Skip to main content

Sasaki Wins Karatsu 10-Miler

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local_other/article/144411

translated by Brett Larner

The 55th Karatsu Road Race took place Feb. 8, starting and finishing at Karatsu Municipal Field in Saga.  Marathon national team member Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) took his first Karatsu win in the men's 10 miles division in 47:12, outkicking Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) and Naoki Kudo (1st yr., Komazawa Univ.).  Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) won the women's 10 km divison in 32:33, likewise her first Karatsu title.  Kiyoshi Koga (3rd yr., Tosu Kogyo H.S.) won the high school boys' 10 km in 29:48, while Yuki Yokoishi (3rd yr., Shiraishi H.S.) set a course record 16:48 in the high school girls' 5 km.

The win gave Sasaki momentum in his bid for the Beijing World Championships men's marathon team.  Sasaki ran mid-pack in the lead group until late in the race, unconcerned when other runners started throwing in surges with 2 km to go.  His own move to the front came with just 1 km left.  "My experience in the marathon helped me not to do the work up front, instead just riding the flow," he said.  "That was pretty much the way I thought the race was going to go."  With a new 10 mile PB by 6 seconds he was more than satisfied.

At the New Year Ekiden Sasaki ran the longest stage, the 22.0 km Fourth Stage, where he was only 15th, but after running mileage on a tough course at a training camp in Ayamachi, Miyazaki in mid-January his condition began to pick up.  "My results today were in line with my training and confirmed that I'm in good shape," he nodded.

Sasaki's next race is March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon where he hopes to make the World Championships team.  Last year he was 2nd in the Karatsu 10-Miler in preparation for Lake Biwa, where he ran a PB 2:09:47 for 2nd, the top Japanese finisher and his first time sub-2:10.  "Things are moving along the same way as last year," he said.  "This year I want to run 2:08 and be the top Japanese man, and I think that will get me to the World Championships."  The 29-year-old captain of the prestigious Asahi Kasei team is clearly confident of his chances.

In the high school boys' 10 km, Koga struggled with brutal 30 kph north winds but still came out with a PB by 4 seconds.  Koga held back for the first 3 km before taking advantage of a slight weakening of the headwind to take control of the race.  "I didn't run the kind of time I was hoping for, but I did achieve my goal of winning," he said happily.  After graduating next month he will join Fukuoka's Yasukawa Denki team where he hopes to run the New Year Ekiden.

The high school girls' 5 km came down to a photo finish, both of the top two getting the same time of 16:48 but coming down to a ruling that Yokoishi had crossed the line first.  Despite having set a new course record Yokoishi was disappointed, saying, "My target time was 16:20, so this wasn't good enough."  Following her graduation she will join the Kyudenko team in Fukuoka, where she hopes to continue to grow as an athlete.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

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
           …

Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…