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Jepkemboi, Okunaga, Kawauchi and Sang the Favorites at April 21 Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Nagano Marathon has released the names of its elite field lineup for its 15th running, to be held Apr. 21.  It's a field heavy on veterans, including 40+ runners William Kiplagat (Kenya), Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec RC) and Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka), imminently retiring former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) and, freshly departed from the Kyudenko corporate team, top-ranked woman Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC).

Two of last year's top four men return in the form of Silas Sang (Kenya) and Alexey Sokolov (Russia), joined from overseas by silver label Eritrean Isaias Beyn.  The domestic favorite in his fourth marathon of 2013 is Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), but the interest level in the Japanese field extends further to include silver label men Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Kazuya Ishida (Team Nishitetsu) and three men with promising runs at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon, Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta), Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki) and amateur Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC).

Okunaga's main competition in the women's race comes from Kenyan Beatrice Jepkemboi with a 2:27:41 best from last year's Hamburg Marathon.  First-time marathoner Esther Nganga could prove another rival, along with 2:30:17 Russian Natalia Puchkova and, just 22, the up-and-coming Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki).

2013 Nagano Marathon Elite Field
Nagano, 4/21/13
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
William Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:06:50 (Amsterdam 1999)
Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:06:51 (Fukuoka 2000)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul 2013)
Silas Sang (Kenya) - 2:09:10 (Nagano 2012)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51 (Lake Biwa 2010)
Alexey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:10:59 (Nagano 2012)
Isaias Beyn (Eritrea) - 2:11:53 (Frankfurt 2012)
Chihiro Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:53 (Tokyo 2013)
Kazuya Ishida (Team Nishitetsu) - 2:11:57 (Nobeoka 2012)
Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:22 (Nobeoka 2013)
Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Hiro Tonegawa (Alps Tool) - 2:19:34 (Tokyo 2011)

Women
Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) - 2:27:16 (Osaka Int'l 2009)
Beatrice Jepkemboi (Kenya) - 2:27:41 (Hamburg 2012)
Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec RC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Int'l 2002)
Natalia Puchkova (Russia) - 2:30:17 (Hannover 2012)
Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) - 2:32:43 (Tokyo 2013)
Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 2:33:15 (Osaka Int'l 2010)
Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka) - 2:35:58 (Ohtawara 2005)
Sayaka Maeda (Second Wind AC) - 2:42:27 (Tsukuba 2012)
Esther Nganga (Kenya) - debut - 1:12:27 (Singapore Half 2012)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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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
           …

Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


The Fukuoka International Marathon was held on Dec. 4 last year. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) took part despite nursing injuries he had sustained in training. Falling rain contributed to less than ideal conditions during the race, but from the very early stages…