Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter finished first in the Tokyo Marathon women's event on Sunday after the organizers limited the number of participants in the event due continuing fears of a coronavirus outbreak.
The Kenya-born runner finished the arduous run in 2 hours 17 minutes and 45 seconds, setting a new women’s record for the race, which originally had 38,000 registered participants but was reduced to only 200 due to the risk of the COVID-19 virus being spread among the runners.
The score is the eighth-best of all time in women’s event, with only five other athletes achieving a better result. The result surpasses the Israeli national record, which also belongs to Salpeter, by two minutes.
Salpeter moved to Israel in 2011 and fought for citizenship for years. She eventually received Israeli passport in March of 2016 after winning the Tel Aviv Marathon, allowing her to compete for Israel in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, shortly after the birth of her son, Roy.
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.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepped up national measures to contain the virus, calling on organizers of large events to consider canceling or delaying them.
Disruption caused by the virus has affected Olympic qualifying events in several sports, including soccer, boxing, badminton, handball and wrestling and sailing.
Tokyo's Olympic organizers have repeatedly said they are focused on holding a safe Olympics and Paralympics with the IOC's full backing.
Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia won the men's event.