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Kawauchi Makes Catalan Debut at Barcelona's Cursa dels Nassos

Yuki Kawauchi ran the New Year's Eve Cursa dels Nassos 10 km in Barcelona with support from JRN and the Zurich Marat√≥ Barcelona.  Local media covered his appearance heavily.

Race expo appearance:



Profile and interview:


Kawauchi ran in the lead group through 4 km before a twisted ankle forced him to drop back. He ultimately finished 12th in 30:30.  Moroccan Illias Fifa won in 28:57, with Spain's Lidia Rodriguez Sierra winning the women's race in 32:47.

Complete race footage:


News report:



Another news report:



Click here for other TV news reports, official race photos and more.

2014 Cursa dels Nassos 10 km
Barcelona, Spain, 12/31/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Illias Fifa (Morocco) - 28:57
2. Carles Castillejo (Spain) - 29:10
3. Abdelaziz Merzoughi (Spain) - 29:17
4. Ibrahim Ezzaydouni (Spain) - 29:19
5. Driss Lakhouaja (Spain) - 29:24
-----
12. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 30:30

Women
1. Lidia Rodriguez Sierra (Spain) - 32:47
2. Jacqueline Martin (Spain) -…

Only Komazawa Can Beat Komazawa - 2015 Hakone Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner
follow @JRNLive for live coverage of the 2015 Hakone Ekiden on Jan. 2 and 3



If you've never seen the Hakone Ekiden it's hard to really understand what you're missing.  It's what the sport of running should be.  Utterly gripping, pure and dedicated racing from 21 teams of ten university men each totally focused on running to their absolute limit on their share of the ten-stage, 217.1 km road relay.  A live broadcast that skillfully brings every nuance of the format, the strategy involved in the team order, the multiple story lines and races-within-races instead of just whoever is in front, to the tens of millions of avid fans across the country who watch every year.  Every runner counts, every runner gets his screen time, his moment of recognition for giving his best.  To give anything less would be to sacrifice everyone else's gifts.  One for all, all for one.

Komazawa University comes to the 91st running of Japan's biggest sporting event with al…

A Battle of Past Champions - 2015 New Year Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner

The New Year Ekiden national championship road relay is the raison d'√™tre for Japan's corporate league men, the key race around which the entire year revolves.  37 teams battle it out over 100 km divided into 7 stages with a 6 1/2 hour live nationwide broadcast to millions of fans.  Most of the top corporate men in Japan, both Japanese and African, will be there, and you can follow highlights of the action via @JRNLive.

Two-time defending champion Konica Minolta comes in strong.  Stronger than ever, in fact, with a major boost from rookie Keita Shitara, sub-28 and sub-62 while at Toyo University where he won the 2014 Hakone Ekiden's uphill Fifth Stage before graduating this year.  Konica's chances largely rest on the recovery of star Tsuyoshi Ugachi from the Fukuoka International Marathon earlier this month, his third marathon in his first year taking on the distance.

Ready to take over from Konica Minolta is 2012 winner Nissin Shokuhin.  Already featur…

The Top Ten Japanese Men of 2014

by Brett Larner
click here for Japanese women's 2014 rankings

There was a lot to like in Japanese men's distance running this year, from national records for 3000 m and 50 km and a sensational Hakone Ekiden win to six men sub-28 to a dozen sub-14 high schoolers to university men breaking 61 minutes in the half marathon to ten men running sub-2:10 marathons a total of eleven times.  Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) continued to define his own category, setting a Japanese record with his seventh and eighth career sub-2:10 marathons on the way to totalling thirteen marathons for the year, going sub-2:20 in all of them to break Doug Kurtis' record of twelve.  All of it happening with record-setting depth at all levels, a reflection of how much motivation the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bring to the country's runners.

In preparation for Tokyo the Japanese Federation began a move to close ranks by establishing a National Team training program for its top Olympic marathon conte…

The Top Ten Japanese Women of 2014

by Brett Larner
click here for 2014 men's rankings

Back in 2010 JRN interviewedTsutomu Akiyama, one of the people originally responsible for bringing Kenyans into the high school and collegiate running circuits.  One of the topics at the time was the then-recent move towards restricting non-Japanese athletes to the shortest stages in ekidens to minimize their impact on the races, and in particular the implications for women's running, where at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden African athletes run only 3.6 km instead of the longest stage, 10.9 km, where all the best Japanese athletes run.  At the time Akiyama said,
"That kind of idea of restricting runners is incredibly wrong. It’s going to lead to a weaker environment for Japanese women. If we bring a slower runner from Kenya and they train together with the Japanese runners, all the Japanese runners will get stronger from having a more competitive attitude. With just a 3 km stage it’s the same thing as saying, “…

13 in '14: Kawauchi On the Edge of Uncharted Territory

by Brett Larner

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) came into 2014 off a legendary year that saw him set 3 world records, running 2:09 marathons 14 days apart, 2:08 marathons 42 days apart and 4 sub-2:10 marathons within one calendar year.  His main goals for 2014 were clear enough: a sub-2:08 and a gold medal at October's Asian Games.  And, not content with 11 marathons last year, this year he turned it up to 13, going sub-2:20 in all of them to surpass American great Doug Kurtis' best of 12. Italian Giorgio Calcaterra ran 16 sub 2:20 marathons in 2000, but only 6 were sub-2:17.  All 13 of Kawauchi's cleared 2:17, 9 of them faster than Calcaterra's 2000 best of 2:13:15.


Kawauchi started off with the race he identified as his best of the year, a solo 2:10:14 course record at the amateur-level Kumamoto-jo Marathon without pacers, competitors or special drinks.  Running by feel he went far faster than planned, an effort that he paid for 2 weeks later at the Lake Biwa …