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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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Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

Two weeks to the day after running 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka International Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped his 2017 with a win, running one of the few negative splits of his career to win the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon for the third time in 2:10:03. Women's winner Misako Kato (Kyudenko), a 1:09:49 half marathon, soloed an almost perfectly paced 2:28:12 to take 3 minutes off her PB and 7 1/2 minutes off the course record. Further back, Rio Paralympics T12 marathon silver medalist Misato Michishita broke the own world record in her category with a time of 2:56:14.

Watch a complete replay of the race here.


Pacers Taiga Ito and Melaku Abera, both of whom ran Fukuoka alongside Kawauchi, were tasked with taking the field out in 3:06/km, 2:10:48 pace. Pre-race Kawauchi told JRN, "If they'd run 3:04 I ccoul definitely, 100%, go faster than I did in Fukuoka. In cold and windy conditions things went in his favor in the early going with 5 and 10 km splits of 15:19 …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2017 race results: Jan. 8: Ikinoshima Half Marathon, Nagasaki: 1:06:35 - 1st
Jan. 15: Okukuma Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:04:17 - 6th
Jan. 29: Okumusashi Ekiden Third Stage (4.3 km), Saitama: 13:16 - 9th
Feb. 5: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama: 36:59 - 3rd
Feb. 12: Ehime Marathon, Ehime: 2:09:54 - 1st - CR
Feb. 26: Soja Kibiji Half Marathon,  Okayama: 1:04:52 - 2nd
Mar. 5: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:03:19 - 3rd
Mar. 12: Tanegashima Rocket Half Marathon, Kagoshima: 1:04:43 - 1st - CR
Mar. 19: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:03 - 1st - CR
Mar. 26: Kamisato Machi Kenmu Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:33 - 1st - CR
Apr. 2: Daegu International Marathon, South Korea: 2:13:04 - 6th
Apr. 23: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:04:06 - 15th
Apr. 30: Kawauchi no Sato Kaeru Half Marathon, Fukushima: 1:05:31 - 1st - CR
May 7: Prague Marathon, Czech Republic: 2:10:13 - 6th
May 14: Sendai International Half Marathon, Miyagi: 1:03:29 - 11th
May 28:…

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…