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Kawauchi Outruns 103 Teams to Win Yashio Isshu Ekiden



2017 London World Championships marathon 9th-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) gave local club and high school runners something to remember when he ran Sunday's Yashio Shinai Isshu Ekiden solo against 103 six-runner teams. Kawauchi spent most of the 20.0 km race in 2nd, briefly taking the lead at the end of the 3.9 km Second Stage before falling behind after a Third Stage course record run by Kotaro Minowa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.).

Down 13 seconds, Kawauchi came back to split a time 14 seconds faster for the 2.7 km Fifth Stage than its fastest ekiden runner, Yusei Otsuki (Kasukabe H.S. A). Now ahead of Matsudo and out front alone, Kawauchi saved his biggest running for last, dropping a 2:40 final km to split 14 seconds under the 12:34 course record for the 4.0 km anchor stage. Desperate to catch him, Matsudo anchor Shunsuke Matsui went 6 seconds under the old record to become its official new holder but couldn't match Kawauchi's closing speed.

Kawauchi's final time of 1:01:03 was just 35 seconds off the overall ekiden course record, a solid performance kicking off three straight weeks of ekiden action ahead of his runs for the Saitama Prefectural Government at next weekend's Okumusashi Ekiden and the Saitama Ekiden a week later.

53rd Yashio Shinai Isshu Ekiden

Yashio, Saitama, 1/21/18
103 teams + 1 solo runner, 6 stages, 20.0 km
click here for complete results

Top Overall Results
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:01:03
2. Matsudo Track and Field Association - 1:01:24
3. Kasukabe H.S. A - 1:01:55

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage - 4.3 km
1. Tomohiro Ono (Yashio ST) - 12:40 - CR
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 12:46
3. Takashi Mino (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 12:48

Second Stage - 3.8 km
1. Kohei Uchigi (Kasukabe H.S. A) - 11:37
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 11:46
3. Satoshi Ikezawa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 11:52

Third Stage - 2.9 km
1. Kotaro Minowa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 8:40 - CR
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 9:01
3. Ryosuke Kaneda (Senshu Prep Matsudo H.S.) - 9:03

Fourth Stage - 2.3 km
1. Junichiro Hayashida (Senshu Prep Matsudo H.S.) - 7:04
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 7:09
3. Koji Someya (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 7:12

Fifth Stage - 2.7 km
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 8:01
2. Yusei Otsuki (Kasukabe H.S. A) - 8:15
3. Masatatsu Chikyu (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 8:24

Sixth Stage - 4.0 km
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 12:20 (CR)
2. Shunsuke Matsui (Matsudo T&F Assoc.) - 12:28 - CR
3. Hyogo Kojima (Kasukabe H.S. A) - 12:33

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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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.

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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
           …