Daiji Kawai, Koki Yoshioka, Yuta Koyama and Kento Kikutani (left to right) at today’s press conference. PHOTO: VCM / Michael Kvick

Japanese quartet write history at Vienna City Marathon

Japan’s Kento Kikutani will lead a strong quartet of Japanese at the 38th edition of the Vienna City Marathon that will be held on Sunday (12) in Vienna, Austria.

This is the first time in the history of the Vienna City Marathon that a Japanese male elite team will be on the start line. And partly this development has to do with Eliud Kipchoge. When the Kenyan Olympic Champion broke the two hour barrier in the Austrian capital two years ago the world took notice of a unique running spectacle co-organized by the Vienna City Marathon. Back in Japan Kento Kikutani, Yuta Koyama, Koki Yoshioka and Daji Kawai all watched Kipchoge’s race through Vienna’s Prater Park, which is also part of the marathon course.

“I was watching the live stream. This was a huge effort by Kipchoge. I think that good weather conditions in Vienna had a big influence on the result,“said Kento Kikutani, who has a personal best of 2:07.26 from Lake Biwa this year. He is the fastest of the Japanese quartet and wants to improve his personal best on Sunday: „I will follow to pacers and then I want to go for the win after the 30k point“, said the 27 year-old, who then hold up his watch during the press conference: “At least I already have the same watch Kipchoge used in Vienna!”

Yuta Koyama is the second fastest of the four Japanese carries a personal best of 2:08.46. He is also ready for a fast race and possibly a personal best. „My plan is to go with the leading group,“ said Koyama, who also clocked his PB in Lake Biwa this year. „Vienna is a good opportunity for me to race despite the corona pandemic.”

Koki Yoshioka and Daji Kawai feature personal records of 2:10.13 and 2:10.50 respectively. Both target their personal bests on Sunday. “I really appreciate that I am able to run here during the pandemic. My goal is to go under 2:10,” said Yoshioka while Kawai stated: “Vienna is a traditional race and I am happy to run here. As there are pacers, I think the race will have a good pace. I want to stay calm and will then decide how to react.”