Skip to main content

Hot Times at the Ageo City Half Marathon

by Brett Larner



Waseda University first-year Shota Hiraga, a star member of 2008 high school national champion Saku Chosei H.S.'s winning team, continued his excellent season with a 1:03:44 win at the Ageo City Half Marathon on Nov. 15. As the unofficial selection race in which Hakone Ekiden-qualified university teams' rank-and-file runners prove to their coaches that they are worthy of joining their squads' stars in the prestigious January Hakone race, Ageo consistently features the deepest, toughest field of any half marathon in the world. For proof, take a look at JRN's 2008 and 2007 Ageo reports.

This year a passing front brought cloudless skies and freak temperatures well over 20 degrees without any of the wind which both cooled and battered the women later in the day at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon. The unseasonal heat affected times across the board. Hiraga's strong 1:03:44 performance was the slowest winning time in Ageo history and only one other runner broke 1:04. In normal years between 150 and 200 men clear 66 minutes, but with this year's weather only 56 achieved the mark. The breakdown on this year's numbers shows how the heat and sun held things back relative to the last nine years (click for full-sized version):


Even though the top 25 were the slowest in the last ten years with the largest number of men were coming in around a minute behind usual, Ageo's now-famous depth was still there, if diminished, with 286 clearing the 70 minute mark. Former Butler University standout Thomas Frazer of Ireland was the top foreign finisher, starting out among the leaders but likewise fading in the heat to finish just under 71 minutes.

Hiraga's win was another mark in Waseda's favor as the Hakone schools enter their final period of preparation for the 2010 Hakone Ekiden. Along with fellow Saku Chosei alum and first-year Waseda recruit Hiroyuki Sasaki, Hiraga should be one of Waseda's biggest strengths in overcoming the deficit caused by star Kensuke Takezawa's graduation this past spring. Whether Hiraga and Sasaki can help bridge to gap to Toyo University or fend off Izumo and Nationals winner Nihon University this year remains to be seen on January 2-3.

2009 Ageo City Half Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
1. Shota Hiraga - 1:03:44
2. Yuki Munakata - 1:03:58
3. Yohei Yamamoto - 1:04:02
4. Yuki Marubayashi - 1:04:05
5. Naohiro Domoto - 1:04:26
6. Tomoya Mizukoshi - 1:04:28
7. Daichi Yamazaki - 1:04:31
8. Sho Matsueda - 1:04:36
9. Kohei Okamoto - 1:04:39
10. Daisuke Koyama - 1:04:41

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

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…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…