The major marathon season has been over for more than a month but that doesn’t mean that Japanese marathoning sensation Yuki Kawauchi will stop. He’s four marathons in the past 40 days (also his 12 in 2017) and clocked his third-fastest of the year this past weekend with a 2:10:03 at a marathon in Hofu. That comes just two weeks after he ran 2:10:53 at the Fukoka Marathon. From some photos from the race, you can see just how much he wanted to crack 2:10 in the last few kilometers. Kawauchi is arguably the biggest grinder in the sport.
His season’s best for 2017 is 2:09:18 from a third-place finish at a marathon at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. Assuming that an American marathoner doesn’t come out of the blue and pops a 2:08, then the fastest marathon of the year for a U.S. runner will be Galen Rupp’s 2:09:20 personal best from his win at the Chicago Marathon.
Yes, that was a cool moment for U.S. distance running but the time is definitely not as impressive given other performances that we’ve seen around the world and even in the United States. The fastest marathon run on U.S. soil for 2017 appears to be Lawrence Cherono’s 2:08:27 course record at the Honolulu Marathon in December. Rupp’s time doesn’t even crack the top 100 for 2017. As of Dec. 18, it sits at No. 107. The U.S. hasn’t had a top 100 time to finish the year since Meb Keflezighi’s 2:08:37 from his 2014 Boston Marathon win.
Back to Kawauchi for another second, he’s run under 2:10 twice in 2017, which matches Galen Rupp’s pair of 2:09’s for the year but Kawauchi has three sub-2:11’s before the United States’ next best time was Tim Ritchie’s 2:11:56 on the super-fast CIM course. The U.S. does have twice as many sub-2:13 performances to Kawauchi’s six. It is incredible to realize we’re comparing one Japanese marathoner to the United States’ best of the year.
Japan Running News does a great job of tracking Kawauchi’s marathoning career so be sure to check out their coverage and throw them a follow on Twitter.
[h/t SteelTownRunner for the Twitter tip]
Fast miles at the BU Mini Meet
Another year of indoor track at Boston University is upon us and it hasn’t slowed down a bit. Our photographer, Justin Britton, has moved to the Boston area and gave us a heads up that the New Balance Boston crew and some members of the New Jersey-New York Track Club would be chasing a fast mile and he was right. Cory McGee had a big day with a personal best of 4:27.67, which also crosses off the 2018 World Indoor Championship standard for her. That’s a great sign for her after she missed most of last year due to injury. Last indoor season, just six American women went under 4:28 for the mile and some of those came later at a meet like the Millrose Games so the U.S. milers are already off to a solid start to the new season. Her coach, Mark Coogan, even noted that McGee’s time might be a record for the fastest mile run in December.
In the men’s race, New Zealand’s Hamish Carson took advantage of some solid pacing from Ford Palmer (also making a comeback from injury) to run a 3:57 mile.
Kenenisa Bekele Fell Short In His World Record Attempt
The last time we saw Kenenisa Bekele in action, he dropped out of the Berlin Marathon after going after the world record at an aggressive pace for the first half of the race. He decided to set his sights on a different Dennis Kimetto world record and race a 25K in Kolkata, India over the weekend. Kimetto’s world record is 1:11:18 and Bekele won in 1:13:48. In peak shape, Bekele should be able to run that, if you play around with some conversions based on his marathon and 10,000 meter personal best. That’s assuming he’s 100% healthy and in peak shape, which I guess wasn’t the case given that he was primarily focused on a fall marathon, which he fell short at. This could just be a race to test out whatever extra fitness was left for 2017. This also apparently wasn’t his best showing since the press release stated that Bekele “fell behind” the leaders and was seven seconds back one point. That reminds me of his London Marathon performance in April, where he faded for a bit and then recovered to finish second. Bekele is still good. There’s no doubting that. He does turn 36 years old next year so we have to start thinking that maybe the decline is coming soon.
Christian Coleman and Raevyn Rogers win the Bowerman
The collegiate record holder in the men’s 100 meters and the women’s 800 meters left Phoenix with track and field’s version of the Heisman Trophy. Rogers just announced that she will be training with American record holder Ajee’ Wilson so that should bode well for her career. The U.S. women’s 800 is an incredibly deep event and three of the strongest women (that’s including Charlene Lipsey) will be training together.
It’s been a fairly slow week for the track and field community and news but we’re back on the blogging pony.