Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kawauchi Breaks Two World Records With Kochi Ryoma Marathon Win

by Brett Larner

Running marathons on back-to-back weekends for the first time, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) improved on his 2:15:16 8th-place finish at last weekend's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon with a 2:15:06 win at the 69th edition of the Kochi Ryoma Marathon.

Still recovering the fitness lost to a month off serious training after spraining his ankle in late December, Kawauchi found an unexpected challenge from Tatsuya Itagaki (Team JP Post), a 2:22:19 marathoner who went through halfway right next to him on 2:12 marathon pace.  Things slowed down in the uphill second half, Itagaki lasting until 27 km before a surge from Kawauchi put him away. From there Kawauchi was free all the way to the end, his 2:15:06 missing the course record by 42 seconds.  Itagaki was rewarded for a brave first half with a new best of 2:18:56.

Kawauchi's win marked his 35th career sub-2:16 marathon and 37th sub-2:17.  Both marks surpassed the world records held by Ethiopian great Abebe Mekonnen, who over the course of 14 years ran 34 sub-2:16s and 36 sub-2:17s.  In Kawauchi's case it took just under 5 years.  With fast overseas marathons planned in Seoul next month and Zurich in April Kawauchi is only one run away from tying Swede Kjell-Erik Stahl's record of 41 sub-2:18 marathons and two races from Mekonnen's sub-2:13, 2:14 and 2:15 records.  At this rate he's on track to truly go where no one ever has, or will again.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

4 comments:

Brett Larner said...

According to the ARRS' Ken Young, while some lists credit Stahl with 39 sub-2:17 marathons they include several performances on short courses and that Mekonnen's total of 36 should be considered accurate.

Anna Novick said...

Epic.

Jean-Benoit Jaouen said...

Absolument phénoménal !

Scott Brown said...

"All will again"! is a great ending to that article. Hard to imagine we'll see someone like him again. Love to follow his going ons. I bet he has some surprises for us yet! Great stuff!!