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Kawauchi Voted 3rd-Placer in Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI


an Abbott World Marathon Majors press release

The Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI Champions were officially crowned in London following the conclusion of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon. Tim Hadzima, General Manager of the Abbott World Marathon Majors said: “It has been another sensational series for Abbott World Marathon Majors. We started in London with a women’s world record from Mary Keitany in 2017 and continued with some astonishing races in each of our six cities.”

Eliud Kipchoge won his third consecutive AbbottWMM title after winning the 2017 BMW Berlin Marathon and the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon to give him 50 points. Second behind Kipchoge was his fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui with 41 points. Kirui won 25 points with victory at the 2017 IAAF World Championships Marathon and added 16 more with second in the 2018 Boston Marathon.

In third was Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi with 25 points after his victory in the 2018 Boston Marathon. Kawauchi was tied in joint third by Daniel Wanjiru (KEN), Galen Rupp (USA), Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) and Dickson Chumba (KEN), which triggered a vote by the six AbbottWMM race directors to decide who would be named in third place, Kawauchi’s amazing victory in Boston, in a race that also contained Kirui and Rupp, was enough to give him the decision.

In the elite women’s competition, Kenya’s Mary Keitany was confirmed champion after victory in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon and second place in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Keitany finished level on 41 points with Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) but her win over Dibaba in London in 2017 means she wins on a head-to-head comparison.

Dibaba takes second place, while Brigid Kosgei was awarded third place, again on a race director’s vote. Kosgei was second in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and second in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon, drawing her level with Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga but winning the race director’s vote after besting Keitany and Dibaba in London this year.

In the wheelchair series, we saw dominant performances from two Swiss athletes across the year. Marcel Hug (SUI) won his second consecutive AbbottWMM men’s wheelchair series with 100 points following wins in Berlin, Chicago, New York City and Boston. David Weir (GBR) finished in second after winning both the 2017 and 2018 Virgin Money London Marathons for 50 points, with Ernst Van Dyk (SOU) in third on 33 points.

Manuela Schär (SUI) became women’s wheelchair champion with 100 points after wins in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, TCS New York City Marathon and 2018 Tokyo Marathon. Second was Tatyana McFadden on 98 points after winning the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, taking second in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, second at the 2018 Tokyo Marathon, winning the 2018 Boston Marathon and finishing second in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon. Amanda McGrory finished third with 45 points after finishing second in London in 2017, second in Chicago in 2017, third in New York City in 2017 and fourth in Tokyo in 2018.

Hadzima added: “The racing showed the very best of world class marathon running and wheelchair racing, while we also celebrated all of our champions who followed behind our elite athletes, especially those who completed their journey to becoming Six Star Finishers. “We are excited for the start of Series XII in Berlin and to see how the elite competitions will unfold once more.” Series XII begins on 16 September 2018 at the BMW Berlin Marathon.

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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…

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
           …