Skip to main content

Kawauchi Wins BMW Oslo Marathon in Fastest Time Since 1986

Running his first race of any distance since finishing 9th at last month's London World Championships, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Saturday's BMW Oslo Marathon in the fastest time in Oslo since before he was born.

Pre-race Kawauchi's goal was to take a shot at the 2:12:58 Norwegian all-comers record, the fastest time ever run on Norwegian soil. With a new two-loop course featuring a pair of tough hills interspersed by a flat seaside section on each loop his game plan was to try to run 3:10/km until midway through the second lap, then try to push it on the climb and descent of the last hill to make up whatever seconds he needed.

15 km into the first lap he was 10 seconds ahead of schedule in 47:20 and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place, but the steep hill starting a kilometer later took its toll and by 20 km he was 24 seconds behind.  Over the second lap the strong sunlight and warmer than usual temperatures and the two weeks he took off after London also began to eat away at his pace, and despite pushing the downhill last 4 km sub-2:16 looked in doubt. But with his characteristic last kick Kawauchi crossed the line in 2:15:58, more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Frew Zenebe Birkineh (Ethiopia) and faster than anyone has run in Oslo since Swedish legend Kjell-Erik Stahl ran 2:14:59 in 1986 the year before Kawauchi was born. His 72nd career marathon, it was also his 70th time breaking 2:20:00.
Post-race Kawauchi was limping with pain in his left leg, telling reporters, "It was a tougher course than I was expecting, and my legs are totally dead. The downhills really hurt. I'm really happy to have won in my first time in Norway and I'm grateful to all the people of Oslo who cheered me on by name, but I was hoping to run a faster time. If I have the chance I hope to come back and try to do better." After the award ceremony he headed to a nearby beach to ice his legs in the cold seawater.

BMW Oslo Marathon

Oslo, Norway, 9/16/17
click here for complete results

Men's Marathon
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:15:58
2. Frew Zenebe Birkineh (Ethiopia) - 2:26:44
3. Andreas Grogaard (Norway) - 2:33:20

Women's Marathon
1. Hilde Aders (Norway) - 2:54:29
2. Camilla Frejd (Sweden) - 3:07:18
3. Mari Krakemo Finnerud (Norway) - 3:08:53

Men's Half Marathon
1. Okubamichael Fissehatsion (Eritrea) - 1:04:45
2. Zerei Kibrom Mezngi (Eritrea) - 1:04:54
3. Senay Fissehatsion (Norway) - 1:05:28

Women's Half Marathon
1. Runa Skrove Falch (Norway) - 1:16:30
2. Pemilla Eugenie Epland (Norway) - 1:17:04
3. Karoline Holsen Kyte (Norway) - 1:17:17

text, video and photos © 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Metts said…
Looking at the overall results of both Oslo and Sydney, it seems the sub-elites those maybe between 2:20 and 2:40 have really disappeared.Even the 2:40 to 3:00 is lacking depth. I remember looking at the overall Tokyo results a few times and it seems the depth was/is still there in 2:20 to 2:40 and 2:40 to 3:00.

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…