Skip to main content

Dechasa, Kemboi and Kawauchi Rematch at Stockholm Marathon

Fresh from a men's course record of 2:10:58 at last year's race, the ASICS Stockholm Marathon looks ready for an update to that time on Saturday. Ethiopian-born Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) leads the field on paper, his best time in the last three years a 2:07:20 at the 2015 Tokyo Marathon followed up by a 5th-place finish at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. He hasn't raced in the two years since then, leaving a question mark by his name. #2-ranked John Kemboi (Kenya) has a 2:08:56 PB from the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon, but in his only race since then, last summer's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, he was a DNF.

In that race Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/ Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 2nd in 2:09:01, putting him at 3rd in the field. Dechasa and Kawauchi have raced twice before, Dechasa beating Kawauchi by over a minute at the 2013 Seoul International Marathon and by more than 3 minutes at the 2014 Hamburg Marathon. A win over Dechasa would be a major boost to Kawauchi's chances for August's London World Championships. Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) and Samuel Maswai (Kenya) have also both been under the course record within the last three years, increasing the chances of seeing it fall.

In the women's race, Belaynesh Shifera has the fastest recent time at 2:31:08 from the 2015 Barcelona Marathon. Alice Kibor (Kenya) and Sanaa Achahbar (Morocco) are close behind with 2:32 marks from January's Marrakech Marathon, but apart from those performances none of the top three has broken 2:35 any time in the last three years, putting them all in range of 2016 Alpes Martimes Nice-Cannes Marathon winner Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia) and 2016 Osaka Marathon winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/Y.W.C.). Sakamoto beat #1-ranked Shifera as last year's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, meaning a wide-open race in the absence of 7-time winner Isabella Andersson (Sweden).

39th ASICS Stockholm Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Stockholm, Sweden
times listed are best within last three years except where noted
Kawauchi and Sakamoto appear with support from JRN

Men
Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) - 2:07:20 (Tokyo 2015)
John Kemboi (Kenya) - 2:08:56 (Frankfurt 2015)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) - 2:09:44 (Rabat 2017)
Samuel Maswai (Kenya) - 2:10:18 (Berlin 2014)
Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 2:11:11 (Paris 2015)
Samuel Kalalel (Kenya) - 2:11:48 (Metz 2016)
Michael Mutai (Kenya) - 2:12:12 (Hong Kong 2016)
Ronny Kiboss (Kenya) - 2:12:18 (Hefei 2014)
Urgesa Kedir (Ethiopia) - 2:12:19 (Pune 2017)
Fikadu Girma (Ethiopia) - 2:12:28 (Beirut 2014)
Gezahegn Alemayehu (Ethiopia) - 2:12:42 (Marrakech 2015)
Alex Chesakit (Uganda) - 2:13:06 (Tours 2015)
Daniel Komen (Kenya) - 2:14:20 (Chongqinq 2015)
Eric Kering (Kenya) - 2:15:42 (Linz 2017)
Japhet Kipkorir (Kenya) - 2:15:49 (Taipei 2016)
Michael Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:16:54 (Toronto Waterfront 2015)

Women
Belaynesh Shifera (Ethiopia) - 2:31:08 (Barcelona 2015)
Alice Kibor (Kenya) - 2:32:28 (Marrakech 2017)
Sanaa Achahbar (Morocco) - 2:32:36 (Marrakech 2017)
Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia) - 2:35:35 (Rome 2017)
Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan) - 2:36:02 (Osaka 2016)

text and photo © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…