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Milaw and Biruk Score ASICS Stockholm Marathon Ethiopian Double

Abrha Milaw and formerly Japan-based Konjit Tilahun Biruk scored an Ethiopian double at the 2017 ASICS Stockholm Marathon, both pulling away from packs late in the race to win in 2:11:36 and 2:35:45. (video highlights above)

The men's race went out hotter than planned, going through the mostly downhill and flat first 5 km in 15:10 and the uphill-heavy next 5 km in 15:20, mid-2:08 pace on a course with a 2:10:58 record. Things calmed down over the next 10 km, putting the front end of the group at 1:04:56 at halfway, but with a slight surge up front on a gentle downhill leading to the halfway mark Japanese favorite Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) began to drift off the back of the pack. By 25 km he was over 10 seconds behind and backwardly mobile as the race progressed.

Another surge coming off the large bridge near 34 km broke up the remaining pack, Milaw putting more than 30 seconds on 2nd-place Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) by 40 km and cruising in unchallenged to win in 2:11:36, the second-fastest winning time in event history. Getachew held on to 2nd in 2:12:27 less than 10 seconds ahead of 3rd-placer Samuel Kalalel (Kenya). As far back as 15th place at the low point of his race, Kawauchi rallied with his characteristic finish to take 6th in 2:14:04, running down 2015 Beijing World Championships 5th-placer Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) with less than 3 km to go. "I'm really disappointed with my time and place, but I was able to keep pushing through when it got tough and I met my minimum goal of beating Dechasa, so it wasn't all bad," he told JRN post-race. "I wanted to leave a better record in the books here in Stockholm where Japanese marathoning was born at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, so I have to come back and try to achieve that next time."

The women's race also went out faster than expected, on 2:32 pace in the early going before slowing to more reasonable 2:36 territory. At halfway it was a group of five in 1:18:00, Biruk with countrywomen Belaynesh Shifera and Tiruwork Mekonen, Kenyan Alice Kibor, and Japan's Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.). Like Kawauchi, Sakamoto slipped off the back on the hilly park section after halfway, 9 seconds behind at 25 km and fading.

The remaining four stayed together until after 35 km when Biruk surged to win by 15 seconds. Shifera was next in 2:36:00 with Kibor stopping it from being an Ethiopian sweep as she took 3rd in 2:36:19. Sakamoto was 5th in 2:41:34, her slowest international time to date in five marathons abroad. "I changed my training up this time to focus on more speedwork," she told JRN post-race. "This is what happens."

39th ASICS Stockholm Marathon
Stockholm, Sweden, 6/3/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Abrha Milaw (Ethiopia) - 2:11:36
2. Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) - 2:12:27
3. Samuel Kalalel (Kenya) - 2:12:36
4. Daniel Yator (Kenya) - 2:13:13
5. Mike Mutai (Kenya) - 2:13:22
6. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:14:04
7. Eric Kering (Kenya) - 2:15:15
8. Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) - 2:15:35
9. John Kemboi (Kenya) - 2:16:19
10. Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 2:16:52

Women
1. Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia) - 2:35:45
2. Belaynesh Shifera (Ethiopia) - 2:36:00
3. Alice Kibor (Kenya) - 2:36:19
4. Tiruwork Mekonen (Ethiopia) - 2:37:03
5. Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/YWC) - 2:41:34
6. Mikaela Larsson (Sweden) - 2:42:21
7. Lisa Ring (Sweden) - 2:43:14
8. Charlotte Karlsson (Sweden) - 2:45:21
9. Ida-Marie Nicklesson (Sweden) - 2:45:30
10. Karoline Moen Guidon (Norway) - 2:46:04

photos and text © 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
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
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Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


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