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Kawauchi Joins Elite Club of 11+ Sub-2:10 Marathoners

by Brett Larner

With his 2:09:54 at Sunday's Ehime Marathon Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) became the fifteenth runner in history to run sub-2:10 eleven times or more in his career.  The achievement puts him in distinguished company, including two marathon world record setters, seven Olympic marathon medalists, seven World Championships marathon medalists, three World Marathon Majors champions and eight winners of the six races now making up the World Marathon Majors.

Kawauchi is one of only three non-African athletes to make the list, one of four on the list without either an Olympic or World Championships medal or a win at one of the Big Six, one of four to have not broken 2:07, and, with a PB of 2:08:14, the only one who has not run sub-2:08.  A sub-2:08 PB and a World Championships medal remain the major goals of his career.

Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) - 16 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:04:38
  • 2013 World Marathon Majors champion
  • 1st, 2013 London Marathon
  • 1st, 2012 Chicago Marathon
  • 1st, 2010 London Marathon
  • bronze, 2009 Berlin World Championships
  • bronze, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 14 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:03:14
  • 2011 World Marathon Majors champion
  • 1st, 2011 London Marathon
  • silver, 2009 Berlin World Championships

Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) - 14 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:05:27
  • silver, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
  • gold, 2005 Helsinki World Championships
  • gold, 2003 Paris World Championships

Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 13 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:04:48
  • silver, 2015 Beijing World Championships

Feyisa Lelisa (Ethiopia) - 13 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:04:52
  • silver, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games
  • 1st, 2016 Tokyo Marathon
  • bronze, 2011 Daegu World Championships

Abdelkader El Mouaziz (Morocco) - 13 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:06:46
  • 1st, 2001 London Marathon
  • 1st, 2000 New York City Marathon
  • 1st, 1999 London Marathon

Stefano Baldini (Italy) - 13 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:07:22
  • gold, 2006 Goteborg European Championships
  • gold, 2004 Athens Olympic Games
  • bronze, 2003 Paris World Championships
  • bronze, 2001 Edmonton World Championships
  • gold, 1998 Budapest European Championships

Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 12 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:03:13
  • world record setter
  • 2014 World Marathon Majors champion
  • 1st, 2014 New York City Marathon
  • 1st, 2014 London Marathon
  • 1st, 2013 Berlin Marathon
  • bronze, 2012 London Olympic Games
  • 1st, 2012 London Marathon

Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 12 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:03:59
  • 2-time world record setter
  • 1st, 2009 Berlin Marathon
  • 1st, 2008 Berlin Marathon
  • 1st, 2007 Berlin Marathon
  • 1st, 2006 Berlin Marathon

Sammy Korir (Kenya) - 12 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:04:56

Bernard Kiprop (Kenya) - 12 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:06:19

Abel Kirui (Kenya) - 11 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:05:04
  • 1st, 2016 Chicago Marathon
  • silver, 2012 London Olympic Games
  • gold, 2011 Daegu World Championships
  • gold, 2009 Berlin World Championships

Benson Barus (Kenya) - 11 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:07:07

Bong-ju Lee (South Korea) - 11 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:07:20
  • gold, 2002 Busan Asian Games
  • 1st, 2001 Boston Marathon
  • gold, 1998 Bangkok Asian Games
  • silver, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games

Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 11 times sub-2:10
  • PB: 2:08:14
  • bronze, 2014 Incheon Asian Games

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Brett Larner said…
Additions and corrections welcome.
Ange said…
So who was the youngest I am wondering...
TokyoRacer said…
Thanks, very interesting. Uh, Benson Barus?
Brett Larner said…
Yes, Benson made the list too.

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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…