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


Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…