Until today Haruki Murakami was not only my favorite Japanese author, but also my favorite Japanese marathoner. His personal reflections on running in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running are fantastic and it is my all-time favorite running book. Today, however, Kento Kikutani dethroned Murakami and became my favorite Japanese long-distance runner.

In an amazing performance in the Vienna City Marathon Kikutani launched an assault at kilometer 40 on the lead pack of Derara Hurisa (ETH), Leonard Langat (KEN), Betesfa Getahun (ETH), and Edwin Kosgei (KEN). Alas, after overtaking Kosgei to advance to fourth place he couldn’t hold the pace when the lead group picked up the tempo. At 2:04:38 he had to stop briefly to stretch a muscle. With a time of 2:10:37, he still finished fourth, however, as Hurisa was disqualified for a shoe violation.

While Kikutani’s athletic abilities are certainly impressive, I doubt he will replace Murakami as my favorite Japanese author. Should he ever write a book, however, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and read it.

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