Skip to main content

Top Three Break Course Record at Yaizu Minato Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Kawauchi on the podium.

Despite windy conditions, times were fast across the board at the 27th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon in Shizuoka prefecture, a race deep in university competition.  The top three men cracked the fourteen-year-old course record of 1:03:54, two of them in the university division including winner Yusuke Ota (Nittai Univ.) who set a new overall CR of 1:03:42, Meiji University's winning team set a record for the combined times of the top two runners from the school in Yaizu's unique National University Pair Marathon Championships division, and just a week after a loss in a 10-miler against Toyo University ace Yuta Shitara, marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) came up 2nd overall again with a new general division course record of 1:03:48.

Kawauchi's participation was unannounced, and when he appeared on the start line a murmur among the university runners quickly grew into an ovation from the mass runners as word spread.    Ota, Kawauchi and eventual 3rd-placer Tomoyasu Matsui (Meiji Univ.) set off together from the gun, already with a gap over the rest of the field by 3 km.  The trio pushed each throughout the race, with Ota surging to pull away in the final kilometers and Kawauchi outkicking Matsui by two seconds.  All three broke the course record, but the entire field was also quick as nineteen men broke 66 minutes, the most ever at Yaizu.

The top three finishers in each division received a supply of locally-caught skipjack tuna, with Meiji's duo of Matsui and Ryo Ishima receiving an entire maguro tuna as a bonus for the Pair Marathon Championships course record.  In post-race podium comments Kawauchi said, "This was a flat, fast course and I was happy to run here.  I'll be back next year."  Asked about what comes next he replied, "I'll be aiming to run a fast time in Dusseldorf at the end of the month."  Before that, he will pace his younger brother's marathon debut at next week's Kasumigaura Marathon in Ibaraki prefecture.

27th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon
Yaizu, Shizuoka, 4/8/12
click here for complete results

Men
1. Yusuke Ota (Nittai Univ.) - 1:03:42 - CR
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:03:48 (CR)
3. Tomoyasu Matsui (Meiji Univ.) - 1:03:52 (CR)
4. Ryo Ishima (Meiji Univ.) - 1:04:05
5. Naoki Inoue (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:11
6. Shunsuke Yuji (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:15
7. Norihiko Matsuda (Hosei Univ.) - 1:04:25
8. Soji Takahashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:25
9. Yuichi Okutani (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:04:46
10. Ko Takagi (Meiji Univ.) - 1:04:52

Women
1. Natsuki Kato (Honda RC) - 1:20:34

Pair Marathon Championships
1. Meiji Univ. - 2:07:57 - CR
2. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 2:08:36
3. Komazawa Univ. - 2:09:54

text and photos (c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

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…

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…

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
           …