Skip to main content

Adachi Against Kawauchi, 50% of XC Season, Another Ekiden and More - Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

February is one of those months with more events crammed in than it's possible to cover.  This weekend features at least three good quality marathons, a 10-miler, another late-season ekiden, and half of the elite Japanese cross country season.

That XC happens east of Tokyo in Chiba at the Chiba International XC Meet, along with the Feb. 21 Fukuoka International XC Meet one of the two races that decide the Japanese team for next month's World XC Championships in China.  Marugame Half Marathon remnants Samuel Tsegaye (Eritrea) and Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) make up the major share of the international component in the senior men's 12 km where they face the likes of 2015 Hakone Ekiden course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University's Kazuma Kubota, Daito Bunka University wonder twins Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida and many more.  The Japanese junior teams usually represent well at worlds, and most of the country's best up-and-coming talent will be there.

Others will be at the Chugoku Women's Ekiden, which this year changes homes and names slightly to the Chugoku Women's Sera Ekiden in Sera, Hiroshima, home of 2014 National High School Ekiden champion Sera H.S.  Further west, the Karatsu Road Race hosts sub-2:10 marathoner Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), top track runners Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) and Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Kenyan Edward Waweru (Team NTN) in its 10-miler, with a good selection of upper-level Japanese women including Misato Horie (Team Noritz) and Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) in its 10 km division.

Another sub-2:10 marathoner from the Asahi Kasei crew, Tomoya Adachi, lines up on home ground at the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon where his main competition is 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  Kawauchi, with a PB of 2:08:14, is recovered from his ankle sprain in late December but down in fitness during his recovery.  Adachi, who ran a 2:09:59 best in Fukuoka in December, should be a more than worthy competitor for him.  Good lower-tier races are also on the calendar at the Ehime Marathon and the Kitakyushu Marathon, the latter of which saw quality times in its first edition last year.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

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
           …