【Report】Tokyo Marathon 2024 Elite Wheelchair Race Recap


The wheelchair race started in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building at 9:05 with 39 athletes (29 men, 10 women). It was sunny with temperatures at 9.4℃ and humidity at 22%, making it fair conditions for wheelchair athletes.


In the men’s field, Tomoki Suzuki (Toyota Motors) , who placed seventh in the marathon at the Tokyo Paralympics secured his second win since 2020 with a time of 1:23:05. He maintained a good pace after breaking away past the 18km mark from Daniel Romanchuk (USA) who had been racing alongside him, and racing solo. He broke the finish tape with both arms in the air.

After the race, he shared his sense of accomplishment against his fierce competition Romanchuk, who placed second in the Abbott WMM 15 last season. “I want to commend myself for being able to race this well. While I would have preferred to have recorded a better time, considering the head wind, the pace wasn’t bad, and it was a good result for this time in the season (of the year).

Suzuki had set his goal for a time between 1:21:00 to under 1:23:30 for this race in order to improve his world rank, since it is used as reference for selection as a marathon representative for the Paris Paralympic games. This led him to be aggressive from the start. He reflected on his race and shared that he had used the downhill section in the first part of the course to try to break away from Romanchuk as early as possible. “I tried to make a break several times and race in a way that would chip away at Daniel’s stamina. Unexpectedly, I couldn’t make a break and it was very tough for me as well, but I raced with all my strength since it wouldn’t help to reserve my energy. I made sure to maintain my emotions until the very end, because I had set a goal of finishing under 1:22:00 .” He also looked ahead adding, “I won’t be able to win a medal at Paris (Paralympic games) with this strategy, so I want to work on what I lack.

Second place finisher Romanchuk finished more than 5 minutes after Suzuki with a time of 1:28:33. This was his second Tokyo Marathon since the 2019 event which was tough due to the very cold rain, and he looked back on the race. “The course in Tokyo has many corners and it left the impression of a very technical course, but I got off to a good start for the first race of the season. Suzuki raced really well.

Sho Watanabe (TOPPAN) placed third with a time of 1:31:03 after breaking away at the end from a group of 4 Japanese athletes.

In the women’s field, the top group was made up of 3 international athletes from the start, and they continued a 3-way competition, with each athlete keeping an eye on the others.

NS106330 (1).jpg

Though it looked as it might end up being a last sprint race at the end, Manuela Schär who won the last event pulled ahead with 5km remaining, and won for the second consecutive time and her fourth event with a time of 1:40:10. Eden Rainbow-Cooper (UK) placed second in her first Tokyo Marathon at 1:40:28, and Susannah Scaroni (USA) came in third with a time of 1:41:35. Schär smiled as she reflected on the race. “While the time wasn’t great due to the wind, the race was held under great weather conditions with clear skies. I thought it was going to be a 3-way competition with someone pulling out at the end, but I wanted to pull ahead by taking advantage of the tailwind after the turnaround (before the 38km mark), so I propelled (my racing wheelchair) with all my might to take the lead. It was the race I was hoping for. I’m happy.

Among the Japanese women, Wakako Tsuchida (will raise) placed second with a time of 1:44:22 with Tsubasa Kina (Ryukyu Sport Support) placing seventh at 1:44:34. Tsuchida looked ahead and commented, “It was fun to be able to race 42km with the world’s top athletes again, but I wasn’t able to catch up (to the top 3) even though they were within sight from the start, so that’s something I need to work on. There are still some things to be done.” Kina commented strongly, “The first half was good, but my stamina was an issue in the second half. It’s disappointing since my start (which is my weakness) wasn’t bad, but it was a race with some results. I will work even harder.

As for the Tokyo Marathon’s special sprint time bonus was awarded to Schär, Scaroni and Rainbow-Cooper who raced under the designated women’s time of 21:48 in the above order.

Masazumi Soejima, Wheelchair Race Director recapped the race and commented. “Suzuki set the race by racing at his own pace to the very end. While I was hoping for better times for both the men and women, I’m glad that there weren’t any major accidents.

  • 東京地下鉄株式会社