Skip to main content

Weekend Track Highlights

by Brett Larner

Although many events in Kyushu were cancelled as a series of major earthquakes and aftershocks hit the Kumamoto and Oita areas, track season went ahead as usual in the rest of Japan despite high winds and rain that kept times relatively slow.  Some highlights at home and abroad:
  • Former Sera H.S. ace Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel) delivered the fastest 5000 m of the weekend, running 13:40.34 to win the Chugoku Corporate Time Trials meet's fastest heat.  High schooler Joel Mwaura (Kurashiki H.S.) was the only other runner under 14 minutes, running 13:48.20 for 2nd.
  • The lone entrant in the women's 5000 m at the Chugoku meet, Sera's Yuka Mukai ran a solo 15:58.62.
  • Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) was the only Japanese man to break 14 over the weekend, winning Friday's Oregon Relays 5000 m in 13:45.39.
  • Masaru Aoki (Team Kanebo) narrowly missed joining him, running 14:00.47 to win the Challenge Meet in Kumagaya 5000 m A-heat.
  • 17-year-old Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.), Japan's top current high schooler, won the 3000 m in Kumagaya in 8:06.29 over Kenyans Stanley Siteki (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) and Willy Kipselem (Team Hitachi Butsuryu).
  • Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) delivered Kumagaya's fastest women's 3000 m, running 9:19:12.
  • In nearby Gunma, Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) ran 9:23.50 to win the Gunma Prefecture Championships Women's 3000 m.
  • Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 6th in Kumagaya's 1500 m A-heat, running 3:59.70 for 6th.
© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

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…

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

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
           …