2015 New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon (© Organisers)
The star of the 14th edition of the New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon on Sunday (20), an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race and the only IAAF Competition on Chinese Taipei, is without doubt the famous Japanese marathoner Yuki Kawauchi
Kawauchi, a local government employee rather than a sponsored runner, can boast of a best of 2.08.14 and will have his third race of the year, having already raced in the Lake Biwa Marathon earlier this month.
“We are very happy to have been able to recruit Yuki for this year’s edition,” commented James Shih-Chung Cheng, Deputy General Secretary at Chinese Taipei Athletics Association who organize the race.
“When we had dialogue with Yuki, he told us that he wanted to come and race to honour the earthquake victims in an earthquake in Taiwan earlier this year. Yuki was very clear on this point and also started a fundraising initiative for the victims,” he added.
However, Kawauchi will not be the fastest runner on the start line as that accolade belongs to Kenya’s Julius Karinga.
Karinga has a best 2.08.01 from the Dubai Marathon four years ago but showed good form in his last marathon, winning the Odense Marathon in Denmark in 2:11:21 last October.
The other Kenyan entering the reckoning is William Chebon Chebor, with a best of 2.08.21 from five years ago, who won the Brighton Marathon in 2014.
“We have recruited this trio to challenge the race record from last year, set by Eliud Kiplagat Barngetany (from Kenya) with 2:13:14, which is a strong time on this hilly course” commented Shih-Chung Cheng.
On the women’s side, the pre-race favourite is Olga Kotovska, from Ukraine, who has a best of 2:28:47 from winning in Rennes Marathon in 2014.
The other main contenders are expected to be Hellen Mugo, of Kenya, and Poland’s Olha Kalendarova-Ochal of Poland.
Mugo has a best of 2.27.16 dating from 2010 but is still capable of getting lcose to 2:30 while Kalendarova-Ochal has a personal best of 2:31:33 from the 2012 Vienna Marathon.
“On the women’s side we are looking to have the race record from 2014, set by Ji Hyang Kim (DPR Korea) with 2:34:52, broken. It is very hard to determine who will be up top in the race due to the toughness of the course, where ‘climbers’ have the advantage over tempo runners for sure.
“To break these race records takes bold and smart running in this hilly course,” said Shih-Chung Cheng.
Organisers for the IAAF