Skip to main content

Kawauchi Takes Over Three Minutes Off Own 50 km National Record at Okinoshima Ultra

by Brett Larner

Continuing a season that seems to show him returning to his best form, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) took over three minutes off his own national record as he won the hilly Okinoshima Ultramarathon's 50 km division in 2:44:07.  Run on the island where Kawauchi's late father was born, the Okinoshima Ultra is a Father's Day fixture on Kawauchi's calendar.  The course features a relatively flat first 10 km, three 100 m+ tall ups and downs between 10 and 30 km, and an undulating last 20 km capped by one more major hill with 5 km to go.


"The weather conditions were better than usual, so I decided to go for the course record," Kawauchi told JRN post-race.  Where he has typically opened the first 10 km in 33-34 minutes in past years, this year he went out red-hot, splitting 31:07, 2:11 marathon pace, before hitting the hills.  Over the next 20 km he was slightly slower than in the last two years, but even so with a 1:38:21 split at 30 km projecting to a 2:43:55 finish he was just off pace to hit the world record of 2:43:38.  "Mid-race it got sunny and the wind came up, so it got much tougher," Kawauchi said.


The hills and weather kept the world record just out of reach, but Kawauchi's 2:44:07, 2:18:30 marathon pace, still marked a massive improvement on his 2:47:27 national record two years ago in Okinoshima.  Only two people have ever run faster, South Africa's Thompson Magawana with a 2:43:38 split in the 56 km Two Oceans ultra and American Josh Cox with a 2:43:45 at the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon where Cox ran to a local track after finishing the marathon and ran laps until he had covered 50 km, a mark recognized by USATF as a national record but not considered by others to have been run in a bona fide competition.  "To be honest, it would be very hard to get the world record on this course," Kawauchi said.  "I think I'd like to go for it at Lake Saroma."


At last year's Okinoshima Kawauchi's younger brother Yoshiki Kawauchi made his 100 km debut, suffering home mightily in 11:21:52.  A year older and wiser, Yoshiki returned this year to win the 100 km division in 7:20:31.  It's not every day that you get to run a four-hour PB.  Given the toughness of the 100 km course's hills it's a time that puts him close to national team level if he ever decides to run the fast Lake Saroma course where both the current men's and women's 100 km world records were set.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…