-year-old also became the fifth-fastest marathon runner of all time in events approved by World Athletics since his time was nearly two minutes better than his previous personal best.

"I am so happy to get the course record," Kipruto told reporters.

"I think I'm ready for the Paris Olympics, I would be happy to represent my country in Paris but that relies on my country for selection. I'm still waiting on that, but I'm ready."

Double Olympic champion Kipchoge wasn’t at his best and finished in 10th place with a time of 2:06:50.

In the women’s event, Kebede claimed her first major marathon title by a gap of 19 seconds over second-placed Wanjiru.

"I'm truly happy," the 29-year-old said. "It was a very tactical race. Everything went well and the result was better than I expected.

"I ran a good time in a major race and I hope the Ethiopian Athletics Federation will select me for the Paris Olympics. I would like to win (gold) and break the Olympic record."