Skip to main content

Kawauchi, Yoshizumi Win Hokkaido Marathon, Tanaka Wins City to Surf

by Brett Larner

In his fifth marathon to date this year, 2011 World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) added the second marathon win to his resume as he took the Aug. 26 Hokkaido Marathon in 2:18:38. Osaka-based amateur Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) came from behind to win the women's race in 2:39:06.

Long one of Japan's peak elite summer races, this year saw Hokkaido all but eliminate its elite field this year, and as a result 2:08:37 man Kawauchi's win was never in serious doubt.  After a five-man lead pack went through halfway in 1:08:18, Kawauchi powered away to open a one-minute lead over his nearest competition. Although Kawauchi faded to a 1:10:20 second half in the rising temperatures, his competition faded more dramatically. Kawauchi's final margin of victory was more than three minutes over runner-up Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), who clocked 2:21:49.

In the women's race Yoshizumi started far behind sub-2:30 favorite Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren), but as Suzuki faded early in the second half Yoshizumi was there to take over, sailing on unchallenged to the finish. In an indication of Hokkaido's downgrading of its elite race, Kawauchi's winning time was the slowest in Hokkaido history since its first winner, Russian Fedor Ryzhov, ran 2:24:28 in 1987, while Yoshizumi's time was the slowest winning time since American Jane Welzel won the race's second edition in 2:40:53 in 1988.

The same day as Hokkaido, two-time Hokkaido winner Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) opted to head south, easily winning the City-to-Surf Marathon in Perth, Australia in 2:41:14.

2012 Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/26/12
click here for complete results and splits

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 2:18:38
2. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:21:49
3. Takaya Sakamoto (Tokushima T&F Assoc.) - 2:24:24
4. Makoto Ozawa (Team Sekino Reform) - 2:24:37
5. Naoki Yamashita (Team NTN) - 2:25:14

Women
1. Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:39:06
2. Misuzu Okamoto (Team Hokkoku Ginko) - 2:45:46
3. Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 2:47:32
4. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:50:14
5. Noriko Toshima (Hokkaido Marathon Club) - 2:59:28

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

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
           …