Ethiopia's Deso Gelmisa outsprinted compatriot Mohamed Esa down the final stretch to claim a thrilling victory in Sunday's Tokyo Marathon.

The 25-year-old Gelmisa clocked a winning time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 22 seconds as he crossed the finish line in the capital's Marunouchi district less than a second ahead of Esa.

Ethiopia's Deso Gelmisa wins the Tokyo Marathon on March 5, 2023. (Kyodo)

Tsegaye Getachew was three seconds off the pace as he completed a men's podium sweep for Ethiopia.

Kenya's Rosemary Wanjiru took out the women's race in 2:16:28, running the seventh-fastest women's marathon in history, according to World Athletics.

Paris Olympics hopeful Ichitaka Yamashita was the first Japanese runner home, finishing seventh in a personal-best 2:05:51, while sixth-place Tokyo Olympic finisher Suguru Osako was ninth in 2:06:13.

Yamashita moved to the fore as part of a 12-man lead group around the 35-kilometer mark. A group of six started breaking away by the last turnaround point at around 37 km before Gelmisa, Esa, Getachew and the eventual fourth-place finisher, Kenya's Titus Kipruto, began surging for home.

The Ethiopian trio went up another gear as they ran a three-man sprint toward the ribbon in front of Tokyo Station, with last year's Paris Marathon winner Gelmisa finishing strongest.

Japan-based Wanjiru was head and shoulders above the rest of the women's field, winning by 28 seconds from Ethiopia's Tsehay Gemechu, who also became just the eighth woman to run a marathon under 2:17.

Last year's runner-up, Ethiopia's Ashete Bekere, was third in 2:19:11, while Mizuki Matsuda was the first Japanese woman across the line, finishing sixth in 2:21:44.

The 28-year-old Wanjiru was contesting just her second marathon after sensationally debuting with a runner-up performance in Berlin last year.

She was running solo by the 39-km mark in central Tokyo before adding further distance between herself and the chasing pack.

The Tokyo Marathon restored its full capacity by featuring 38,000 runners, having previously limited the number of entrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Runners in the Tokyo Marathon set off from the metropolitan government building on March 5, 2023. (Pool photo)(Kyodo)