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Akaba Crushes Field to Win Her First Sendai International Half Marathon (updated)

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2009/05/20090510t14030.htm
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/f-sp-tp0-20090510-492731.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On a Rikuren-certified 21.0975 km course starting at the Sendai Civic Track and Field Grounds in Sendai's Miyagino Ward and ending in front of City Hall in Aoba Ward, Berlin World Championships marathon team member Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran 1:08:50 to win the 19th Sendai International Half Marathon on May 10. The mother of a nearly three year old daughter, Akaba's first win in Sendai fittingly came on Mother's Day.

Running in cloudy but warm and humid conditions which saw few athletes clock their best times, Akaba dropped the three others in the lead pack after only 8 km. 2nd place finisher Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) was over 2 1/2 minutes behind, while Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) came up from 45 seconds behind at 10 km to take 3rd, just missing catching Mombi but earning one of the only PBs in the top 10. Early lead pack members Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Miyuki Ando (Team Daiichi Seimei) held on for 4th and 5th. Akaba ran the race in the midst of marathon training and rejoiced at recording such a strong time. "I didn't think I was going to break 1:09 today at all, so it's a fantastic result!" she celebrated afterwards.

Last year's winning man Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) ran 1:02:02 to score a second-straight victory. In contrast to the women's race, a large pack of ten hung together until well into the race. Not until the last 5 km did Njoroge break free of eventual runner-up Julius Gitahi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and top Japanese finisher Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN), who ran side by side to finish 2nd and 3rd overall and just one second apart. Kenji Kotani of Hyogo Prefecture won the wheelchair race. As the top Japanese finishers, Akaba and Kitaoka will be selected for the Japanese national team for October's World Half Marathon in the U.K. Both Akaba and Kitaoka ran in last year's World Half Marathon in Brazil.

2009 Sendai International Half Marathon - Top Finishers
Click division header for complete results including splits.
Women
1. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:08:50
2. Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) - 1:11:21
3. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:11:27 - PB
4. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:12:08
5. Miyuki Ando (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:13:05
6. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:13:38
7. Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 1:14:09 - PB
8. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:14:12
9. Rie Matsumoto (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:15:00
10. Kasumi Oyagi (Team Panasonic) - 1:15:07
11. Mizuho Kishi (Team Yamada Denki) - 1:16:26 - debut
12. Xu Jun Liang (China) - 1:16:52
13. Kozue Saito (Yamagata Amateur Sports Assoc.) - 1:16:57
14. Rika Kawashima (Bukkyo Univ.) - 1:16:58
15. Takako Shimada (Team Shimamura) - 1:17:27
16. Eriko Okishi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 1:17:47
17. Ami Shoji (Josai Univ.) - 1:18:14
18. Chihiro Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:18:29
19. Yurika Wakimoto (Kobe Gakuin Univ.) - 1:18:33
20. Anastasiya Padalinskaya (Belarus) - 1:19:21
21. Tomo Kaneko (Bukkyo Univ.) - 1:19:30

Men
1. Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:02:02
2. Julius Gitahi (Team Nissin Shokuhin Grp.) - 1:02:33
3. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 1:02:34
4. Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:52
5. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team JAL Ground Service) - 1:02:58
6. Minoru Okuda (Team Honda) - 1:02:58
7. Michinori Takano (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 1:03:20
8. Masatoshi Oike (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:03:21
9. Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK) - 1:03:23
10. Kazuyuki Maeda (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:03:52
11. Yuki Mori (Team Sumco Techxiv) - 1:03:53
12. Tomonori Onitsuka (Team Kyudenko) - 1:03:54
13. Akinori Iida (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:54 - PB
14. Isamu Sueyoshi (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:04:04 - PB
15. Tetsuo Nishikawa (Team YKK) - 1:04:04
16. Keisuke Nakatani (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:04:13
17. Sohei Wada (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:04:13
18. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:04:22
19. Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin Grp.) - 1:04:30
20. Akira Okada (Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:04:33
21. Tomohiro Seto (Team Kanebo) - 1:04:38
22. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco Techxiv) - 1:04:40
23. Toshinari Suwa (Team Nissin Shokuhin Grp.) - 1:04:46
24. Naoto Morimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 1:04:48
25. Masahisa Fujiwara (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:59

Comments

dennis said…
Julia Mumbi is one of the best Japan base kenyan runners. She won Kobe twice and Mizayaki. And she challenge Noguchi to just 6 seconds last year. Very impressive Kenyan runner.

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