Skip to main content

Milaw and Biruk Score ASICS Stockholm Marathon Ethiopian Double

Abrha Milaw and formerly Japan-based Konjit Tilahun Biruk scored an Ethiopian double at the 2017 ASICS Stockholm Marathon, both pulling away from packs late in the race to win in 2:11:36 and 2:35:45. (video highlights above)

The men's race went out hotter than planned, going through the mostly downhill and flat first 5 km in 15:10 and the uphill-heavy next 5 km in 15:20, mid-2:08 pace on a course with a 2:10:58 record. Things calmed down over the next 10 km, putting the front end of the group at 1:04:56 at halfway, but with a slight surge up front on a gentle downhill leading to the halfway mark Japanese favorite Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) began to drift off the back of the pack. By 25 km he was over 10 seconds behind and backwardly mobile as the race progressed.

Another surge coming off the large bridge near 34 km broke up the remaining pack, Milaw putting more than 30 seconds on 2nd-place Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) by 40 km and cruising in unchallenged to win in 2:11:36, the second-fastest winning time in event history. Getachew held on to 2nd in 2:12:27 less than 10 seconds ahead of 3rd-placer Samuel Kalalel (Kenya). As far back as 15th place at the low point of his race, Kawauchi rallied with his characteristic finish to take 6th in 2:14:04, running down 2015 Beijing World Championships 5th-placer Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) with less than 3 km to go. "I'm really disappointed with my time and place, but I was able to keep pushing through when it got tough and I met my minimum goal of beating Dechasa, so it wasn't all bad," he told JRN post-race. "I wanted to leave a better record in the books here in Stockholm where Japanese marathoning was born at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, so I have to come back and try to achieve that next time."

The women's race also went out faster than expected, on 2:32 pace in the early going before slowing to more reasonable 2:36 territory. At halfway it was a group of five in 1:18:00, Biruk with countrywomen Belaynesh Shifera and Tiruwork Mekonen, Kenyan Alice Kibor, and Japan's Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.). Like Kawauchi, Sakamoto slipped off the back on the hilly park section after halfway, 9 seconds behind at 25 km and fading.

The remaining four stayed together until after 35 km when Biruk surged to win by 15 seconds. Shifera was next in 2:36:00 with Kibor stopping it from being an Ethiopian sweep as she took 3rd in 2:36:19. Sakamoto was 5th in 2:41:34, her slowest international time to date in five marathons abroad. "I changed my training up this time to focus on more speedwork," she told JRN post-race. "This is what happens."

39th ASICS Stockholm Marathon
Stockholm, Sweden, 6/3/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Abrha Milaw (Ethiopia) - 2:11:36
2. Samuel Getachew (Ethiopia) - 2:12:27
3. Samuel Kalalel (Kenya) - 2:12:36
4. Daniel Yator (Kenya) - 2:13:13
5. Mike Mutai (Kenya) - 2:13:22
6. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:14:04
7. Eric Kering (Kenya) - 2:15:15
8. Shumi Dechasa (Bahrain) - 2:15:35
9. John Kemboi (Kenya) - 2:16:19
10. Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 2:16:52

Women
1. Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia) - 2:35:45
2. Belaynesh Shifera (Ethiopia) - 2:36:00
3. Alice Kibor (Kenya) - 2:36:19
4. Tiruwork Mekonen (Ethiopia) - 2:37:03
5. Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/YWC) - 2:41:34
6. Mikaela Larsson (Sweden) - 2:42:21
7. Lisa Ring (Sweden) - 2:43:14
8. Charlotte Karlsson (Sweden) - 2:45:21
9. Ida-Marie Nicklesson (Sweden) - 2:45:30
10. Karoline Moen Guidon (Norway) - 2:46:04

photos and text © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Karemi Breaks Okukuma Half Marathon Course Record

As championship ekiden season wraps up Japan’s athletes have started the transition to the winter road season, with four decently competitive half marathons highlighting the first half of January.

At the hilly Okukuma Half Marathon, locally-based Africans Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) and Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) duked it out one-on-one, Karemi through in a series of surges in the last 5 km before breaking away decisively with 1 km to go. Crossing the finish line in 1:01:48, Karemi took nearly two minutes off the course record with Abera just under 62 for 2nd.

2nd on the Hakone Ekiden’s Seventh Stage less than two weeks ago, Masanori Sumida (Nittai Univ.) outran corporate league competition Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) and Shohei Kurata (GMO) to take the top Japanese spot at 4th in 1:03:11. Spending most of the race behind a pack led by 2015 National Univeristy Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) and 2:07:39 marathoner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu), Yuki Kawauchi (Sai…