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

Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.


After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed …

Osako Criticizes People Who Think He Is Doping, Calling Them "Really Simple-Minded"

On Nov. 10, men's marathon national record holder Suguru Osako took to Twitter to lash out at people who suspect him of doping. Sponsored by Nike, Osako was a longtime member of the Nike Oregon Project team. The team's head coach Alberto Salazar was recently suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for four years as the result of an investigation into his misuse of restricted substances and methods.

Osako posted his opinions on his Twitter account @sugurusako at 8:46 a.m. on Nov. 10, denying that he has doped. "It seems like people seem to think that what happened with the Oregon Project means that I'm already guilty of doping, but anyone who thinks that way is really, really simple-minded," he wrote. "My coach never even once told me to take drugs or get injections that I didn't understand, and I've checked every single supplement and throat lozenge that's gone in my mouth."

At the Nike Oregon Project Osako was not coached…

Japanese Amateur Yamaguchi and Ugandan Kusuro Break Kobe Course Records

Amateur Japanese club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro had dominant wins at the 9th running of the Kobe Marathon Sunday, both running PBs and winning by almost 4 minutes in course record time.

Yamaguchi, who ran a PB 2:33:06 in Sydney in September and dropped a surprise 31:58 at last weekend's East Japan Women's Ekiden, slipped away early, never challenged by the pack of invited African elites or by friend and rival club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto). Going through halfway faster than her half marathon PB in 1:13:08. She slowed slightly in the second half, especially on the large bridge out to the island finish line, but her win was never in doubt as she broke the tape in 2:27:39. Previously, the fastest pure amateur Japanese women's marathon performance was Chihiro Tanaka's 2:29:30 in Nagoya in 2002. Breaking that by almost two minutes, Yamaguchi staked her claim as Japan's best-ever amateur.


2nd through 5th were close together…