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Kawauchi Wins Second-Straight Okinoshima Ultra in Late Father's Hometown; Rushed to Hospital

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130616-1143588.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130615-OHT1T00207.htm
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/06/16/kiji/K20130616006025620.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 8th annual Okinoshima Ultramarathon took place June 16 on the island of Okinoshima.  452 runners took part, including 141 women.  First among them in the event's 50 km division was Moscow World Championships marathon team member and defending champion Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who crossed the line in 2:57:28.  Kawauchi's father Ashio Kawauchi, who passed away in 2005 at age 59, was a native of Okinoshima, giving the Father's Day race a special significance for the younger Kawauchi.

It was his third-straight year running the Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, with a DNF after collapsing with heat exhaustion in the final kilometers of 2011's race and a 2:51:45 course record last year.  At this year's race, after crossing the finish line Kawauchi appeared to be suffering from heatstroke and was rushed to the medical tent.  He was then taken to a local hospital while being given oxygen.  Weather conditions at the time of Kawauchi's finish just before 2:00 p.m. were 24.7 degrees with 85% humidity.

Comments

curious reader said…
Is there a list with all of Kawauchi's races and times? He races so often, I can't keep track of it. I'm curious to see the times, paces, and distances he races and how often. All the best to him recovering from this race.
Brett Larner said…
There is a listing of his 34 races in 2012 at the end of the "Top Ten Japanese Men of 2012" article I published in December. 18 races so far this year:

Jan. 13: Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:31, 1st
Jan. 18: Egyptian Marathon, Luxor: 2:12:24 - CR, 1st
Jan. 20: Saitama Ekiden 3rd Stage (11.9k), Saitama:36:54, 2nd
Jan. 27: Okumusashi Ekiden 4th Stage (4.679k): 13:00 - CR, 1st
Feb. 3: Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Oita: 2:08:15 - CR/PB, 1st
Feb. 17: Kumanichi 30 km, Kumamoto: 1:29:31 - CR/PB, 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Tamana: 1:03:12, 2nd
Mar. 17: Seoul Int'l Marathon, Seoul: 2:08:14 - PB, 4th
Mar. 24: Saitama City Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:52, 1st
Apr. 15: Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:06:28, 1st
Apr. 21: Nagano Marathon: 2:14:27, 1st
May 4: Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon: guest run
May 5: Toyohiragawa Half Marathon, Toyohiragawa: 1:05:45, 1st
May 12: Sendai Int'l Half Marathon, Sendai: 1:03:30, 10th
May 19: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:05:05, 14th
May 26: Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon, Kurobe: 1:03:58 - CR, 1st
June 2: Chitose Int'l Marathon, Chitose: 2:18:29 - CR, 1st
June 16: Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, Oki: 2:57:28, 1st

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Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

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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
           …