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

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …