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Sakamoto and Kawauchi Return to Stockholm Marathon (updated)


Amateur winners of two of the world's biggest marathons, 2016 Osaka Marathon champ Yoshiko Sakamoto (YWC) and 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) return to Sweden to run the Stockholm Marathon for the second year in a row this Saturday with support from JRN. For its 40th running Stockholm features a new course designed to cut most of the hills out of the first half of the race, but with temperatures expected to peak at 27C the quality elite field may not be able to take full advantage of the new configuration.

5th last year, Sakamoto is fresh off a 2:35:40 PB at February's Tokyo Marathon. She faces defending champion Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia), seven-time winner Isabellah Andersson (Sweden) and #1-ranked Kumeshi Sichala (Ethiopia), the only woman in the field with a current sub-2:30 time. The 2:28:24 event record set way back in 1988 by the great Grete Waitz (Norway) will be a stretch, but however fast it goes Sakamoto hopes to at least match last year's run.

In his eighth race since winning Boston on April 16th Kawauchi will be running both his first international race and first marathon since then. Last year he was 6th in a performance he considered his worst of 2017. Back to make up for it, he faces Ethiopian talents Bazu Worku, Alebachew Wale, Samuel Getachew and Belay Assefa as his main competition. Still feeling the effects of the Nobeyama 71 km Ultra he ran May 20, the unusually hot temperatures will work against Kawauchi as he looks to extend his unbeaten streak in the marathon to six. In another year the 2:10:58 event record set two years ago by Stanley Kipchirchir Koech (Kenya) might have been in range, but this year Worku, Kawauchi and the others look to be facing more than they expected from an early June afternoon in Sweden.

40th Stockholm Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Stockholm, Sweden, 6/2/18
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Women
Kumeshi Sichala (Ethiopia) - 2:28:43 (Warsaw 2016)
Isabellah Andersson (Sweden) - 2:30:02 (Tokyo 2016)
Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia) - 2:31:39 (Pyongyang 2018)
Bekele Beji (Ethiopia) - 2:34:05 (Rabat 2017)
Zsofia Erdelyi (Hungary) - 2:35:37 (Dusseldorf 2016)
Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan) - 2:35:40 (Tokyo 2018)
Hanna Vandenbussche (Belgium) - 2:37:28 (London 2017)
Mikaela Larsson (Sweden) - 2:38:41 (Valencia 2017)
Charlotte Karlsson (Sweden) - 2:45:21 (Stockholm 2017)

Man
Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:08:30 (Houston 2018)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Alebachew Wale (Ethiopia) - 2:09:40 (Shanghai 2017)
Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) - 2:09:44 (Rabat 2017)
Belay Assefa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:16 (Rennes 2017)
Workneh Tiruneh (Ethiopia) - 2:11:07 (La Rochelle 2017)
Stephen Kiplimo (Kenya) - 2:11:28 (Castelleon 2018)
Dominic Kimwetich (Kenya) - 2:11:43 (Barcelona 2016)
Urfessa Kedir (Ethiopia) - 2:12:19 (Pune 2017)
Felix Keny (Kenya) - 2:12:43 (Gyeongju 2017)
Lawi Kiptui (Kenya) - 2:13:21 (Lyon 2017)
Boaz Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:14:07 (Lyon 2017)
Eliud Sugut (Kenya) - 2:14:15 (Rabat 2017)
Sammy Nyokaye (Kenya) - 2:14:18 (Warsaw 2016)
Abraham Adhanom (Sweden) - 2:16:41 (Frankfurt 2009)
Mustafa Mohamed (Sweden) - 2:20:01 (Stockholm 2016)
John Kingstedt (Sweden) - debut - 1:06:08 (Den Haag Half 2016)

text and photos © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Thanks for doing all you do. It's great.

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