by Brett Larner
click here for detailed race coverage on JRNLive
Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia wins the 2010 Biwako Mainichi Marathon in 2:09:34. Click photo for video highlights courtesy of NHK.
The cold, rain and wind that cursed January's Osaka International Women's Marathon and February's Tokyo Marathon returned this month to take down hopes of fast times at the 65th Biwako Mainichi Marathon on Mar. 7. After an early snafu when several of the pacemakers took a wrong turn in the first km the drizzling, cool first half was moderately slower than hoped for, 1:04:07. Ethiopian Yemane Tsegay then took the pace down to 2:54/km to run a solo second half. Tsegay kept the splits under 3:00 through 30 km but after the pacemakers departed the temperature dropped from 9 to 7 degrees and the rain intensified. His pace dropped to as slow as 3:22/km.
Behind him first-timer Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) led a pack of six which included three runners in their marathon debuts, one doing his second race, veteran Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) and Eritrean Abraham Tadesse. Kitaoka, the top Japanese man at last year's World Half Marathon, did the lion's share of the work to keep things moving at 2:08 pace, but as the weather worsened he could not keep it up and the speed dropped. At 35 km Kitaoka made a move to get things back on track but the calm and composed Sato, a member of Japan's 2007 World Championships marathon team, soon broke free. As leader Tsegay dropped down to 3:20/km territory Sato was approaching 3:05, but he was too far back to close the gap of over one minute. Tsegay jogged in to a 2:09:34 win with Sato just missing a sub-2:10 with a 2:10:07 2nd place finish, over 30 seconds faster than the Ethiopian over the final 5 km.
Tadesse shook off Kitaoka for 3rd, but Kitaoka hung on to 4th in 2:10:51, a solid debut in the difficult conditions. Fellow first timers Naoto Yoneda (Team Konica Minolta) and Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco Techxiv) also turned in credible debuts in 2:11:00 and 2:12:24, with second-time marathoner Kenichiro Setoguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) 6th in 2:11:44. All told a slower day than hoped for but a good crop of results from the young set.
None of the other invited elites fared well, with top Kenyan Charles Munyeki never to be seen and 2:06 man Hendrick Ramaala fading from the top once the worst of the rain started and falling from 9th to 11th over the last 2 km. In his post-race interview winner Tsegay told reporters, "I thought the new course was great, but the weather was terrible. The cold rain made my legs tighten up and I couldn't keep up my pace. I wanted to run 2:06 or better today to set the record here, but when the weather got worse in the second half it was impossible." Runner-up Sato felt the same way. On the strength of his performance Sato is now, along with Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), one of the two frontrunners for a spot on the Japanese team for November's Asian Games.
2010 Biwako Mainichi Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
1. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 2:09:34
2. Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:07
3. Abraham Tadesse (Eritrea) - 2:10:46
4. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51 - debut
5. Naoto Yoneda (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:11:00 - debut
6. Kenichiro Setoguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:44 - PB
7. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco) - 2:12:24 - debut
8. Tomoya Shimizu (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:13:25
9. Munehiro Sugaya (Team Toyota) - 2:15:07 - PB
10. Takeshi Ueno (Team JFE Steel) - 2:15:26 - PB
11. Henrick Ramaala (South Africa) - 2:15:29
16. Steve Osaduik (Canada) - 2:18:29
DNF - Charles Munyeki (Kenya)
DNF - Yuriy Hychun (Ukraine)
DNF - Masaya Shimizu (Team Asahi Kasei)
DNF - Mark Tucker (Australia)
DNS - Adil Annani (Morocco)
DNS - Laban Kagika (Kenya/Team JFE Steel)
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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