World-class BMO Vancouver Marathon attracts most competitive international field to date
Yuki Kawauchi, Luka Chelimo, Rob Watson among top entries at Vancouver’s only Marathon
Vancouver, BC – April 24, 2019
The annual BMO Vancouver Marathon is shaping up to be one of the most competitive fields dating back to 1972. As host of the BC Marathon Championships, the province’s top distance runners will line up against elites from several nations including Japan, China, Mexico and Kenya.
Overall, the event will reach new record numbers with 18,000+ registered runners.
Among favourites to take the win is Japanese elite Yuki Kawauchi (2:08:14 PB), who will be making his Canadian debut in Vancouver this May. Balancing training with a 40-hour work week, the “citizen runner” looks to become the first Japanese runner to win the Vancouver Marathon title in 20 years.
“I’m very excited for the BMO Vancouver Marathon to be my first race in Canada,” shares Kawauchi, whose new fiancé will also make the trip. “I’ve heard that Vancouver is a world-class beautiful city, and can’t wait to experience it for myself and to meet and run with all my fellow runners.”
Local run coach Robin Watson (2:13:29) looks for a repeat after winning last year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon title with a time of 2:27:38. Watson and Kawauchi first went head-to-head at the 2013 World Championships, and both finished in the Top 20.
“I’m looking forward to rolling a bit with Yuki,” adds Watson. “That dude is nails.”
Course Record Holder Luka Chelimo (2:10:11) of Kenya returns to defend his record of 2:18:37 set in 2015, as does multiple-time champ Daniel Kipkoech (2:18:45) of Kenya.
On the women’s side, China’s Li Zhi Xuan (2:26:15) enters the mix following a PB at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon and as the Top Chinese Woman at the recent Shanghai Marathon.
Japan’s Yuko Mizuguchi (2:31:19) will also make her Canadian debut alongside new fiancée, Yuki Kawauchi.
“This will be my first time running a Marathon outside Japan, so I want to see how the atmosphere is different from Japanese races,” shares Mizuguchi, who holds a Marathon PB of 2:31. “It’ll be my first time in Vancouver too, so I can’t wait to see its beautiful scenery.”
Margarita Quintero (2:50:25) returns after a podium finish last year, leading a very large contingent of runners from Mexico. Catrin Jones enters as the top Canadian hopeful. BC Athletics will also host the BC Marathon Championships on race day, at Canada’s largest Marathon race.
In total, nearly 100 Elite Athletes will chase a combined prize purse totalling over $30,000, offered up by the non-profit event organizers RUNVAN®. Other notable contenders include China’s Li Chunhui (2:16:08), Japan’s Saeki Makino (2:15:22), Ethiopia’s Feyera Gemeda Dadi (2:09:42) and Mexico’s Felipe Mendez (2:26:31).
Marathon course records, held by Luka Chelimo (2:18:38, 2015) and Kim Doerksen (2:38:00, 2014), may fall, and bonuses will go to Elites who are able to break course records. Kenya’s Paul Kimugul (1:02:36, 2014) and Jane Murage (1:12:53, 2015) own the course records in the Half Marathon.
Kenya’s George Towett (1:02:55) looks to defend his Half Marathon title after winning last year in a time of 1:04:03. Past champion Kip Kangogo (1:03:22) also returns and looks to make it back to the podium.
Canadian Half Marathon Champion Runner-up Dayna Pidhoresky (1:11:45) leads the pack on the women’s side with an impressive resume and PB of 1:11:45. Local Robyn Mildren will try to build on her ‘First Half’ title.
“It’ll definitely be a race to witness – this has got to be one of the most competitive fields in event history,” shares Eric Chéné, race director of RUNVAN®, the non-profit event organizers.
Connected to the city and nature, the scenic BMO Vancouver Marathon is ranked one of the world’s Top Destination Marathons by the likes of Forbes, CNN, and USA Today. The event annually welcomes runners from 65+ countries, and also features a fun 8KM race, Relay and Kids Run.
Marathon weekend kicks off with a free Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo, Friday, and Saturday, where fans will also have an opportunity to witness a special Elite Athlete Panel on Saturday, 12pm.
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