Japanese marathoner Yuki Kawauchi may have clocked the best marathon performance of 2018 on Jan. 1. On Monday morning, Kawauchi won the Marshfield Road Runner's 37th New Year's Day Marathon in 2:18:59 in temperatures below five degrees Fahrenheit.
Only three runners signed up to run the full 26.2 distance but Kawauchi was the only one who finished, according to New England Runner. He reportedly ran 1:10:29 for the first half of the race before negative-splitting in the second half (1:08:30) to dip under 2:20 for the 76th time in his career. The performance set a new world record for the most marathons run under 2:20, which Kawauchi was previously tied with American Doug Kurtis at 75 each respectively.
“I have run a lot of marathons and so it’s tough to compare the weather, but I can say this is the coldest weather I have ever run a marathon in. This was good training for the Antarctica Marathon,” Kawauchi told NERunner.com.
Watch the finish below:
Kawauchi is just one sub-2:10 marathon from tying Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede's record of 17 career marathons under that time. According to Brett Larner of Japan Running News, Kawauchi's goal is to run 100 2:20 marathons before the 2010 Olympics in Tokyo. The next Summer Games are about 30 months away and Kawauchi would need to run 24 more sub-2:20 marathons so time appears to be on his side.
Kawauchi, who worked a full-time job as a government clerk with Saitama Prefectural Government. holds a personal best of 2:08:41 and will be running the Boston Marathon in April. According to his upcoming race schedule on JRN, he will run three marathons before Boston.