Skip to main content

Wanjiru Wins Fukuoka in Course Record 2:06:39

by Brett Larner

World half-marathon record holder Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) won his debut marathon at today`s Fukuoka International Marathon, smashing the course record by 12 seconds to finish in 2:06:39. Second place finisher Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) also went under the old course record to finish in a major PB of 2:06:50. Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) had the breakthrough he had been hoping for, running an excellent 2:07:13 PB to seal a place on the Japanese men`s marathon team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The day was sunny and cool with steady breezes, a day made for excellent performances. Wanjiru and Merga`s times were the second and third-fastest ever run in Japan and the first time two 2:06 performances have taken place in the same race in Japan. Sato`s result ranks him as the fourth-fastest Japanese runner of all time. Together, the three runners` marks rank Fukuoka second only to Amsterdam in the world this year.

Other pre-race favorites did not fare as well. Sato`s teammate Shigeru Aburaya was fifth yet again in 2:10:30. Former course record holder Atsushi Fujita was unable to respond to Wanjiru`s move after 30 km and finished eighth in 2:12:29, falling dramatically just meters before the finish. Japanese national record holder Toshinari Takaoka was tenth in 2:13:40, indicating that his days as a top-tier athlete are likely over.

Yuko Matsumiya, who received little pre-race attention compared to the other four invited runners, had a solid run to finish fourth in 2:09:40, just seconds off his PB. Depending upon the results in the remaining two Olympic selection races, the Tokyo Marathon in February and the Biwako Mainichi Marathon in March, Matsumiya has a good chance of being selected for the Olympic team and going to Beijing with his identical twin brother Takayuki, who will run the 10000 m.

Wanjiru indicated in interviews that he will go for a much faster time in London next year to make the Kenyan Olympic team. "It goes without saying that Kenyans are fast. 2:06 isn`t good enough to make the team for certain, so I will be aiming for a 2:05 in London."

IAAF coverage of Fukuoka
photos

(c) 2007 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Stephen Lacey said…
Wanjiru ran a great race. Steady and composed. Even though Merga also still looked fairly comfortable at 40k, when the time to drop him came, Wanjiru did it with ease. A sensational debut. The joy on Sato's face for achieving his breathrough run was also great to see.

How did our correspondent fare?

Most-Read This Week

JAAF Announces Last-Chance Olympic Marathon Standards: 2:05:49 and 2:22:22

We hereby announce the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon Team qualifying standards for the MGC Final Challenge.
men: 2:05:49
women: 2:22:22 These times are one second faster than the fastest times run by Japanese men and women within the MGC Race qualifying period. The fastest athlete under these standards at one of the MGC Final Challenge series races will earn the third and final spot on the Tokyo 2020 team following the two to be decided at September's MGC Race. MGC Final Challenge series races:
Men:73rd Fukuoka International MarathonTokyo Marathon 202075th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Women:5th Saitama International Marathon39th Osaka International Women's MarathonNagoya Women's Marathon 2020 For more information on the overall Tokyo 2020 Olympic team qualification process please click here.
The official MGC site:  http://www.mgc42195.jp/
source press release:
https://www.jaaf.or.jp/news/article/12712/
translated and edited by Brett Larner

10000 m National Championships Lead Weekend Action

It's a busy weekend on the track across the country. In long distance action the main event is Sunday's 10000 m national championships, held this year a month and a half before the rest of the National Track and Field Championships in an effort to help people produce better performances to maximize their world rankings points. The 10000 m will be held in Osaka's Nagai Stadium just after the Golden Grand Prix Osaka meet, which maxes out this time around with the 3000 m steeplechase.

22 women are entered in the 10000 m including 6 of the 7 who have cleared the 31:50.00 Doha World Championships standard and the only one who has cleared the 31:25.00 Tokyo Olympics standard. That would be the currently world-ranked #3 Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC), who lapped 2nd place the last time she ran Nationals back in 2013 en route to a still-standing championships record 31:06.67. #16-ranked Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post), jointly #22-ranked Kaori Morita (Panasonic) and Mizuki Matsuda (Daiha…

Weekend Track Highlights

The IAAF World Relays in Yokohama were the weekend's main track action, but the first round of regional corporate championships and a few other meets brought distance action across the country.

The women's 10000 m was the highlight at the Kansai Region Corporate Championships, with Wacoal teammates Yuka Ando and Mao Ichiyama recovering from decent runs at the London Marathon last month to go 1st and 5th, Ando the fastest in 32:43.18. Their fellow MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifier Madoka Nakano (Noritz) was 2nd in 32:50.18, doubling the next day in the 5000 m where she was 5th in 16:07.24. Former Hakone Ekiden rivals and now teammates at NTT Nishi Nihon, Kenyans Patrick Wambui and Dominic Nyairo went 1-2 in the men's 10000 m in 28:41.84 and 28:43.86. Ryota Motegi (Sumitomo Denko) just missed the meet record in the men's 1500 m, winning in 3:44.12.

At the Chubu Region Corporate Championships Kenyans Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and Macharia Ndirangu