Skip to main content

Kawauchi Leads Japanese Contingent at ING New York City Marathon

by Brett Larner

The ING New York City Marathon has rarely seen top-level Japanese athletes in its field, largely as a consequence November's series of regional qualifying ekidens for the corporate league's men's and women's national championships ekidens in late December and early January.  This year New York scored one of Japan's best along with two more quality corporate runners.

A cultural phenomenon in Japan who has won fans worldwide, the independent Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) comes to New York with support from JRN to make his U.S. and World Marathon Majors debut in his ninth of eleven marathons scheduled for this year.  After a early-spring season that saw him run a 2:12:24 Egyptian all-comers' record, a 2:08:15 course record at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in a duel with Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), a 1:29:31 CR at the Kumanichi 30 km, a 2:08:14 PB at the Seoul International Marathon and three other races all within the span of eight weeks, Kawauchi was relatively flat through the summer and early fall.  Modelling his late-fall season after his Egypt-Beppu-Kumanichi-Seoul quadruple, a 2:11:40 for 2nd at the Melbourne Marathon three weeks ago followed a week later by a 59:17 at the Takashimadaira 20 km, close to his half marathon PB in quality, signalled that he was back to his best in time for New York. There, on a course well-suited to his strengths, he hopes to run fast enough to make at least the top five.  "I want to beat Meb Keflezighi," he told JRN, "because he finished ahead of Nakamoto at the Olympics.  Tsegaye Kebede also outran Nakamoto in Moscow, so if everything goes right I'd like to beat him too.  And of course Stephen Kiprotich."

Following New York Kawauchi wraps up his season-ending quadruple with the Fukuoka-Hofu double he has done the last two years.  A sub-2:10 in both New York and Fukuoka would shorten his own world record of 42 days for the least time ever between two sub-2:10 marathons by 14 days.  Another sub-2:10 in Hofu would take another 14 days off the record.



Another name on Kawauchi's list is Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), a former star of the Hakone Ekiden's uphill Fifth Stage while in university and now coached by Barcelona Olympics silver medalist Koichi Morishita.  Best-known outside Japan for his thrilling loss to Kawauchi in Fukuoka in 2011, Imai has struggled to live up to the expectations of his domestic fans in his marathon to date, incrementally improving his best over the last three years from 2:10:41 to 2:10:32 to its current 2:10:29 status from this year's Tokyo Marathon. Like Kawauchi he is well-suited to a hilly course, and with a good year since Tokyo behind him, including a win over Kawauchi at July's Shibetsu Half Marathon, he looks ready for a good international debut.

Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) won the 2012 Osaka International Women's Marathon in a solid 2:23:23 to join the all-time Japanese top ten and make the London Olympics. Since then she has followed the same general pattern as other top-level Tenmaya women before her and steadily declined. In her last signifcant race, the Hokkaido Marathon on Aug. 25 this year, she was 13th in only 2:51:55.  In early September her coach Yutaka Taketomi described her condition to JRN as, "Bad, bad....."  Given these circumstances a strong debut on the challenging New York course just two months later looks iffy at best.

The ING New York City Marathon will be streamed live online starting at 7:00 a.m. local time at this link.  Check back on JRN and our Twitter feed @JRNHeadlines for more coverage throughout race weekend.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
He got 12th place. Better than I could every do.

Most-Read This Week

5th-Ranked Koku Gakuin Pulls Off Last Km Upset to Win First-Ever Izumo Ekiden Title

In the modern era of systematic mass-production of quality by dominant teams like Tokai University and Aoyama Gakuin University it has been years since an underdog came through with a surprise win on Japan's university men's ekiden circuit, but that's just what happened at today's Izumo Ekiden to kick off the 2019-20 Big Three University Ekiden season.

The race was expected to be between defending champ Tokai and Buddhist powerhouse Komazawa University, with threats from AGU and fan favorites Toyo University. Like last year Tokai struggled a bit to get on its feet, lagging as a core leading quartet coalesced over the first half of the race's six stages. Running better than expected, #5-ranked Koku Gakuin University was right up in it along with AGU, Komazawa and Toyo, its second and third men Taiga Nakanishi and Yuhei Urano taking 3rd on their stages and Urano one of six men on the Third Stage to break its course record.

The leading quartet broke up into two pairs…

Hakone Champ Tokai University the Heavy Favorite at Izumo Ekiden

University men's ekiden season kicks off Monday with the Izumo Ekiden, the first race in the three-month buildup to January's Hakone Ekiden main event. Last year four-time Hakone champ Aoyama Gakuin University outran up-and-coming Tokai University at both Izumo and November's National University Ekiden but fell short of stopping Tokai at Hakone. This year AGU is significantly down on strength, while Tokai is stronger than ever. But while Tokai is the clear favorite, it's got a serious challenge coming from at least one, maybe two familiar faces.

The average stage length for Izumo's six stages is about 7.5 km, requiring a balance between 5000 m and 10000 m skills. Despite missing captain Ryoji Tatezawa Tokai leads the way in both departments, its top six 5000 m average of 13:47.22 the fastest among the seven schools with sub-14 minute averages and its 10000 m average of 28:39.35 likewise leading the way among the six sub-29 programs. Half marathon credentials don&#…

Chicago Marathon Japanese Results

After moving up to the top ranks of amateur Japanese women's marathoning with a 2:36:37 PB at this year's Tokyo Marathon, club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto) took another big step with a 2:33:16 PB for 14th at the Chicago Marathon. Running almost perfectly evenly, her first 5 km 18:11 and none after that faster than 17:49 or slower than 18:17, Kaneshige managed a slight negative split with a 1:16:46 first half and 1:16:30 second half. Just short of rival club runner Haruka Yamaguchi's 2:33:09 PB in Sydney last month, with that kind of control Kaneshige looks to have plenty more room for growth.

On the men's side, four Japanese men, Minato Oishi (Toyota), Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota), Ryoma Takeuchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Yuta Takahashi (Otsuka Seiyaku), went out in the second pack with the main leading group of American men. The fastest Japanese half marathoner so far this year, Oishi was almost as steady as Kaneshige the entire way as he opened with a 15:25 first …