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

JAAF and NHK Apologize for Camera Crew Interfering With Men's 10000 m National Championships

The JAAF has issued a joint apology with meet broadcaster NHK to the athletes and teams affected by an incident during the May 7 10000 m National Championships at Tokyo's National Stadium. An NHK TV camera entered the track area and stretched out a cable in front of an oncoming athlete, who collided with it. According to the JAAF and NHK, during the men's 10000 m A-heat, a two-person NHK camera crew in the infield area stepped out onto the track surface to get a closer shot of the top finishers. A cable extending back from the camera operator to his assistant caught athlete Shinji Mita of the Sunbelx corporate team in the neck, interfering with his performance. Immediately afterward, as the camera crew moved to get off the track they entered the path of another four oncoming athletes, who had to slow down as they tried to avoid colliding with the camera crew. All five athletes finished the race and were listed in the official results. Mita was taken to a hospital for examin

Sprinter Shoji Tomihisa Retires From Athletics at 105

A retirement ceremony for local masters track and field legend Shoji Tomihisa , 105, was held May 13 at his usual training ground at Miyoshi Sports Park Field in Miyoshi, Hiroshima. Tomihisa began competing in athletics at age 97, setting a Japanese national record 16.98 for 60 m in the men's 100~104 age group at the 2017 Chugoku Masters Track and Field meet. Last year Tomihisa was the oldest person in Hiroshima selected to run as a torchbearer in the Tokyo Olympics torch relay. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the relay on public roads was canceled, and while he did take part in related ceremonies his run was ultimately canceled. Tomihisa recently took up the shot put, but in light of his fading physical strength he made the decision to retire from competition. Around 30 members of the Shoji Tomihisa Booster Club attended the retirement ceremony. After receiving a bouquet of flowers from them Tomihisa in turn gave them a colored paper placard on which he had written the characters

Muthoni Runs 3rd-Fastest 3000 m in World, Kenyans Break 9 Meet Records - Corporate Regionals Weekend Roundup

Regional corporate track and field championships made up most of the weekend's major action, with Japan-based African athletes setting new meet records across the country. The Chugoku Region Corporate Meet in Miyoshi, Hiroshima was split between the last two weekends, with the 5000 m held last weekend and everything else this weekend. Teresiah Muthoni (Daiso) and teammate  Rebecca Mwangi crushed the 5000 m MR by over 20 seconds, Muthoni running 14:55.23 and Mwangi 14:57.79. A week later Muthoni was back in the 3000 m, where she took over 35 seconds off the MR with a solid 8:39.91 for the win, the 3rd-fastest time in the world this year. Mwangi opted to double in the 10000 m, taking over 35 seconds off that MR to win in 31:28.28. Following up on her comeback win at the Sendai International Half Marathon , Tokyo Olympics marathoner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) had a good run for 2nd in 32:18.69. Hillary Mosop (Mazda) had a near miss on the men's 1500 m MR, winning 3:44.94 just