Yuki Kawauchi
Photo of Kawauchi racing in 2016: @ayespeko via Twitter.

Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, the surprise winner of last Monday’s Boston Marathon, was back home in Japan and racing on Sunday at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon.

It was a return to planet Earth for Kawauchi, who finished in 14th place, with a time of 1:04:35. This was not unexpected, however, since he has never cracked the top 10 in this race in five previous attempts. Nicholas Kosimbei of Kenya was the winner, in 1:01:12.

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Kawauchi’s result may be even less surprising this year, given his performance at Boston only six days previously, where he outran last year’s winner Geoffrey Kirui in some of the most extreme weather ever seen on the course. It was Kawauchi’s fifth marathon victory already in 2018.

He also faced some stiff competition among the men’s elite field at Gifu: past winners Alexander Mutiso, who came in second, Patrick Mwaka (10th), and James Rungaru (DNF), as well as two men with sub-1 PB’s (James Mwangi, who was fourth, and Moses Kurong, third). The course record is 1:00:02, set in 2014 by Bedan Karoki.

Edward Waweru (who placed fifth) and Kosimbei (this year’s winner) had both set PB’s earlier this year.

Kawauchi had the 10th fastest PB among the men’s elite field going into Gifu.

According to the I.A.A.F site, Kawauchi, who famously works full-time in a government job and is not allowed to accept sponsorship money, plans to quit his job and go pro next year. 

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