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Kawauchi Hoping for History in Hamburg

by Brett Larner

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to German soil for the first time in two years at Sunday's Haspa Hamburg Marathon.  Running with support from JRN, Kawauchi faces an ideally-poised field including 2:05 man William Kipsang (Kenya), 2:06 runners Laban Korir (Kenya) and Eric Ndiema (Kenya), 2:07-level runners Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) and Felix Keny (Kenya), sub-hour half marathon first-time marathoners Silas Kipruto (Kenya) and Lucas Rotich (Kenya) and more in a race set to go off with a 1:03-flat first half.  Appearing at the pre-race press conference on May 2, Kawauchi was clear and honest about his goals:
"Up to now I've broken 2:10 six times in Asia and have run 2:10 and 2:11 in Australia, but the best I've done in Europe and North America when I've been racing with jet lag is only 2:12.  I view the marathon as a sport of learning, one where you can keep applying the new knowledge you gain each time to your future races.  Hamburg will be my 35th marathon, and I hope to apply everything I've learned up to now to finally running a time in Europe worthy of a gold label athlete.  It may sound like a modest goal to you, but I will be targeting a sub-2:10 on Sunday.  If I can achieve that then it will help me reach more ambitious times in the U.S. and Europe in the future.  To help get there I'm going to go out with a more conservative first half around 1:04:15.  If I can handle the jet lag that should keep things comfortable enough for me to be in a position to run down most of the guys going out with the lead pack."
If Kawauchi succeeds in breaking 2:10 in Hamburg he will achieve a small piece of history, becoming the Japanese man to have broken the 2:10 barrier the most times in his career.  He will also tie the Japanese record for sub-2:20 marathons at 34 times.

In the women's race, Kenya's Georgina Rono is the clear favorite, her 2:21:39 best well over three minutes ahead of her closest competitors, Ethiopians Dinknesh Mekash and Melkam Gizaw.  China's He Yinli is the only other woman in the field to have broken 2:30, with a 2:28:31 best from the 2012 Beijing Marathon, and could be a threat for a podium finish along with her countrywoman Yue Chao and debuting Kenyan Winny Jepkorir.

Haspa Hamburg Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Hamburg, Germany, 5/4/14

William Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:05:49 (Rotterdam 2008)
Laban Korir (Kenya) - 2:06:05 (Amsterdam 2011)
Eric Ndiema (Kenya) - 2:06:07 (Amsterdam 2011)
Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) - 2:07:12 (Seoul Int'l 2013)
Felix Keny (Kenya) - 2:07:14 (Valencia 2013)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul Int'l 2013)
Belay Asefa (Ethiopia) - 2:09:31 (Eindhoven 2013)
Mulue Andom (Eritrea) - 2:11:03 (Amsterdam 2013)
Alfredo Arevalo (Guatemala) - 2:12:53 (Ottawa 2004)
Ricardo Ribas (Portugal) - 2:14:14 (Hamburg 2012)
Hicham El Barouki (Morocco) - 2:14:38 (Casablanca 2011)
Silas Kipruto (Kenya) - debut - 59:39 (Milan 2010)
Lucas Rotich (Kenya) - debut - 59:44 (Den Haag 2011)
Philemon Rono (Kenya) - debut - 1:00:39 (Lille 2013)
Bonsa Dida (Ethiopia) - debut - 1:01:11 (World Half 2014)
Manuel Stockert (Germany) - debut - 1:05:04 (Freiburg 2014)
Julian Flugel (Germany) - debut - 1:05:49 (Freiburg 2014)

Georgina Rono (Kenya) - 2:21:39 (Frankfurt 2012)
Dinknesh Mekash (Ethiopia) - 2:25:09 (Paris 2013)
Melkam Gizaw (Ethiopia) - 2:26:24 (Dusseldorf 2013)
He Yinli (China) - 2:28:31 (Beijing 2012)
Yue Chao (China) - 2:30:18 (Beijing 2012)
Mercy Kibarus (Kenya) - 2:31:14 (Venice 2013)
Filomena Costa (Portugal) - 2:33:34 (Prague 2011)
Katharina Heinig (Germany) - 2:34:20 (Hamburg 2013)
Veronica Pohl (Germany) - 2:35:02 (Frankfurt 2012)
Olga Kimaiyo (Kenya) - 2:36:57 (Beijing 2013)
Jane Fardell (Australia) - 2:37:35 (Paris 2013)
Winny Jepkorir (Kenya) - debut - 1:12:40 (Puck 2012)
Dorothy Peixoto (Portugal) - debut - 1:14:51 (Viana de Castelo 2012)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Eryn said…
Mission accomplished. 2:09:36 ! for 9th...

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