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Kawauchi Wins BMW Oslo Marathon in Fastest Time Since 1986

Running his first race of any distance since finishing 9th at last month's London World Championships, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Saturday's BMW Oslo Marathon in the fastest time in Oslo since before he was born.

Pre-race Kawauchi's goal was to take a shot at the 2:12:58 Norwegian all-comers record, the fastest time ever run on Norwegian soil. With a new two-loop course featuring a pair of tough hills interspersed by a flat seaside section on each loop his game plan was to try to run 3:10/km until midway through the second lap, then try to push it on the climb and descent of the last hill to make up whatever seconds he needed.

15 km into the first lap he was 10 seconds ahead of schedule in 47:20 and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place, but the steep hill starting a kilometer later took its toll and by 20 km he was 24 seconds behind.  Over the second lap the strong sunlight and warmer than usual temperatures and the two weeks he took off after London also began to eat away at his pace, and despite pushing the downhill last 4 km sub-2:16 looked in doubt. But with his characteristic last kick Kawauchi crossed the line in 2:15:58, more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Frew Zenebe Birkineh (Ethiopia) and faster than anyone has run in Oslo since Swedish legend Kjell-Erik Stahl ran 2:14:59 in 1986 the year before Kawauchi was born. His 72nd career marathon, it was also his 70th time breaking 2:20:00.
Post-race Kawauchi was limping with pain in his left leg, telling reporters, "It was a tougher course than I was expecting, and my legs are totally dead. The downhills really hurt. I'm really happy to have won in my first time in Norway and I'm grateful to all the people of Oslo who cheered me on by name, but I was hoping to run a faster time. If I have the chance I hope to come back and try to do better." After the award ceremony he headed to a nearby beach to ice his legs in the cold seawater.

BMW Oslo Marathon

Oslo, Norway, 9/16/17
click here for complete results

Men's Marathon
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:15:58
2. Frew Zenebe Birkineh (Ethiopia) - 2:26:44
3. Andreas Grogaard (Norway) - 2:33:20

Women's Marathon
1. Hilde Aders (Norway) - 2:54:29
2. Camilla Frejd (Sweden) - 3:07:18
3. Mari Krakemo Finnerud (Norway) - 3:08:53

Men's Half Marathon
1. Okubamichael Fissehatsion (Eritrea) - 1:04:45
2. Zerei Kibrom Mezngi (Eritrea) - 1:04:54
3. Senay Fissehatsion (Norway) - 1:05:28

Women's Half Marathon
1. Runa Skrove Falch (Norway) - 1:16:30
2. Pemilla Eugenie Epland (Norway) - 1:17:04
3. Karoline Holsen Kyte (Norway) - 1:17:17

text, video and photos © 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Metts said…
Looking at the overall results of both Oslo and Sydney, it seems the sub-elites those maybe between 2:20 and 2:40 have really disappeared.Even the 2:40 to 3:00 is lacking depth. I remember looking at the overall Tokyo results a few times and it seems the depth was/is still there in 2:20 to 2:40 and 2:40 to 3:00.

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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
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
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …