Skip to main content

Kawauchi Breaks World Record for Half Marathon in a Suit by 18 Minutes

by Brett Larner


A week after his Olympic dreams ended with a 2:11:53 finish at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) took to the streets of his hometown of Kuki, Saitama to run the Kuki Half Marathon.  A special guest of race organizers, Kawauchi treated local fans by portraying his role as the Civil Servant Runner in a literal way, running the race wearing a full suit including tie, vest, belt and dress socks.


The official Guinness World Record for a half marathon in a suit is 1:24:41 by American Gihan Amarasiriwardena last December.  Dueling with his longtime friend and rival Saeki Makino (DNPL), runners from Heisei Kokusai University and his younger brothers Yoshiki and Koki, Kawauchi ran 1:06:42 for 3rd behind Makino and one HKU runner.  "Kuki isn't a certified course, so this won't be an official Guinness World Record," Kawauchi told JRN post-race.  "But I'm glad that I could break the Guinness World Record unofficially.  I got pretty sweaty and tired out there, but the people along the course loved it."


Race organizers also set up a display of Kawauchi's bib numbers from his races around the world to showcase a local boy's achievements for his fans. Two bibs from his youngest brother Koki also made the display.


Left two columns, top to bottom: "From Hakone to the World."
  • 2011 Daegu World Championships, South Korea
  • 2012 Kavarna World Half Marathon Championships, Bulgaria
  • 2013 Moscow World Championships, Russia
  • 2014 Incheon Asian Games, South Korea
  • 2007 and 2009 Hakone Ekiden, Japan
 Third column, top to bottom: "America and Africa"
  • 2013, 2014 and 2015 New York City Marathon, U.S.A.
  • 2015 Cape Town Marathon, South Africa
  • 2013 Luxor Marathon, Egypt
Fourth column, top to bottom: "Australia"
  • 2013, 2014 and 2015 Gold Coast Marathon
  • 2012 Sydney Marathon
  • 2014 City to Surf Perth Marathon
  • 2013 Melbourne Marathon
Fifth and sixth columns: "Europe and Asia"
  • 2015 Zurich Marathon, Switzerland
  • 2014 Hamburg Marathon, Germany
  • 2013 Great North Run half marathon, U.K.
  • 2014 Athens Classic Marathon (Koki Kawauchi), Greece
  • 2015 Ankor Empire Marathon (Koki Kawauchi), Cambodia
  • 2015 Bitburger Silvesterlauf 8 km, Germany
  • 2013 Seoul Marathon, South Korea
  • 2012 Dusseldorf Marathon, Germany
  • 2013 San Silvestre Vallecana 10 km, Spain
  • 2014 Cursa dels Nassos 10 km, Spain
Kawauchi's next addition to that board comes next weekend at Taiwan's New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
I wish I were fast enough to attempt something so funny!

Most-Read This Week

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…