by Brett Larner
There were no surprise upsets in the 11th edition of the Nagano Marathon on Apr. 19. Running on a new course, the fastest man in the field, Isaac Macharia (Kenya) bided his time before dropping the other leaders in the final 7 km to take his second Nagano win in 2:11:21, while the woman with the best recent time, Irina Timofeyeva (Russia), finished strong to overtake ailing Kenyan Irene Limika in the final stretch, clocking 2:30:08 for the win. Expected men's contender Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S.) went flat in the second half of the race, leaving the top Japanese man title to debutant Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta), 7th overall in 2:15:57. Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC), the older sister of 2009 World Championships team member Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), was the top Japanese woman, 3rd overall in 2:31:18.
Frontrunning the race as he did on his way to victory at last year's Hokkaido Marathon, high school coach Masaru Takamizawa took the race out right on 2:12 pace as a large pack tailed along. Little changed until 20 km, when the lead pack had whittled down to a dozen. Reaching halfway in 1:06:04 Macharia moved up to join Takamizawa at the front for the first time, and by 25 km the Japanese runner had fallen away to 10th, leaving a pack of six foreign runners and three Japanese ahead. Macharia took control between 25 and 30 km, burning off the Japanese runners and Ukrainian Yuriy Hychen to leave five Africans up front. By 35 km he was all alone, sailing on to a 50-second margin of victory over Girma Tola (Ethiopia).
The women's race was a more tactical affair. Akemi Ozaki took the race out at PB pace, running 17:31 for the first 5 km while a pack of four foreign runners stayed behind, clocking 17:47. The chase pack advanced as Ozaki slowed, dropping Russian Tatiana Aryasova and catching Ozaki by 15 km. Aryasova roared back on the way to 20 km, in the lead at halfway with a time of 1:14:40. As the pace began to quicken first Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) and then Ozaki lost contact, on their own before 25 km.
Limika made the big move of the race, clocking 17:03 between 25 and 30 km to open a 48-second lead over the two Russians, who continued to lose ground. At 35 km Timofeyeva was 1:31 behind Limika, while Aryasova had fallen even further back and lost a place to Ozaki. Between 35 and 40 km Limika paid for her early charge, losing most of her lead to a fast-closing Timofeyeva. As Limika slowed to nearly 4:00/km pace Timofeyeva sailed by in the final stretch to steal the win away, and Ozaki came close to taking away 2nd. Like Timofeyeva, Tulu kept herself together long enough to overtake Aryasova at the last moment for 4th.
Detailed results are available here for men and here for women. For 5 km splits visit this site. A one-hour Nagano Marathon highlights show will be broadcast on NHK on Apr. 25 at 2:00 p.m.
2009 Nagano Marathon - Top Finishers
1. Isaac Macharia (Kenya) - 2:11:21
2. Girma Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:12:11
3. Simon Wangai (Kenya) - 2:12:34
4. Gidey Amaha (Ethiopia) - 2:15:01
5. Norman Dlomo (South Africa) - 2:15:45
6. Yuriy Hychun (Ukraine) - 2:15:55
7. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:15:57 - debut
8. Masayuki Satouchi (Team Suzuki) - 2:16:22
9. Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 2:17:25
10. Michitane Noda (Team Kanebo) - 2:17:50
1. Irina Timofeyeva (Russia) - 2:30:07
2. Irene Limika (Kenya) - 2:30:50
3. Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC) - 2:31:18
4. Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) - 2:34:17
5. Tatiana Aryasova (Russia) - 2:34:32
6. Yoko Yagi (Team Suzuki) - 2:36:26 - PB
7. Yukako Goto (Team Kojima Press) - 2:40:50
8. Chihiro Tanaka (Team Daitsu) - 2:41:21
9. Kaori Akagawa (Team Suzuki) - 2:44:59 - PB
10. Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka AC) - 2:45:24
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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