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Kawauchi Going for Second European Win of 2016 at Sunday's Porto Marathon

by Brett Larner


Running his third European marathon of the year with support from JRN, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) follows up his April win at the Zurich Marathon and his 2:11:03 at September's Berlin Marathon with his Portuguese debut at Sunday's Porto Marathon.  With a slightly easier course this year Kawauchi joins top-ranked Kenyans Samuel Theuri MwanikiPius Kirop and Gilbert Kipkemboi Maina in gunning for the 2:09:51 Porto Marathon record set in 2011 by Philemon Bairu (Kenya).


Three weeks ago at the Takashimadaira Road Race Kawauchi ran 59:43 for 20 km, equivalent to 1:02:59 for the half marathon.  "That was great training," he told JRN.  "I didn't do that kind of speed work before Berlin, so I definitely think I can run faster here than I did there."  At the pre-race press conference Kawauchi was even clearer: when asked what kind of race he hoped to run he replied, "One where I break the course record."  Two European wins in the same year is almost unheard of from a Japanese man, and a sub-2:10 would put Kawauchi into an exclusive club of runners with 10 or more career sub-2:10s.  If he pulls off both a sub-2:10 and the win Kawauchi will join an even more exclusive club of only five Japanese men, greats Taisuke Kodama, Takeyuki Nakayama, Toshihiko Seko, Hiromi Taniguchi and Arata Fujiwara, who have ever won a marathon sub-2:10 outside Japan.

The women's field is small, led by Guteni Shone (Ethiopia) and Filomena Costa (Portugal).  Shone ran her best of 2:23:32 in Houston in 2015, winning in Seoul two months later in 2:26:22.  In three marathon since then, however, she hasn't broken 2:33, making her fair game for Costa.  Costa's last four marathons have all been under 2:32, including her 2:28:00 win in Seville last year and a 12th place finish at the 2015 Beijing World Championships in 2:31:40.  If she succeeds in taking down Shone, Costa will be the first Portuguese woman to win Porto since 2007.  An outside contender is Loice Kiptoo (Kenya), who ran 2:33:54 in her second marathon and first outside Kenya earlier this year in Marrakech.

13th Porto Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Porto, Portugal, 11/6/16
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Men
Samuel Theuri Mwaniki (Kenya) - 2:08:56 (Marrakech 2015)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Pius Kirop (Kenya) - 2:09:58 (Paris 2015)
Gilbert Kipkemboi Maina (Kenya) - 2:10:33 (Gunsan 2015)
Dawit Weldeslasie (Eritrea) - 2:10:42 (Enschede 2014)
Patrick Wachira Muriuki (Kenya) - 2:11:54 (Guangzhou 2013)
Muluen Andom (Eritrea) - 2:13:10 (Warsaw 2016)
David Kwemoi Maru (Kenya) - 2:13:16 (Rennes 2015)
Moses Kibet (Uganda) - 2:14:50 (Melbourne 2014)
Jose Moreira (Portugal) - 2:15:09 (Valencia 2015)
James Ong'uti Onkoba (Kenya) - 2:23:21 (Brescia 2015)
Yonas Kifle (Eritrea) - 2:08:51 (Seoul 2012)
Alberto Paulo (Portugal) - 1:03:29 half marathon, 2014
Mathew Kipkore Kiprotich (Kenya) - 1:03:36 half marathon, 2013
Kenneth Kiplimo Kosgei (Kenya) - 1:04:41 half marathon, 2010
Timothy Kiplagat Kutto (Kenya) - 1:05:38 half marathon, 2009

Women
Guteni Shone (Ethiopia) - 2:23:32 (Houston 2015)
Filomena Costa (Portugal) - 2:28:00 (Seville 2015)
Loice Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:33:54 (Marrakech 2016)
Yunes Moraa Onyancha (Kenya) - 2:39:33 (Zhengzhou 2011)
Pamela Kipchoge (Kenya) - 2:40:56 (Luxembourgh 2015)

text and photos © 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
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Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
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           …