KawauchiCape Town, 18 September 2015 – A host of professional international stars and local contenders will target the race records at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 20 September, but many eyes will be on an amateur Japanese athlete.

Yuki Kawauchi is one of the most intriguing runners on the international marathon circuit, as he is able to maintain remarkably consistent form at the highest level, despite holding down a full-time job.

Kawauchi said, “What I know about Cape Town is its natural beauty – Table Mountain, its beaches.  A modern city, surrounded by nature.  After the race, my number #1 priority is to visit Boulders Beach.”

“My goal here is to win, at worst place in the top 3 with a time of 2:10 – 2:12, and from there it’s onto New York. I see both the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon as stepping stones towards the Fukuoka International Marathon in December and its selection for Rio Olympics, where I hope to win (time 2:07).”

The versatile 28-year-old athlete, who is aiming for a place in the Japanese team for next year’s Rio Olympics, has twice represented his country at the IAAF World Championships, as well as the World Half-Marathon Championships.

A self-coached amateur without sponsors – an unusual approach in the popular Japanese road running culture – he holds the world records for running the fastest sub-2:10 marathons two weeks apart, and is the first person to run sub-2:10 four times in one year. He also holds the Japanese 50km record.

Yuki Kawauchi personal bests:

  • 5 000m: 13:58.62 (2012)
  • 1 0000m: 29:02.33 (2010)
  • Half-marathon: 1:02:18 (2012)
  • Marathon: 2:08:14 (2013)
  • 50 km: 2:47:27 – NR (2014)

Race ambassador Elana Meyer says: “We are delighted to host Yuki Kawauchi. He embodies the spirit of the classic Ochichimarathon distance and we are excited to have him as part of our elite field.”

The route for this year’s race is flatter and faster than the course used for last year’s inaugural edition of the relaunched event, and the men’s and women’s records held by Kenyan Willy Kibor Koitile (2:10:45) and Ethiopian Meseret Mengistu Biru (2:30:57) are expected to be in danger if weather conditions are favourable.

Meyer, a multiple world record breaker during her distinguished career, says: “After receiving IAAF Silver Label status last year, we have put together a stronger elite field this year. The course is probably a minute or two faster, so we’re hoping for some of the fastest times ever set in Africa. We are also excited to see how our local athletes,

many of whom are relatively new to the marathon distance, are able to hold up against a world-class line-up on home soil.”

The men’s field includes eight IAAF Gold Label Status athletes who have run under 2:10:00. David Kemboi Kiyeng, who finished third at the 2009 Paris Marathon in 2:06:26, holds the fastest personal best in the race, while three other men have also dipped under 2:08:00.

Elite men’s field:

  • David Kemboi Kiyeng, Kenya – 2:06:23 PB
  • Abraham Girma Bekele, Ethiopia – 2:06:46 PB
  • Peter Lotogor Kamais, Kenya – 2:07:37 PB
  • Dereje Debele Tulu, Ethiopia – 2:07:48 PB
  • Yuki Kawauchi, Japan – 2:08:14 PB
  • Ketema Bekele Negasa, Ethiopia – 2:11:17 PB
  • Million Feyssa Hailu, Ethiopia – 2:12:14 PB
  • Lucky Mohale, South Africa – 2:13:35 PB
  • Sibusiso Nzima, South Africa – 2:13:42 PB
  • Lucas Jani, South Africa – 2:17:37 PB
  • Xolisa Tyali, South Africa – 2:16:03 PB
  • Munyaradzi Jari, Zimbabwe – 2:16:54 PB
  • Gladwin Mzazi, South Africa – 2:17:43 PB
  • Africa Mailola, South Africa – 2:17:57 PB

Other names within the elite field include veterans Hendrick Ramaala and Shadrack Hoff.

Elite women’s field:

  • Renee Metivier-Baillie, USA – 2:27:17 PB
  • Isabella Ochichi, Kenya – 2:31:38 PB
  • Afera Godfay Berha, Ethiopia – 2:32:44 PB
  • Lauren Kleppin, USa – 2:37:13 PB
  • Eunice Chebichii Chumba, Bahrain – 2:33:25 PB
  • Jemila Wortesa Shure, Ethiopia – 2:34:23 PB
  • Devon Yanko, USA – 2:38:55 PB
  • Zintle Xiniwe, South Africa – 2:41:48 PB (SA marathon champion 2014)
  • Louisa Leballo, South Africa – 2:46:52 PB
  • Nolene Conrad, South Africa – 2:54:59 PB
  • Diana-Lebo Phalula, South Africa, marathon debut (1:11:54 half marathon PB)
  • Kataza Shipalana, South Africa, marathon debut (1:17:03 half marathon PB)
  • Tebogo Masehla, South Africa, marathon debut (1:18:53 half marathon PB)

For those who are unable to join in the weekend festival, there is the additional opportunity to experience the event on live SABC broadcasts. Festivities at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Expo will be broadcast live for an hour on Saturday, 19 September from 10h00 – 11h00, and marathon race day will be televised live from 06h30 to 12h00 on Sunday, 20 September. The race will also be showcased live on the race website www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com


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About the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon:

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is managed through a joint partnership between Western Province Athletics (WPA), ASEM Running and the City of Cape Town. Endorsed by Elana Meyer and Francois Pienaar, it will be held in September 2015. The classic 42.2km Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is the central focus of a festival of running through Africa’s Mother City, which includes a 10km Peace Run, a 4.2 km Community Fun Run, and a 22km and 11km Peace Trail run.

Lauren Kepplin shared, “I am really looking forward to the next couple of months preparation for the US Olympic trials which is my ultimate goal.  Being in Cape Town puts me alongside many inspiring and exciting individuals in the sport as I prepare for the trials.”

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route is competitive, yet beautiful, offering runners a unique experience that highlights the city’s natural splendour and top cultural attractions. The field is inclusive of the world’s elite athletes, club and non-club runners, wheelchair racers, casual joggers, social runners and walkers. Athletes and spectators can enjoy Cape Town’s unique festive atmosphere at safe, fun supporter zones along the route, and at Cape Town Stadium in Green Point.

“It is wonderful to race at home, in Africa. I’ve been blessed to travel the World and I continue to do so and I hope that more and more events will take me across African continent.

When it comes to performance on 20 September and 2015 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – I was supposed to race marathon in July, but due to family reasons I needed to cancel the race in Gold Coast, Australia and I managed to keep the shape and I will go for a win and good time on Sunday. I will do my best, same as thousands of runners,” said Isabella Ochichi.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon delivers a sustainable, charitable event that brings together runners and supporters to experience the exceptional spirit of Africa’s world-class city marathon. To obtain climate neutrality in 2014, Sanlam purchased carbon credits from Climate Neutral Group, which facilitates carbon credits trade. Three organisations whose work contributes to environmental sustainability benefited from the Sanlam carbon credits purchase. They are Nova for the project Basa Magogo; Natural Balance for Wonderbag; and Ener-gy Systems for the Joburg Landfill Gas to Energy project.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com)

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Facebook (@CTMarathon)

Twitter: @CTMarathon

Instagram: @CTMarathon #ctmarathon #ctmarathon2015

About the Sanlam Group:

Sanlam is a leading financial services group listed on the JSE Limited and the Namibian Stock Exchange. Established in 1918 as a life insurance company, the South Africa-based Sanlam Group has transformed into a diversified financial services business. Through its four business clusters – Sanlam Personal Finance, Sanlam Emerging Markets, Sanlam Investments and Santam – the Group provides comprehensive and tailored financial solutions to individual and institutional clients across all market segments. The Group’s areas of expertise include insurance, financial planning, retirement, trusts, wills, short-term insurance, asset management, risk management and capital market activities, investment and wealth. The Group operates in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom and has business interests in the USA, Australia and the Philippines. It has a stake in leading global micro-insurance specialists, UK-based Micro-Ensure Holdings Limited, which has a footprint across Africa and India servicing more than 10 million enrolled clients. Visit the Sanlam website or follow us at @Sanlam