by Brett Larner
In his last marathon before focusing his energies on the Oct. 3 Incheon Games Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to Australia for the Aug. 31 Perth City to Surf Marathon. Much of the race went by with a pack of four featuring Kawauchi, fellow 2:08 man Samuel Woldeamanuel Gebremichael (Ethiopia), course record holder Luka Chelimo (Kenya) and his countryman Simon Kirui (Kenya) up front. Gebremichael, who lost out to Kawauchi at July's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, was the first casualty. A move by Chelimo around 29 km looked like it might add Kawauchi to the casualty list as Chelimo and Kirui pulled around 100 m ahead, but as per his usual pattern Kawauchi came back aggressively in the final 5 km to pass both Kenyans. Crossing the line in 2:12:55 he took 21 seconds off the record Chelimo set at last year's race, his fifth marathon course record win in eight starts so far this year. Joan Rotich (Kenya) was the women's winner in a modest 2:43:29.
After returning to Japan Kawauchi will join the Japanese Federation's new marathon National Team training camp in Hokkaido, a program with the aim of maximizing Japanese athletes' hot weather performance ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. On Oct. 3 he runs the Incheon Asian Games marathon alongside fellow National Team member Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), 2:08:09 at February's Tokyo Marathon.
(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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