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Kawauchi Breaks Own Course Record for Third-Straight Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Win (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner

After withering in the heat of last weekend's Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon, Moscow World Championships men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in form July 28 with a win at the 41st Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km road race in Hokkaido.  Running an entirely solo race in 27-degree temperatures, Kawauchi broke his own 1:33:55 course record from two years ago with a new mark of 1:33:27 to take his third-straight Kushiro title just three weeks after his win at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon.   While he struggled in similar conditions in Shibetsu, this time Kawauchi ran full-strength, staying on his feet after finishing and able to walk back to the change room under his own power.

Kushiro was Kawauchi's last race before the Aug. 17 World Championships marathon and followed his 22nd-place finish in 1:06:45 in Shibetsu.  "I'm glad everything tallied up on the final balance sheet," he said afterwards.  "I'd rate this just barely 80%, but it's enough to see me off [to Moscow] feeling positive.  Two failures in a row would make me anxious, so I was pretty nervous this time and wasn't very nice before the race."  Indeed, the day before the race Kawauchi had been unusually terse, but liberated from stress post-race he was out shaking hands and talking lightheartedly with fans, even posing for photos with a life-sized poster of himself.

On a commemorative placard celebrating Japan's traditional Festival of the Stars Kawauchi wrote "Top six at the World Championships."  Two years ago at the Daegu World Championships he finished 18th after leading the first 5 km.  "It doesn't mean anything just to say that you ran assertively," he said.  This time around, carefully monitoring the race development, he is shooting for something much higher up among the stars.

Kawauchi's complete (?) 2013 race schedule so far: Twenty-two races run, fourteen wins, eight course records, three PBs, one all-comers' record.

Jan. 13: Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:31, 1st
Jan. 18: Egyptian Marathon, Luxor: 2:12:24 - ACR/CR, 1st
Jan. 20: Saitama Ekiden 3rd Stage (11.9k), Saitama: 36:54, 2nd
Jan. 27: Okumusashi Ekiden 4th Stage (4.679k), Hanno: 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. 7: Satte Sakura 10-Miler: cancelled due to bad weather
Apr. 14: Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:06:28, 1st
Apr. 21: Nagano Marathon: 2:14:27, 1st
Apr. 28: Oda Memorial Meet GP Men's 5000 m, Hiroshima: 14:09.88, 18th
May 4: Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon: guest run - started at rear of field and tried to chase everyone down; finished 10th with no time recorded
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
July 7: Gold Coast Airport Marathon: 2:10:01 - CR tie, 1st
July 21: Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon - 1:06:45, 22nd
July 28: Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race - 1:33:27 - CR, 1st

Still to come:
Aug. 17: Moscow World Championships marathon
Sept. 29: Hakodate Half Marathon
Oct. 6: Hirosaki Shirakami Apple Half Marathon
Oct. 13: Melbourne Marathon
Nov. 17: Ageo City Half Marathon
Nov. 24: Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon
Dec. 1: Fukuoka International Marathon
Dec. 15: Hofu Yomiuri Marathon
and more.


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