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

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…