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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

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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…