Skip to main content

Kawauchi Gets Kurobe CR in Payback for Last Year's Runner-up Finish

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130526-OHT1T00149.htm

translated by Brett Larner

6098 people completed the May 26 Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon.  First among them was the race's star invited athlete, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who set a new course record of 1:03:58 in taking the win.  In 26-degree temperatures Kawauchi ran head-to-head against locally-based corporate team YKK's ace, Naohiro Yamada, 28.  Suddenly taking off at the 13 km point, Kawauchi shot away from Yamada and ran all-out for the final 8 km to secure the win and record.

The race was Kawauchi's fifth half marathon this month, but despite the accumulated fatigue and the 26-degree heat he obliterated the 1:04:46 record set in 2010 by YKK's Tetsuo Nishikawa.  "It was really hot out there," Kawauchi said afterward.  "I drank at every water station."  After finishing he poured cups of water over his head, thirstily gulping down Kurobe's famous local spring water.

YKK's "assassin" Yamada was thoroughly beaten.  "At this kind of race, the local corporate team will usually put in one or two of its best ekiden runners," Kawauchi said.  "YKK was playing for real this time, putting their best runner in."  Last year Kawauchi finished 2nd to YKK's Nishikawa in Kurobe, and from long before this year's race he was itching for payback.  At the 2007 Hakone Ekiden Kawauchi and Yamada were teammates on the Kanto Region University Select Team, Kawauchi representing Gakushuin University and Yamada running for Yamanashi Gakuin University.  Lining up against each other this year in Kurobe it was a head-to-head race from the start.

The decisive move came at the 13 km water station.  "After 12 km I could see that his upper body was starting to weave, so I took advantage of an uphill at the water station to hit him hard," Kawauchi said of his race-making surge.  Instantly opening a lead, he kept up the attack and ran full-speed the rest of the way.  "Nobody heckled me this time*, and I really appreciated hearing all the enthusiastic cheering from the people along the course.  Once I had the lead I never looked back."

In the last 23 days Kawauchi has run five half marathons including Kurobe.  "After my marathons in March and April I had a minor injury, but that's all sorted out now and there aren't any lingering problems.  The Federation is leaving me alone and letting me do what I want, so that's nice too."

Having used his serial half marathons to develop his speed, next month Kawauchi will jump back into marathons starting with the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon. "Thanks to the athletes from YKK I was able to run a good time here in Kurobe," he said. "More than worrying about time, my goal next month will be to get comfortable with the marathon distance again."  Everything is geared toward August's Moscow World Championships, where Kawauchi will run the marathon for the Japanese national team.

After finishing Kurobe Kawauchi was taken to the medical tent suffering from overheating, but once he recovered he was inundated with crowds of fans outside the entrance to the tent.  Smiling, he posed for pictures and shook fans' hands, thanking them for their support.  "I'm a much stronger athlete for having run this race," he told them.  "I will definitely be back in Kurobe every year that my schedule lets me."  Even as he stands on the brink of racing the best in the world Kawauchi is still thinking of the local races and people who helped him get there.

*Translator's note: Kawauchi has been heckled by a few people along the course in several recent races where he has underperformed.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…