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Kawauchi 1:04:44 Course Record at Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon

by Brett Larner



A week after running 1:03:06, the fourth-best time of his career, at the Ageo City Half Marathon, indy ace Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in action with a 1:04:44 course record at the 4th edition of the Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon in Kawagoe, Saitama.  Running against a pack of second-tier men from Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University, Kawauchi was alone by halfway to win by more than a minute over Toyo's Takaki Omuro, whose PB of 1:05:54 for 2nd improved on the 1:06:28 PB he had set a week earlier in Ageo. 

Kawauchi's time took 49 seconds off the record set last year by fellow independent Sho Matsumoto and put him in good position for next weekend's Fukuoka International Marathon, where Kawauchi will shoot for 2:07 and a place on the Japanese team for next year's Asian Games marathon.

4th Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon
Kawagoe, Saitama, 11/24/13

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:44 - CR
2. Takaki Omuro (Toyo Univ.) - 1:05:54 - PB
3. Tatsuya Shimizu (Toyo Univ.) - 1:05:58
4. Koji Yoshimura (Toyo Univ.) - 1:06:36
5. Kenji Takano (Toyo Univ.) - 1:07:01

Women
1. Konoka Azumi - 1:29:37

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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.

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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
           …