Skip to main content

Shibutani Wins 40th Hofu Yomiuri Marathon

by Brett Larner

Veteran Akinori Shibutani (Team Yanagawa Seiki) came within steps of breaking his nearly 10 year-old PB on Dec. 20 as he scored his first-ever win at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, taking the 40th anniversary edition of the race in 2:13:58. Following the departure of pacemaker Samuel Ganga (Team Mazda) at 25 km after a 1:06:38 first half Shibutani emerged from the pack to first edge and then cruise away to victory. It was a major triumph for Shibutani, a former teammate of national record holder Toshinari Takaoka at Team Kanebo, who found a position with the minor-league Team Yanagawa Seiki after losing his place on the Kanebo lineup several years ago. For his win Shibutani picks up an invitation to the 2010 Berlin Marathon.

2003 Fukuoka International Marathon winner and Athens Olympian Tomoaki Kunichika (Team S&B) initially remained behind in the pack when Shibutani broke away and was followed by Fumiyuki Watanabe (Team Asahi Kasei) and 2009 Copenhagen Marathon winner Toyokazu Yoshimura (Osaka T&F Assoc.). Timing his move carefully, by 35 km Kunichika had drawn even with Yoshimura again and by 40 km was in 2nd and gaining on Shibutani. He was ultimately unable to close the gap and had to settle for 2nd in 2:14:38 in what may be the last marathon of his career.

Yoshimura, the #1-ranked amateur in Japan, hoped to improve on his 5th place finish last year and 3rd place finish in 2007 but was only able to overtake the fading Watanabe for another 3rd. His time of 2:15:05 was, however, a nearly two-minute PB over his 2:16:58 best from March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon, meaning his three marathons this year have been a win and two large PBs. Yoshimura will be racing again in February and then hopes to run for the win overseas this summer in either Grandma's Marathon in the U.S. or the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, where he was the 2007 winner.

Defending champion Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) ran only 47 seconds off his winning time from last year but finished 6th in 2:16:48. Serod Bat-Ochir of Mongolia was the top overseas athlete, 7th in 2:17:19.

In the talented amateur-level women's race, Noriko Hirao (F-Dream AC) led start to finish for a comfortable win over 2006 winner Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall), 2:45:08 to 2:48:10. Hirao's teammate Akiko Aoki (F-Dream AC) overtook several competitors for 3rd in 2:54:32. 2007-2008 winner Miyuki Yamaguchi (Kobe T&F Assoc.) was 4th in 2:55:38.

2009 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for detailed results
Men
1. Akinori Shibutani (Team Yanagawa Seiki) - 2:13:58
2. Tomoaki Kunichika (Team S&B) - 2:14:38
3. Toyokazu Yoshimura (Osaka T&F Assoc.) - 2:15:05 - PB
4. Fumiyuki Watanabe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:15:18
5. Koji Harada (Kure T&F Assoc.) - 2:15:45
6. Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) - 2:16:48
7. Serod Bat-Ochir (Mongolia) - 2:17:19
8. Hiroyuki Kamiguchi (Team Suzuki) - 2:17:21
9. Kiyotaka Shimamura (Team S&B) - 2:18:01
10. Yuji Iwakuma (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:20:54

Women
1. Noriko Hirao (F-Dream AC) - 2:45:08
2. Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) - 2:48:10
3. Akiko Aoki (F-Dream AC) - 2:54:32
4. Miyuki Yamaguchi (Kobe T&F Assoc.) - 2:55:38
5. Hiromi Yamazaki (Yokochi Pediatrics) - 2:57:24

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

60-Year-Old Hiromi Nakata Wins Tottori Marathon Overall Women's Race

The Tottori Marathon held its 12th running on March 10. In light rain and 11˚C temperatures 3717 people ran Tottori's one-way course that passes local historic sites such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Tottori Castle ruins. Running 3:12:44 for the overall women's win was 60-year-old Hiromi Nakata.
"I was as surprised as anyone that I won," said Tanaka. "I had to stop at the toilets early on and lost some time, but I tried using the double inhale, double exhale breathing method that the actor Kankuro Nakamura uses on the Idaten TV show and got into a good rhythm. Thanks to that I could just keep going and going. I had no idea I was in 1st, and when they put up the finish tape as I was coming in I thought, 'No way!'""
Nakata is a resident of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 2017 she ran the fastest time of the year in Japan by a 58-year-old, 3:05:02. In the mornings she does housework and works in her garden for an hour, fitting in 30 to 60-minute run…

Japan's Oldest-Ever Olympic Marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa Retires at 39

At a press conference in Sayama, Saitama on Mar. 20, 2016 Rio Olympics marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa, 39, announced that he will retire from competition at the end of the month. At the time of the Rio Olympics Ishikawa was 36 years and 11 months old, surpassing 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner Hiromi Taniguchi's record of 36 years and 3 months to become Japan's oldest-ever Olympic marathoner. He finished 36th.

"Since I started running high school it's been 24 years," said Ishikawa at the press conference. "I've been with Honda for 17 years, and I made it all the way to the top, the Olympics. I'm glad that I've kept going this long. I thank you all."

Ishikawa ran the Mar. 10 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon but dropped out after only 10 km. It was to be the last race of his career. "It was the first time in my career that I'd ever DNFd, and I thought, 'OK, this is where it ends,'" said Ishikawa. Shortly after the race he made …

Tokyo Olympics Logo Designer Sano Denies Plagiarism

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150805-00000072-nksports-spo

translated by Brett Larner

Amid controversy surrounding the "strong similarity" of the official 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games logos to the logo of Belgium's Theatre de Liege, art director Kenjiro Sano, 43, the person responsible for the Tokyo design, held a press conference August 5th in Tokyo.  Sano strongly denied the theater's claims of plagiarism, calling them "totally groundless" and saying that his design was "something made starting from zero."  Sano said that he "had never seen" the theater's logo, adding, "As an art director I have never ripped anything off," and "This is the culmination of my career.  As something truly original, I wanted to share it with the rest of the world."

Sano was on a business trip to New York through August 4, learning of the current problems while on the trip.  "It was a shock," he said.  …