Skip to main content

Ndereba, Mogusu, Rothlin and Japanese Olympic Marathon Men`s Team to Headline Sapporo International Half Marathon

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/marathon/news/20080528-OYT1T00424.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/beijing2008/athletics/news/20080527-OHT1T00073.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Rikuren announced on May 26 that this year`s Sapporo International Half Marathon, to be held June 16, will feature all three members of Japan`s Beijing Olympic men`s marathon team, namely Atsushi Sato (30) and Tsuyoshi Ogata (35) (Team Chugoku Denryoku), and Satoshi Osaki (31) (Team NTT Nishi Nihon). It will be the first time Sapporo has been used as an Olympic test event and the first time in 16 years that all members of a Japanese Olympic marathon team have competed against each other in a single race.

The list of invited foreign runners includes Osaka World Championships bronze medalist and 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), 2-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya) and Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Lee Bong Ju (South Korea).

Returning is Kenyan defending champion Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), who last year set the Sapporo course record of 59:54, in January set the stage record on the 2nd leg of the Hakone Ekiden, and comes fresh from winning the 1500 m, 10000 m and half marathon at last week`s Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships. Mogusu hopes to run for Kenya in the 10000 m at the Beijing Olympics and says of his plans for Sapporo, "I will run much faster than last year`s course record."

Osaka World Championships women`s marathon gold medalist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) heads the list of foreign women. The domestic women`s field includes Osaka World Championships marathon 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo).

The Sapporo International Half Marathon is usually held in July, but this year the city of Sapporo is in preparation for the G-8 economic summit to be held later in the summer in the town of Toyako. Rikuren official Toshio Kiuchi explained, "Due to security concerns related to the summit meeting we opted to hold the race one month earlier than in normal years." The change had the side effect of making the Sapporo Half an ideal preparatory race for the Olympics.

As a result, all three members of the Japanese Olympic men`s marathon team opted to compete against each other on the road. In the 51 editions of the race since the Sapporo Half`s founding in 1958 it is the first time that the race will host such a competition. Atsushi Sato is doing altitiude training at a height of 850 m in his native Fukushima Prefecture. Tsuyoshi Ogata is at a training camp in New Zealand. Satoshi Osaki is praticing in Osaka and plans to run the 5000 m at the Golden Games in Nobeoka on May 31st. As the three teammates prepare to their showdown, the knowledge that they will also be facing world-class rivals raises the heat.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …