Skip to main content

The Land of the Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, National University Women's Half Marathon Championships and NYC Half Marathon bringing Japan's post-championship ekiden winter half marathon season to a close, yesterday I looked at the top 100 men's and women's performances by country so far this year and tweeted the results.  The totals have been making the rounds on Twitter since then, so although they will be out of date tomorrow as the European half marathon season rolls on here is the current breakdown using the results listed here.

Top 100 Men's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Kenya: 39
Japan: 31
Ethiopia: 15
Morocco: 4
U.S.A.: 4
Brazil: 2
England: 2
other: 3

Top 100 Women's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Japan: 40
Kenya: 23
Ethiopia: 10
U.S.A.: 4
Morocco: 3
Netherlands: 3
Poland: 2
Scotland: 2
other: 13

Combined Men's & Women's Top 100 Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Japan: 71
Kenya: 62
Ethiopia: 25
U.S.A.: 8
Morocco: 7
England: 3
Netherlands: 3
Australia: 2
Brazil: 2
Poland: 2
Scotland: 2
other: 13

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Arai said…
Very impressive (although Japan probably wouldn't do as well in a comparison of the top 50 performances).
Eryn said…
Quit impressive, although Japan would do much better on the top 1000 performances...
Brett Larner said…
For the people sending me 2011 numbers, you are not taking into account that the disasters last year resulted in the cancellation of most of the late winter/spring Japanese half marathon season, including but not limited to the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, the National University Half Marathon Championships, the National University Women's Half Marathon Championships and the Sendai International Half Marathon. Needless to say, this impacted the numbers for 2011.
franck said…
I am sorry,
i like japan athletics, but
2010 results (men)
kenya 70
ethiopia 19
morocco 3
eritrea 2
japan 1
(women)
kenya 32
ethiopia 26
japan 16
Anonymous said…
2011 was certainly not a regular year, yet the numbers for 2010 and 2011 are pretty similar, aren't they?
Brett Larner said…
Well, as I said, these numbers will go out of date quickly, but it would be more meaningful if you were comparing the first ~three months of 2010 and 2011 rather than the entire year to the first three months of 2012. I think 2010 was slightly better than 2011, as you'd expect, but either way the numbers this year, especially for the men, are dramatically better than in than the past. I don't think Japan has ever had near this number of people sub-62, and the year is still young.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …