Skip to main content

Kanbara Remains Unbeaten in Fuji Tozan Mountain Race

by Brett Larner

Heavy rain cut the 2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race down to size, but two-time defending women's champion Yuri Kanbara and 2006 men's winner Toru Miyahara nevertheless prevailed again to pick up this year's titles.

With conditions dangerous above Mt. Fuji's 2256 m-high 5th Stage on the July 24 race morning, organizers made the decision 30 minutes before the 7:00 a.m. start to shorten the event's 21 km long, 3000 m elevation gain Summit Race. Rather than reaching the summit, athletes in the long race would end at the 5th stage along with the event's 15 km long, 1480 m elevation gain 5th Stage Race entrants. This meant the true uphill specialists in the field such as Kanbara were at a competitive disadvantage against faster athletes who could withstand the relatively mild climb and paved first half of the 5th Stage course.

The rain let up just minutes before the start, leaving the fields in the two divisions with the coolest, most ideal conditions in recent Fuji Tozan history. Miyahara responded with a course-record 1:15:15 victory, beating runner-up Toru Azuma by over six and a half minutes. Kanbara's win was even more decisive. Facing down an expected challenge from rival Tomoko Tamamushi, Kanbara ran 1:33:00 to win by nearly 12 minutes, a feat all the more impressive considering that it did not include the part of the Fuji Tozan course which most plays to her strengths. For their victories Miyahara and Kanbara picked up invitations to the Oct. 25 Mt. Kinabalu mountain race in Malaysia.

Running on the same course an hour and a half later, first-timer Naoto Ikuta unseated two-time defending 5th Stage Race champion Takanori Ono to take the men's division in 1:21:48. Running the 5th Stage Race for the seventh time, Takako Seijo won the women's division for the first with a 1:53:12 clocking.

Click here for complete results from the 2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race.

2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race - Top Finishers
Summit Race - Men
1. Toru Miyahara - 1:15:15 - CR
2. Toru Azuma - 1:21:47
3. Takahiro Kurihara - 1:23:14
4. Kenichi Hirayama - 1:25:03
5. Suguru Emoto - 1:25:15

Summit Race - Women
1. Yuri Kanbara - 1:33:00
2. Junko Ishikawa - 1:44:53
3. Natsumi Mineshima - 1:45:59
4. Yoshimi Kasezawa - 1:48:59
5. Tomoko Tamamushi - 1:49:19

5th Stage Race - Men
1. Naoto Ikuta - 1:21:48
2. Yoichi Nakanishi - 1:26:04
3. Masahiro Ito - 1:27:44

5th Stage Race - Women
1. Takako Seijo - 1:53:12
2. Satohi Numasawa - 1:56:35
3. Kishiko Suto - 1:59:57

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…