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World Record Breaker Jepkosgei Leads Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

In its seventh edition the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon celebrates its promotion to its new status as the only IAAF gold label half marathon in Japan with a move a month earlier to a hopefully cooler mid-April date.  Newly-crowned women's half marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya) leads the women's entries for what should be an easy win should she actually run another half marathon three weeks after breaking the world record.  Mimi Belete (Bahrain) and London World Championships marathon team member Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only other women in the field with recent sub-70 times, Belete with a 1:09:15 earlier this year in Verona and Ando with a 1:09:51 at the 2015 Sanyo Ladies Road Race.  Ando's London teammate Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) is also on the short women's list rounded out by Sara Hall (U.S.A.), Belaynesh Oljira (Ethiopia), Lillian Partridge (Great Britain) and formerly Japan-based Philes Ongori (Kenya).

2015 Marugame Half winner Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta) and countryman Kenneth Keter (Kenya) top the men's field with recent sub-60 times, Kuira having won his debut in Marugame in 59:47 and Keter having run 59:48 at last year's Venlo Half.  Six other Africans led by 2015 Gifu winner James Rungaru (Team Chuo Hatsujo) come in with sub-61 times.  Just missing the mark, former Hakone Ekiden star Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta) is the top-ranked Japanese man at 1:01:04, with London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) further down the list at 1:02:55.

7th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Elite Field
Gifu, 4/23/17
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Women
Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya) - 1:04:52 (Prague 2017)
Mimi Belete (Bahrain) - 1:09:15 (Verona 2017)
Yuka Ando (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:09:51 (Sanyo 2015)
Sara Hall (U.S.A.) - 1:10:07 (Houston 2016)
Belaynesh Oljira (Ethiopia) - 1:10:08 (Delhi 2014)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:31 (Valencia 2016)
Lillian Partridge (Great Britain) - 1:10:32 (Reading 2015)
Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 1:12:15 (Ras al Khaimah 2015)

Men
Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 59:47 (Marugame 2015)
Kenneth Keter (Kenya) - 59:48 (Venlo 2016)
James Rungaru (Kenya/Chuo Hatsujo) - 1:00:12 (Nice 2015)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:30 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2015)
Bernard Kipyego (Kenya) - 1:00:38 (Porto 2014)
Goitom Kifle (Eritrea) - 1:00:49 (Marugame 2016)
Joel Mwaura (Kenya/Kurosaki Harima) - 1:00:59 (Marugame 2017)
Alexander Mutiso (Kenya/ND Software) - 1:00:59 (Ichinoseki 2016)
Daichi Kamino (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:01:04 (Marugame 2017)
Paul Pollock (Ireland) - 1:02:46 (Cardiff World Champs 2016)
Melaku Abera (Ethiopia) - 1:02:47 (Oita 2015)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:55 (Ageo 2014)
Yonas Mebrahtu (U.S.A.) - 1:02:59 (Philadelphia 2014)
Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 1:03:02 (Philadelphia 2014)
Roman Fosti (Estonia) - 1:05:21 (Ostia 2017)

© 2017 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…