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Posted: May 4, 2019:  

Athletics: Kawauchi & Mizuguchi: Elite Japanese couple take home Vancouver Marathon titles

Vancouver, BC: May 5, 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, 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.

Japanese elite Yuko Mizuguchi took home the women’s title.

"Running around Stanley Park in the midst of all that nature really gave me a nice boost," says Mizuguchi. "Being able to see the ocean and the mountains - 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 fiancée, Kawauchi, who announced their engagement leading up to the event.

The Japanese winners join Kenyans Paul Lonyangata and Purity Rionoripo among a short list of couples who captured a ‘couple’s championship’, both winning a Marathon on the same day.

Kawauchi and Mizuguchi become the first Japanese runners to take home the gold since 1999. Japan last won in both categories in 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," says Daniel. "This is our first race; I think we’ll want to do it next year 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 the RUNVAN® spans more than a decade, and this 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."

Wholly organized by the local non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN®, Vancouver’s only Marathon event is now also backed by Sport Hosting Vancouver and Destination BC’s Tourism Events Program.

Vancouver’s only Marathon dates back to 1972 when 32 finishers completed five laps of Stanley Park. Tom Howard of Surrey, BC, led that group in the first "British Columbia Marathon".

Now, the BMO Vancouver Marathon has grown into one of Canada’s largest running events and hosts the BC Marathon Championships in conjunction with BC Athletics.

The non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN® is dedicated to growing the tradition of the Marathon, and presenting a world-class event in Vancouver, BC.

Event Records
Male Champion Female Champion
Marathon 2:13:14 Garry Henry (AUS) 1980 2:35:50 Claudia Camargo (ARG) 2007
Half Marathon 1:02:36 Paul Kimugul (KEN) 2014 1:12:33 Mina Ogawa (JAP) 1996
Course Records
Male Champion Female Champion
Marathon 2:15:01 Yuki Kawauchi (JAP) 2019 2:37:00 Kim Doerksen (CAN) 2014
Half Marathon 1:02:36 Paul Kimugul (KEN) 2014 1:12:53 Jane Murage (KEN) 2015

About the BMO Vancouver Marathon

The BMO Vancouver Marathon features races for everyone with Vancouver’s only marathon, a fast Half Marathon, 8KM race, Relay, and Kids Run. Recognized by Forbes, CNN, USA Today and others as one of the world’s top destination marathons, the event is renowned for its unique scenic views including snow-capped mountain ranges, cherry blossom trees, and 70% shoreline views. Race Day: May 5, 2019.

About the Vancouver International Marathon Society

The Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN® is the non-profit organization responsible for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, Granville Island Turkey Trot, and Fall Classic Run at UBC. The Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and delivers running events with a mandate to inspire healthy living, and to celebrate the value that sport delivers to our communities.

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