Skip to main content

Nakao Top Japanese Finisher at World Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Team Toyota Boshoku's rookie Yusei Nakao had the strongest Japanese performance at the Rio World Half Marathon Championships on Oct. 12, finishing 5th in the men's race in 1:02:05, while the Japanese women came up with another bronze medal-winning team performance led by the 10th place finish of Team Hokuren's Yukiko Akaba.

In the men's race, Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin University) led the way as the sole non-African in the lead pack of thirteen at the 5 km point, crossing the mark in 14:07. Although he has run faster than this before in a half marathon, Kihara soon ran into trouble and began to move backward, eventually finishing 83rd of 86 finishers in a shocking 1:20:05. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN), Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) and Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK) set out at a more conservative pace and finished accordingly. Nakao, who ran a massive PB of 1:02:00 in May's Sendai International Half Marathon, ran the early stages of the race in the second pack 10 seconds back from the leaders at 5 km. He gradually moved up through the field, passing competitors including sub-hour half marathoner Marilson dos Santos (Brazil) and finishing strong in 5th place with a mark just 5 seconds of his PB, an outstanding performance considering the hot conditions. The Japanese men finished 7th out of 16 teams in the team competition.

Like Kihara, Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu, who studies at Japan's Yamanashi Gakuin University, had a stunningly poor performance, dropping out of the race within the first 5 km. The Kenyan men won the men's team competition despite Mogusu's performance.

Despite entering the race with the third-fastest PB and the fastest time of the year in the entire field, Akaba was never a factor, already 41 seconds off the lead pack of nine's aggressive pace at 5 km. She began to move up between 5 and 10 km, picking off a few casualties from the early pace but never cracking the top 10 until the final kilometers when she overtook Ethiopian Meseret Mengitsu. Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and last-minute substitute Ikuyo Yamashita ran together for the first half of the race 5 sec/km back from Akaba, with final team member Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) another 5 sec/km behind. Yamashita began to slip by 15 km and lost the third scoring position on the team to a fast-closing Machida in the final km. Once again the women's team had to settle for a bronze medal behind winners Ethiopia and runners-up Kenya. Team Aruze's Julia Mombi was the third scorer for the Kenyan team, finishing 7th overall in 1:11:11.

Japanese Results, World Half Marathon Championships
Men - 7th of 16 teams
5. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:05
32. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 1:06:26
37. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 1:06:57
49. Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK) - 1:08:34
83. Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:20:05
.....
DNF - Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. / Kenya)

Women - 3rd of 9 teams
10. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:11:39
19. Miki Ohira (Team Mitsu Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:14:27
22. Yuko Machida (Tea Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:14:52
23. Ikuyo Yamashita (Team ***) - 1:15:05
.....
7. Julia Mombi (Team Aruze / Kenya) - 1:11:11

Complete results including 5 km splits are available for both the men's and women's races.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…