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Iwade 4th, Kawauchi 13th - BMW Berlin Marathon Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Japan's fastest-ever under-20 marathoner, Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) took 4th in a solo run behind winning Ethiopian trio Aberu Kebede, Birhane Dibaba and Ruti Aga at Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon.  With all three going under the 70 minute mark at halfway, the #3-ranked Iwade was alone in 5th, 20 seconds behind Kenyan Janet Ronoh.  Just before 40 km Iwade ran Ronoh down to move into 4th at almost the same time that Kebede took the win in 2:20:45.   Dibaba and Aga were over a kilometer behind in 2nd and 3rd, Iwade another 3 1/2 minutes further back in 2:28:16.


Hopeful of breaking his 3-year-old PB of 2:08:14, Kawauchi ran with support from two pacers and company from Eritrea's Yohanes Gebregergish and France's Jean Habarurema.  In a classic race that saw greats Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang front a lead pack that went through halfway in 1:01:11 on the way to Bekele's sprint finish 2:03:03 win, Kawauchi's group planned to hit half around 1:03:40.  One pacer stopped at only 6 km, and as the other waved to crowds and gestured to them to cheer more the pace slowed to 1:04:21 at halfway.

With the departure of the second pacer at 25 km Habarurema slipped off as Gebregerish and Kawauchi made moves to try to get the pace going faster.  Gebregerish opened a gap and never looked back, running smoothly all the way to finish in a PB 2:09:48 for 8th.  Left behind alone, Kawauchi ran down three or four casualties from the front group including 2:04:32 man Tsegaye Mekonnen of Ethiopian and 2011 Daegu World Championships silver medalist Vincent Kipruto of Kenya, but could manage no better than 2:11:03 for 13th.  Ranked 13th in the field pre-race and with Japanese men having averaged 2:11:10 for 9th in Berlin over the last five years it was neither brilliant nor a disaster, no better or worse than the corporate league runners who have preceded him in Berlin in recent years.  At the very least he walked away with his 19th sub-2:12 and 60th sub-2:20 clocking.

A big part of Kawauchi's methodology has been centered around questioning the conventional wisdom of the marathon, and like any true academic this has to include questioning his own assumptions.  Having changed up his approach in response to critics to see what would happen if he raced with more time between marathons the result was inconclusive.  Would he have been sharper with another race a few weeks beforehand like his 50 km NR two weeks ahead of his 2:09:01 at July's Gold Coast Airport Marathon?  Back to the drawing board for his next one, November's Porto Marathon.

Elsewhere at the Warsaw Marathon, 2:12 man Akiyuki Iwanaga (Team Kyudenko) managed only 2:24:32 for 7th.  Kenyan Ezekial Omullo won in 2:08:54, with Gladys Kibiwott of Bahrain winning the women's race in 2:36:32.

43rd BMW Berlin Marathon
Berlin, Germany, 9/25/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:03:03 - NR
2. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:03:13
3. Evans Chebet (Kenya) - 2:05:31
4. Sisay Lemma (Ethiopia) - 2:06:56
5. Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:07:47
6. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:09:29
7. Alfers Lagat (Kenya) - 2:09:46
8. Yohanes Gebregergish (Eritrea) - 2:09:48
9. Jacob Kandagor (Kenya) - 2:10:01
10. Suleiman Simotwo (Kenya) - 2:10:22
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13. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:11:03
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DNF - Vincent Kipruto (Kenya)
DNF - Tsegaye Mekonnen (Ethiopia)

Women
1. Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:20:45
2. Birhane Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 2:23:58
3. Ruti Aga (Ethiopia) - 2:24:41
4. Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:28:16
5. Katharina Heinig (Germany) - 2:28:34
6. Janet Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:29:35
7. Elena Dolinin (Israel) - 2:35:59
8. Cassie Fien (Australia) - 2:37:28
9. Claire McCarthy (Ireland) - 2:38:00
10. Gladys Ganiel (Ireland) - 2:39:10

Iwade photo and Kawauchi solo photo © 2016 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved
text and other photos © 2016 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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