Skip to main content

Kawauchi 6th in TCS New York City Marathon

by Brett Larner

Incognito at the expo.

After two failed attempts and a year mostly lost to self-inflicted injury following a moderate ankle sprain late last December, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) turned in his best race of the year and one of the best of his career at the TCS New York City Marathon, negative splitting 2:13:29 for 6th place overall as the top non-African finisher.

Kawauchi and winner Stanley Biwott (Kenya) pre-race.

Running NYC for the third time with support from JRN, Kawauchi looked strong and comfortable through the relatively slow 1:06:50 first half, rolling with the ebbs and flows of New York's unpaced, hilly race.  Coming off the Queensboro Bridge after 25 km in the lead pack for the first time in his three NYCM attempts, he stayed in contention as part of a group of eight leaders as the pace went as fast as 2:55/km heading up to the Bronx, focused and mostly free of his characteristic pained grimace.

Finally losing touch when Kenyan winner Stanley Biwott's real move came, he and American great Meb Keflezighi worked together going back and forth in 6th and 7th to try to catch stragglers Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia), this year's World Championships silver medalist, and defending champion Wilson Kipsang (Kenya).  With his famed finishing speed after 40 km Kawauchi closed to within 5 seconds of Yemane but couldn't quite seal the deal, tying the best-ever Japanese placing in New York at 6th in a negative split 2:13:29.  Keflezighi was right behind in 2:13:32, a new American masters' record.  Post-race both men credited each other with their achievements, Kawauchi saying, "If Meb hadn't been there for me I probably wouldn't have been able to push it this hard.  I owe this race to Meb."  Keflezighi commented, "I used the Japanese guy to be able to push a little bit and help each other."

Kawauchi extremely happy to meet legend Bill Rodgers the night before the race.

Kawauchi's 6th-place finish was the best Japanese men's placing in an Abbott World Marathon Majors race this year, in a slow race short of his time goal of beating Masato Imai's 2:10:45 in New York two years ago but a major confidence builder after his long-lasting injury problems this year and with his shot at making the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team coming up next month in Fukuoka.

"The field here was as good as in an Olympics or World Championships," he told JRN post-race.  "This was the first time I've ever been able to compete as one of the leaders all the way in a race this level, right until the real move came.  I've never been there to experience it happening right before my eyes before, so this was a really important breakthrough experience.  Thank you to everyone who cheered for me during the race online, on the course, and back home."

TCS New York City Marathon
New York, U.S.A., 11/1/15
click here for complete results

Men
1. Stanley Biwott (Kenya) - 2:10:34
2. Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) - 2:10:48
3. Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) - 2:12:10
4. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:12:45
5. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 2:13:24
6. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:13:29
7. Meb Keflezighi (U.S.A.) - 2:13:32
8. Craig Leon (U.S.A.) - 2:15:16
9. Birhanu Dare Kemal (Ethiopia) - 2:15:40
10. Kevin Chelimo (Kenya) - 2:15:49

Women
1. Mary Keitany (Kenya) - 2:24:25
2. Aselefech Mergia (Ethiopia) - 2:25:32
3. Tigist Tufa (Ethiopia) - 2:25:50
4. Sara Moreira (Portugal) - 2:25:53
5. Christelle Daunay (France) - 2:26:57
6. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:27:03
7. Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 2:28:23
8. Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) - 2:28:46
9. Anna Incerti (Italy) - 2:33:13
10. Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 2:33:19

text and photos (c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Dan said…
Not only did he run a fantastic race, the announcers on TV did a nice job talking about him. Much better than last year.
TokyoRacer said…
First non-African at New York is impressive, and he beat a few Africans also....
Nice that he and Meb were able to work together.
Hope he has a good run at Fukuoka - which is only 5 weeks away.
Try to keep him from running another marathon in the interim, Brett.
Brett Larner said…
Thanks. Don't worry, he has his head on straight. Relatively speaking.
Steve G said…
Always follow him on marathon talk, inspiring.

Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Running the 2020 Olympic Marathon Course Part Two - The Women's Marathon

Today marks two years until the women's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There's been a lot of concern about the 7:00 a.m. start time approved by the IOC two weeks ago as it means that athletes will be running under direct sunlight in temperatures in the low 30's and potentially high humidity. I went down to the Olympic Stadium site this morning and, starting at exactly 7:00 a.m., ran 30 km of the course to check for myself what kind of conditions the athletes will be facing.


If you're not familiar with Tokyo, take a look at the map to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. I ran from the stadium to the 20 km point and then back, cutting out the sections from 20 to 28 km and from 31 to 35 km which I'll do next week on the 9th, two years ahead of the men's marathon.
The bad news: The conditions were tough. With zero cloud cover and very little wind, at the time of the 7:00 a.m. start at the Olympic Stadium it was 31.1˚C with 68% humidity according…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…