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Weekend Road Racing in Review

by Brett Larner
Sakamoto photo c/o Yichen Ding

The 100th Japanese National Track and Field Championships were the weekend's main event, but there was no shortage of road racing action at home and abroad.  The Hakodate Half Marathon was the most major, this year featuring the addition of a full marathon division for the first time.  2015 Marugame Half Marathon winner Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) took another Japanese half title, pushing through rain and winds for the win in 1:03:14 over a small pack including Charles Ndungu (Komori Corp.), defending champion Michael Githae (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta).  Just a week after setting the 50 km national record, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) pushed up through the field late in the race to pass ten people in the last 5 km for 5th overall in 1:04:24.  Sayo Nomura (Daiichi Seimei) took the women's half in 1:13:02, while Tokyo-based amateur Takehiko Gyoba became Hakodate's first marathon champ in 2:26:54.

Across the island of Hokkaido the Lake Saroma Ultramarathon was also going down in similarly tough conditions.  Tatsuya Inagaki (Mishima RC) took the men's 100 km title in 6:37:05, with Hisayo Matsumoto (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) outrunning Mai Fujisawa (Sapporo Excel AC) by less than three minutes for the women's 100 km win in 7:39:51.

Nearby in northeastern China, 2015 Zurich Marathon winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.) ran in the first edition of the Jilin International Marathon with support from JRN.  Following up on a season that saw her DNS at January's Osaka International Women's Marathon when her children came down with the flu, DNS a few weeks later in Tokyo when she herself came down with the flu, and DNF in freezing rain while leading during her title defense in Zurich in April, Sakamoto finally put it all together to take 4th in 2:37:57.  Kenyans Agnes Barsosio and Sylvester Teimet won in 2:34:15 and 2:14:23.

In Europe, 2015 Gold Coast Airport Marathon winner Risa Takenaka replicated Sakamoto's result with a 4th-place finish in 1:12:53 in hot conditions at the Czech Republic's Olomouc Half Marathon.  The great Mary Keitany (Kenya) won in 1:08:53, while Kenyan Olympic marathoner Stanley Biwott won the men's race in a solid 1:00:46.

Sakamoto photo © 2016 Yichen Ding, all rights reserved
text © 2016 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Lavues said…
All runners are so amazing!

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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…