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Weekend Overseas Track Results

Two top international meets over the weekend featured some of Japan's best track athletes. Women's 10000 m year leader Yuka Takashima (Team Shiseido) ran in the Netherlands' FBK Games on Saturday. Far off the 31:33.33 PB she set last month at the Payton Jordan meet in California, Takashima managed only 33:08.76 for 12th of 13 finishers nearly two and a half minutes behind Ethiopian winner Gelete Burka's world-leading 30:40.87.

Racing for the first time since his debut at April's Boston Marathon, Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) ran the 5000 m Sunday at the Portland Track Festival. Clearing 13:30 for the first time since his Japanese national record two years ago, Osako was 3rd in 13:25.56 just over two seconds behind Kirubel Erassa (U.S.A.) and Morgan McDonald (Australia).

Still three seconds shy of the 13:22.60 qualifying standard for August's London World Championships, Osako's performance means that at the time of writing the only Japanese man with a London qualifying mark at a distance between 200 m and the marathon is 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) with a 27:44.39 last November at the Hachioji Long Distance meet.

FBK Games
Hengelo, Netherlands, 6/10/17
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Gelete Burka (Ethiopia) - 30:40.87
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 30:41.68
3. Belaynesh Oljira (Ethiopia) - 30:44.57
4. Dera Dida (Ethiopia) - 30:56.48
5. Rahma Tusa (Ethiopia) - 31:05.14
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12. Yuka Takashima (Japan/Shiseido) - 33:08.76

Portland Track Festival
Portland, U.S.A., 6/11/17
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m High Performance
1. Kirubel Erassa (U.S.A.) - 13:23.12
2. Morgan McDonald (Australia) - 13:23.28
3. Suguru Osako (Japan/Nike Oregon Project) - 13:25.56
4. Trevor Dunbar (U.S.A.) - 13:26.27
5. Tommy Curtin (U.S.A.) - 13:26.55

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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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…

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
           …

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…