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JRN's Top Ten Most-Read Articles of 2016

From Farah to Fukushi to Kawauchi, Ageo to Hakone to New York and back, JRN's ten most-read articles of the year.


1. Kawauchi Breaks World Record for Half Marathon in a Suit by 18 Minutes - Mar. 13
A week after running 2:11:53 at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran his hometown Kuki Half Marathon dressed in his work clothes, a full three-piece suit including tie, belt and dress socks.  Kawauchi ran 1:06:42 for 3rd to beat the official Guinness World Record by 18 minutes, but because Kuki is not a certified course his time was not ratified as a new record.

2. Tsegay Over Makau for Fukuoka Win, Miracle-Worker Kawauchi 3rd - Dec. 4
2015 World Championships silver medalist Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) stopped former world record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya) from claiming a third-straight Fukuoka title.  Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) overcame injuries to both legs to take 3rd in one of the greatest performances of his career, all but guaranteeing himself a place on the 2017 London World Championships team.  Preview.

3. Mungara Downs Kawauchi By One Second, Horie Cracks Course Record at Gold Coast Airport Marathon - July 3
40+ world record holder Kenneth Mungara of Kenya raced Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) over the last 12 km of Australia's Gold Coast Marathon, getting the win by one second in 2:09:00 and Kawauchi scoring his first sub-2:10 in over a year and a half.  Misato Horie (Team Noritz) bettered 2015 Paris Marathon winner Meseret Biru and 2015 Frankfurt Marathon winner Gulume Chala of Ethiopia to take 37 seconds off the women's course record with a 2:26:40 PB win. Preview.

4. Mo Farah Scores Greatest Victory of His Career - Oct. 8
Gold medal collector Mo Farah (Great Britain) earned his greatest accolade to date, outperforming top Japanese models and comedians to win the Akasaka 5-Chome Mini Marathon, a 3.6 km race held around and through broadcaster TBS' studios as part of the fall 2016 edition of their All-Star Kanshasai variety show.  Farah overcame a 5:55 handicapped start to run down the last three comedians in the final few hundred meters.


5. Aoyama Gakuin University Leads Start to Finish to Win 2016 Hakone Ekiden - Jan. 3
Defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University became the first school in 39 years to lead the Hakone Ekiden start to finish as it won the world's biggest and best road race for a second-straight year.  Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) outran Aoyama Gakuin star Daiichi Kamino to win the uphill Fifth Stage, Hakone's most prestigious, and become its first-ever Kenyan winner. Day One results and report. Preview.

6. Kawauchi Scores First European Win at Snowy Zurich Marathon - Apr. 24
Immediately following Prince's untimely death his song "Sometimes it Snows in April" came true as 2015 runner-up Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) endured unexpected sleet and snow to win Switzerland's Zurich Marathon, his 25th win in 60 marathon starts.  2015 Zurich women's winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (YWC) fell victim to the conditions while leading and dropped out but was helped by a kindhearted spectator.  Preview.


7. An Honest Look at American Marathoning - Feb. 17
JRN attended the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, where Galen Rupp won the men's race in his marathon debut and Amy Cragg outran former and current teammates for the women's win.  JRN looked back at almost 50 years of world and American marathon history to understand where American marathoning is going.

8. Takeda Follows Osako as Fourth Man to Break 62 Minutes at Ageo City Half, Leading 197 Under 66 - Nov. 20
Waseda University fourth-year Rintaro Takeda won a five-way sprint finish on the track, passing Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) on the last corner to win one of the world's deepest half marathons in 1:01:59.  The top five, all students from different universities tuning up for January's Hakone Ekiden, all ran 1:02:05 or better. Takeda and Ueda earned invitations to March's United Airlines NYC Half Marathon.

9. Rotich Wins Wild Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Kitajima Leads Four Japanese Men Sub-2:10 in Chase for Rio - Mar. 6
Kenyan Lucas Rotich won a chaotic Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon that saw 19-year-old Ethiopian Shura Kitata more than 45 seconds ahead at 25 km.  Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) won a tense four-way battle for the top Japanese spot and a place on the Rio Olympic team, almost running Rotich down on the last lap of the track. Preview.

10. Japan Surpasses U.S. as World's Largest Amateur Marathon Market - Jan. 22
In 2015 more people finished marathons in Japan than in the United States, the first time since 1961 that the U.S. fell to 2nd worldwide in total marathon finishers.  Japan also led the world in the number of 10,000+ finisher marathons with 19 taking place in Japan in 2015, nearly half the worldwide total for the year.

Honorable mention: In the top 25 most-read, this article was JRN's best work of the year but didn't get the reads it deserved.

The Kayoko Show: Long-Term Consequences of Agonistic Interactions Between Lobsters, and the Osaka Women's Marathon - Jan. 28
An example of a model for neurophysiological changes underlying long-lasting psychological effects of winning and losing, and of the potential to manipulate those changes via performance-enhancing substances.

all photos and video © 2016 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
except Kawauchi suit half marathon photos

Comments

Steven Sherburn said…
The lobster story was my personal favourite.

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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…

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…

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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
           …