Skip to main content

Kawauchi Ends Year at Bitburger Silvesterlauf

by Brett Larner


Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped up a tough 2015 at the Bitburger Silvesterlauf 8 km in Trier Germany on Dec. 31.  Hoping to set a new Japanese national record under 23:30, Kawauchi ran at the rear of the front pack led by Beijing Olympics 10000 m bronze medalist Micah Kogo (Kenya) on target pace through the first five of the course's eight 1 km loops through the narrow streets at the heart of the city center.  On the sixth lap Kawauchi tripped on a cobblestone and fell, struggling to pick himself up as Kogo sped away in a four-way international battle with Haymanot Ales (Ethiopia), Zakaria Boudad (Morocco) and Teklit Tesfahabr (Eritrea).

Kawauchi staggered over the final two laps, overtaken by runner after runner from the second pack and further back.  In the final sprint finish Ales won with a clear margin in 22:59, Boudad and Kogo coming in two seconds back.  Kawauchi finished over a minute later, gutted with nothing to show for his result but a minor improvement to his high school-era PB.  Although he finished well off the eight-deep podium, race organizers kindly invited him onstage during the award ceremony where he thanked the crowd in both English and German.

It wasn't the ending Kawauchi hoped for to a 2015 in which, largely through his own doing, he struggled to meet his goals after spraining his ankle at the end of December last year.  He did have bright moments: his first-ever marathons on back-to-back weekends, 2:15:16 for 8th at the Feb. 8 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon and a 2:15:06 win at the Kochi Ryoma Marathon on Feb. 15, a season best 2:12:13 for 2nd at April's Zurich Marathon and a 6th place finish at November's TCS New York City Marathon, the best placing by a Japanese man in the World Marathon Majors this year tying the best-ever placing by a Japanese man in New York.  But by and large the decisions he made meant he had difficulty achieving what he hoped, killing the spring recovery he showed in Zurich with three half marathons in three days a week later and, most importantly, flaming out in his shot at the Olympic team at December's Fukuoka International Marathon which he ran despite having said publicly that he would not run Fukuoka if he ran poorly at September's Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, which he did.

Does 2016 hold a return to form?  Two weeks after Fukuoka he ran faster in Hofu, which left him very optimistic about the coming year.  He turned down an offer from the London Marathon in order to enter himself in the general division of the final Olympic selection race, March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, where he believes he can win even if doing so would still not put him on the Olympic team without a sub-2:06:30.  He hopes to join the exclusive club of five Japanese men who have won overseas marathons sub-2:10.  To run the 10th sub-2:10, 100th half marathon and 500th race of his career.  And, his major goal for the year, he hopes to win next year's Fukuoka International Marathon to make the 2017 London World Championships team which he intends to be his final time running for the Japanese national team.  A big year, hopefully with better things ahead.

Bitburger Silvesterlauf
Trier, Germany, 12/31/15
click here for complete results

Men's 8 km
1. Haymanot Ales (Ethiopia) - 22:59
2. Zakaria Boudad (Morocco) - 23:01
3. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 23:01
4. Teklit Tesfaghabr (Eritrea) - 23:03
5. Patrick Ereng (Kenya) - 23:21
-----
21. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 24:24

Women's 5 km
1. Amare Meskerem (Ethiopia) - 15:35
2. Maureen Koster (Netherlands) - 15:57
3. Derartu Debel Delesa (Ethiopia) - 16:09
4. Anna Holm Baumeister (Germany) - 16:10
5. Gesa Krause (Germany) - 16:13

Yuki Kawauchi's complete 2015 race results. Click any race for reports, videos, photos and detailed results.

Jan. 11: Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon, Kagoshima: 2:24:10 - 1st
Jan. 18: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:04:44 - 9th
Jan. 25: Okumusashi Ekiden, Saitama - DNS - sat out to rest sprained left ankle
Feb. 1: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama: 39:28 - 6th
Feb. 8: Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon, Miyazaki: 2:15:16 - 8th
Feb. 15: Kochi Ryoma Marathon, Kochi: 2:15:06 - 1st
Feb. 22: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:13:36 - 43rd
Mar. 1: Tachikawa City Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:07:19 - 407th
Mar. 8: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:06:37 - 24th
Mar. 15: Seoul International Marathon, South Korea: 2:13:33 - 16th
Mar. 22: Kumagaya Sakura Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:04:41 - 1st
Mar. 29: Nerima Kobushi Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:39 - 1st - CR
Apr. 5: Satte Sakura 10 Mile Road Race, Saitama: 49:20 - 1st - also ran 2 km family run after 10 miler 
Apr. 12: Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:07:47 - 1st
Apr. 19: Zurich Marathon, Switzerland: 2:12:13 - 2nd
Apr. 26: Sado Toki Half Marathon, Niigata: 1:06:16 - 1st - CR
Apr. 29: Challenge Meet in Kumagaya, Saitama:
            1500 m Heat 10: 3:54.31 - 5th
            5000 m Heat 5: 14:23.69 - 1st
May 3: Asagiriko Half Marathon, Ehime: 1:07:23 - 1st
May 4: Kasukabe Otako Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:07:03 - 1st
May 5: Toyohiragawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido: 1:09:23 - 1st
May 10: Sendai International Half Marathon, Miyagi: 1:08:36 - 30th
May 17: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:06:16 - 24th
May 24: Kurobe Meisui Marathon, Toyama: 2:17:58 - 1st - CR
June 6: Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships 5000 m: 14:52.62 - 1st
June 7: Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships 1500 m:
            Heat 2: 3:59.47 - 2nd
            Final: 4:03.05 - 8th
June 13: Megamiko Cup Ekiden Third Stage (2.3 km), Nagano: 6:33 - 1st
June 14: Venus Half Marathon, Nagano: 1:10:39 - 1st
June 21: Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, Shimane: 2:48:23 - 1st
June 27: Okushiri Moonlight Half Marathon, Hokkaido: 1:05:04 - 1st
July 5: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia: 2:16:23 - 8th
July 12: Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet:
            1500 m B-heat: 3:51.99 - 5th
            5000 m B-heat: 14:20.56 - 33rd
July 26: Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race, Hokkaido: 1:35:08 - 1st
Aug. 7: Towada Hachimantai Ekiden Fourth Stage (16.4 km), Akita: 51:32 - 6th
Aug. 16: Hoppo Ryodo Nosappu Misaki Half Marathon, Hokkaido: 1:07:01 - 1st
Aug. 30: Perth City to Surf Marathon, Australia: 2:16:23 - 1st
Sept. 6: Nijuken Doro Half Marathon, Hokkaido: 1:05:32 - 1st
Sept. 20: Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, South Africa: 2:16:33 - 9th
Oct. 11: Kitakami Marathon, Iwate: 2:13:21 - 1st - CR
Oct. 18: Takashimadaira Road Race 20 km, Tokyo: 1:00:57 - 1st
Nov. 1: TCS New York City Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:13:29 - 6th
Nov. 15: Ageo City Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:03:11 - 5th
Dec. 6: Fukuoka International Marathon, Fukuoka: 2:12:48 - 8th
Dec. 20: Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, Yamaguchi: 2:12:24 - 2nd
Dec. 31: Bitburger Silvesterlauf 8 km, Germany: 24:24 - 21st

text and photo © 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Scott Brown said…
Anything I thought I knew about marathon running has been shattered by Yuki K so it would be foolish to bet against him. Just wish him and Japan Running News all the best for 2016. Happy New Year!!

Most-Read This Week

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

Nakamoto and Kawauchi to Run Boston

Japan's Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) will run the 2018 Boston Marathon as part of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team. Kawauchi holds world records for everything from most career sub-2:12 marathons to most sub-2:20, while Nakamoto is Japan's best championships marathoner of modern times with four top 10 finishes at the Olympics and World Championships.

Longtime rivals, their duel at the 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon was one of the classics of Japanese marathoning, both running sub-2:09 PBs as Kawauchi set a still-standing course record of 2:08:15. The pair has a 3-3 record in the marathon so far, their most recent meeting coming at last summer's London World Championships where Kawauchi ran Nakamoto down in the last kilometer to take 9th. Boston will be their 7th and likely final face-off.

Our 2018 #BostonMarathon International Elite Field includes 46 of the world’s best marathoners from 13 countries. Watch to see the …

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…