Skip to main content

Shimahara 3rd in Chicago Marathon

by Brett Larner

The warm conditions and slow early pace at the 2008 Chicago Marathon played straight to the strengths of Second Wind AC's Kiyoko Shimahara, who tied former national record holder Yoko Shibui's 3rd place finish for the best mark ever set by a Japanese woman in Chicago. The extremely slow first half dashed Shimahara's hopes of a PB performance, but she lived up to her reputation as a strong heat runner and powerful finisher by dropping a chase pack which included Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita (Romania) and two-time defending champion Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) and overtaking breakaway pack member Bezunesh Bekele (Ethiopia) to take 3rd in 2:30:19. In a post-race interview Shimahara commented,
We started slow, so I gave up on running a PB pretty early on and decided to just go for a good race. I came to Chicago with a lot of confidence and the weather was good [laughing], so even though I couldn't meet my time goal I wanted a good result. I'm very, very happy with placing 3rd and want to thank everyone who helped get me here. It was good.

Team JR Higashi Nihon's Arata Fujiwara was also confident heading into Chicago. Fujiwara said he would be aiming for Toshinari Takaoka's national record of 2:06:16, set in Chicago in 2002. He looked relaxed and enthusiastic before the start and began well, putting himself in the lead pack running just under 2:06 pace and looking comfortable, but just past 5 km he began to drop away and eventually finishing 16th in 2:23:10. An extremely disappointed Fujiwara afterward told reporters,
The pace wasn't something I can't run, but I couldn't run it. I guess that just shows my weakness, and that's hard to face. I couldn't run the way I did in practice. This race was a failure. When I saw the winner's expression I really wanted it to be me. I'll be back to win.

Longtime Japan resident and six-time Chicago top-3 placer Daniel Njenga's poor 2008 season continued as he marked his worst-ever showing in Chicago, finishing 9th in 2:17:33.

Complete results from the Chicago Marathon are available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Japan Names Asian Games Marathon Team

On Mar. 16 the JAAF announced the Japanese marathon team for this August's Jakarta Asian Games. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) make up the men's squad, with Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) and Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) named to the women's team.

A member of the Japanese national team for last summer's London World Championships, Inoue ran an all-time Japanese #4 time of 2:06:54 at February's Tokyo Marathon, the 2nd-placing Japnaese man behind national record setter Yuta Shitara (Honda). Sonoda ran a PB of 2:09:34 to finish in the top Japanese position at 2nd overall earlier in February at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

The silver medalist at November's Asian Championships marathon, Nogami was 5th earlier this month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:26:33. Tanaka was next behind her in Nagoya in 6th in 2:27:40, the only member of the Asian Games team not to have yet qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials race. A meda…