Kawauchi & Mizuguchi: Elite Japanese couple take home Vancouver Marathon titles
Vancouver, BC – May 14, 2019 –
Yuki Kawauchi was an early favourite to take home the 2019 BMO Vancouver Marathon title after announcing his Canadian debut at the country’s top destination marathon.
The 2018 Boston champion crossed the BMO Vancouver Marathon Finish Line with a time of 2:15:01, breaking the course record of 2:18:37 set in 2015 by Luka Chelimo of Kenya, who finished third.
“They really pushed me to this record,” says Kawauchi of second and third-place finishers Feyera Gemeda Dadi and Chelimo. “It’s not an easy course, but it’s a very beautiful course, and I would definitely recommend coming here to enjoy it and get the most out of it – it’s a great event.”
Kawauchi led one of the most competitive elite rosters in event history, which also included past champions Daniel Kipkoech and Robin Watson, who retained his title as the BC Marathon Champion.
“The scenery was about the best I’ve ever seen during a Marathon, the crowd support was excellent, and it was just all around a great event,” adds Kawauchi.
Japanese elite Yuko Mizuguchi took home the women’s title.
“It was incredibly beautiful seeing the ocean and the mountains,”says Mizuguchi. “At some parts of the race, I found myself kind of distracted looking at how beautiful the ocean was.”
Mizuguchi finished in 2:41:28, and was greeted at the Finish Line by her fiancé, Kawauchi, who announced their engagement leading up to the event.
The engaged elites join a very short list of couples who have captured a ‘couple’s championship’, both winning a Marathon on the same day.
Kawauchi and Mizuguchi become the first Japanese runners to take gold since 1999.
The last time Japanese elites won both the male and female Vancouver Marathon titles in the same year was 1992.
The event kicked off with a Half Marathon, which saw Kenya’s Haron Kiptoo Sirma cross the Finish Line in 1:03:47.
On the women’s side, Canadian Dayna Pidhoresky adds another win to her impressive resume, finishing in 1:13:07.
“I’m happy, I wanted a course record, but I was maybe ten seconds off” shares Pidhroesky. “It was a good simulation for a strong marathon.”
The 8KM race was won by Jay Sneddon (28:18) and Eleanor Greenwood (30:38).
Canuck legends Daniel and Henrik Sedin ran their first Marathon wearing bibs 22 and 33. Daniel’s time of 3:11:45 put him within the top 200, while Henrik followed shortly after at 3:24:11.
“It was awesome – I felt fine up to 32KM and then I hit the wall but it was still fun,” says Daniel. “This is our first so I think we’ll do another one, for sure.”
Olympic race walker Evan Dunfee once again walked the course and finished at 3:27:15.
For the first time in event history, the event broke the 18,000 runner mark.
Named one of the world’s Top Destination Marathons, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is internationally renowned for its scenic beauty. Runners from 65+ countries travelled to Vancouver, BC, to experience ‘Stunning Running’.
“The scenery was among the best I’ve ever seen on a Marathon,” adds Mizuguchi.
Organized by the local non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN®, the BMO Vancouver Marathon relies on the support of nearly 4,000 volunteers annually.
“Thank you to all runners, volunteers, and community stakeholders who continue to help us grow the legacy of the Marathon in this city,” shares Eric Chéné, Race Director of RUNVAN®.
Marathon weekend kicked off with a free Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo, Friday and Saturday, and continued with block parties and a street festival on race day, Sunday.
“Giving back to the communities where we live and work is part of our DNA at BMO,” says Mike Bonner, Regional President, B.C. and Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Our partnership with RUNVAN® spans more than a decade, and this is one event that we look forward to every year.”
“It’s always encouraging to see the event growing and attracting more runners from all around the world – we’re proud to host everyone in this great province. Our congratulations to each of the runners that participated this year.”