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Ondoro Over Kawauchi at Melbourne Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo by Melinda Jacobsen

2013 Tiberias Marathon winner Dominic Ondoro (Kenya) proved too much for Japanese hopeful Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), breaking away after 30 km to win the Medibank Melbourne Marathon in a course record 2:10:47 by nearly a minute and thwart Kawauchi's bid to win all three of Australia's main marathons. The women's race also saw a course record, with Lisa Jane Weightman running a PB 2:26:05 to clock the fastest time ever by an Australian woman on home soil.

Ondoro and Kawauchi ran in a pack with 2013 Brighton Marathon winner Dominic Kimwetich Kangor (Kenya), defending champion Jonathan Kipchirchir Chesoo (Kenya), 2012 Xiamen Marathon winner Peter Kamais (Kenya) and others through 30 km, Kawauchi, in his eighth of eleven planned marathons this year, doing much of the leading with relatively steady 10 km splits centered around 31:20.  At 30 km Ondoro went to work, dropping the pace from 3:08/km to 3:01/km as he clocked 30:09 from 30 km to 40 km. Kimwetich initially followed but soon slipped back and went through 40 km with a 30:42 split.  Kawauchi tried to follow but could not match the Kenyans' speed, running a split of only 30:50.

Ondoro sailed on unchallenged to break the 2:11:04 course record in 2:10:47.  Nine seconds down at 40 km, Kawauchi dug deep to run Kimwetich down over the final 2.195 km for 2nd, catching him and opening a gap of sixteen seconds.  Defending champion Chesoo was a distant 4th in 2:12:54, not far off his winning time last year.  Top Australian honors went to Liam Adams, 6th in 2:14:09 just back from 5th-plaer Kamais.  In post-race comments Kawauchi, who runs next weekend's Takashimadaira 20 km in Tokyo before heading to the ING New York City Marathon, told Nikkei News, "I'm disappointed that I lost, but I was able to push on to the end and run like myself so I'd give myself a score of 79% on this."

In the women's race, 2013 Brighton Marathon winner and pre-race favorite Eunice Cheyech Kales (Kenya) went out aggressively, on 2:22:35 pace at 20 km despite a PB of only 2:28:50.  Weightman, with a best of 2:27:32, was plenty aggressive herself, on 2:24:14 pace at 20 km, but was behind by well over a minute at 30 km.  As they often do, things went wrong for Kales after 30, and by 40 km Weightman had caught up and the pair was running side-by-side.  With nothing left after her early barn burning, Kales could only watch as Weightman pulled away over the final 2.195 km to take the win.  Both women marked new bests by a margin of around a minute and a half, Weightman in 2:26:05 and Kales in 2:27:19, the first two sub-2:30 times in Melbourne history.  Combined with the men's race and the rise in performances at the Sydney Marathon and Gold Coast Airport Marathon in the last few years it was a clear sign that Australia's marathon scene is quickly growing to a world-class level.

2013 Medibank Melbourne Marathon
Melbourne, Australia, 10/13/13
click here for complete results

1. Dominic Ondoro (Kenya) - 2:10:47 - CR
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:11:40
3. Dominic Kimwetich Kangor (Kenya) - 2:11:56
4. Jonathan Kipchirchir Chesoo (Kenya) - 2:12:54
5. Peter Kamais (Kenya) - 2:13:51
6. Liam Adams (Australia) - 2:14:09 - debut
7. Scott Westcott (Australia) - 2:14:21
8. Zac Newman (Australia) - 2:25:11
9. Patrick Nispei (Australia) - 2:26:01
10. Joji Mori (Australia) - 2:26:34

1. Lisa Jane Weightman (Australia) - 2:26:05 - CR, PB
2. Eunice Cheyech Kales (Kenya) - 2:27:19 - (CR), PB
3. Whitney Hammond (Australia) - 2:40:54
4. Melanie Panayiotou (Australia) - 2:41:48
5. Sarah Klein (Australia) - 2:42:53
6. Jane Fardell (Australia) - 2:43:40
7. Miho Yanagisawa (Japan) - 2:47:09
8. Laura James (Australia) - 2:47:17
9. Hannah Flannery (Australia) - 2:47:29
10. Johanna Parsons (Australia) - 2:49:47

text (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Melinda Jacobsen
all rights reserved


patrick voo said…
i'm not sure how anyone could not admire yuki's performance after reading the phrase "in his eighth of eleven planned marathons this year". 2nd place would not be anything to sneeze at regardless, and when you factor his racing schedule in compared to how many other races his fellow competitors are likely engaged in - there's just no comparison. yuki rocks!

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