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Matsumoto, Shimizu and Yoshizumi Feature in New Taipei City Marathon

by Brett Larner


Along with the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the National University Half Marathon Championships and other domestic action, this weekend, one overseas features noteworthy elite Japanese athletes. In pursuit of an IAAF bronze label and the goal of becoming one of Asia’s premier spring marathons the New Taipei City Wanjinshi International Marathon has expanded its international field this year to include runners from nine countries, among them independents Sho Matsumoto and Yuri Yoshizumi, both running with support from JRN, and corporate league runner Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki).  A surprise addition to the field is Hokkaido Marathon course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), appearing via race sponsor Mizuno.

Three men in the field have bests under 2:09, Gudisa Shentema (Ethiopia), Hassane Ahouchar (Morocco) and Paul Kosgei (Kenya), but with none of them having approached that level in the last three years the favorite is likely David Kiprono (Kenya) with a 2:12:53 best from the 2012 Debno Marathon. Close behind is Matsumoto in 2:13:38 at last year’s Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon. Matsumoto hopes to break 2:13 for the first time, a time that should put him in contention for the win, but given the overall level of the field and the race organizers’ ambitions there's no doubt the modest 2:19:13 course record is up for serious revision no matter what happens.

Shoko Shimizu adds Japan 's piece to the puzzle of nations.

Likewise in the women’s race, where the entire field of nine elites is well under the 2:38:18 course record set last year. It looks like a very close-matched race between top three Tigisit Abidi Sheni (Ethiopia), Jeannette Faber (U.S.A.) and Shimizu, all of whom have run 2:32 within the last year and a half. Yoshizumi, the 2012 Hokkaido Marathon winner and a pure amateur who has said she hopes to become the Yuki Kawauchi of Japanese women’s marathoning, has the softest PB in the field but hopes for a breakthrough performance in her first major race of 2014.  Shimahara is returning from giving birth in 2012 and hopes to use New Taipei as a gauge of her progress.

New Taipei City International Marathon Elite Field
Taipei, Taiwan, 3/2/14

Men
Gudisa Shentema (Ethiopia) – 2:07:34 (Paris 2008)
Hassane Ahouchar (Morocco) – 2:08:47 (Valencia 2011)
Paul Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:09:00 (Carpi 2010)
David Kiprono (Kenya) – 2:12:53 (Debno 2012)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) – 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Wilson Kibet (Kenya) – 2:15:42 (Ahmedabad 2013)
Nourdine Jalal (France) – 2:14:23 (La Rochelle 2011)
Chia-Che Chang (Taiwan) – 2:15:56 (Pyongyang 2012)
Ri Yong Ho (North Korea) – 2:16:00 (Pyongyang 2013)

Women
Kiyoko Shimahara (Japan/Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido 2009)
Tigisit Abidi Sheni (Ethiopia) – 2:32:34 (Zurich 2013)
Jeannette Faber (U.S.A.) – 2:32:37 (Twin Cities 2012)
Shoko Shimizu (Japan/Team Aichi Denki) – 2:32:43 (Tokyo 2013)
Tinbit Gidey Weidegebriel (Ethiopia) – 2:34:43 (Twin Cities 2012)
Ji Hyang Kim (North Korea) – 2:35:30 (Pyongyang 2013)
Gum Hui Rim (North Korea) – 2:37:17 (Pyongyang 2013)
Tigist Worku Neri (Ethiopia) – 2:37:28 (Bucharest 2013)
Jane Fardell (Australia) – 2:37:35 (Paris 2013)
Yuri Yoshizumi (Japan/Osaka T&F Assoc.) – 2:37:56 (Hokkaido 2013)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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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
           …

Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


The Fukuoka International Marathon was held on Dec. 4 last year. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) took part despite nursing injuries he had sustained in training. Falling rain contributed to less than ideal conditions during the race, but from the very early stages…