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Mathathi Breaks One Hour in Half Marathon Debut

by Brett Larner

On a warm and windy day, 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist and 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) performed up to expectations in his half marathon debut at the May 9 Sendai International Half Marathon. Already on his own after a quick 14:03 first 5 km, Mathathi ran a solo race. He was consistent through 15 km, clocking 14:04 from 5 to 10 km and 14:07 from 10 to 15 km, on pace at that stage to run 59:24. Only after 15 km did he slow, dropping to a 14:30 split from 15 to 20 km. Mathathi finished in 59:48, just 5 seconds off Samuel Wanjiru's 5 year-old course and Japanese all-comers record. His outstanding debut was a prelude to a planned marathon debut in the upcoming winter season.

Still yet to regain his university form, runner-up Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) was nearly 2 minutes behind in 1:01:34. The top Japanese runner, Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was another 2 minutes back in 1:03:39, finishing 5th overall.

The women's race was more of a tactical affair, with 5 runners still together at 20 km. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) won out in the sprint finish to take the race in 1:12:51, 2 seconds ahead of runner-up Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera). Both Higuchi and Ibata are likely to be named to the Japanese team for this year's World Half Marathon Championships on the strength of their performances in Sendai.

2010 Sendai International Half Marathon - Top Finishers
Men
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 59:48 - debut
2. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 1:01:34
3. Silas Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:01:46
4. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 1:02:40
5. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:03:39
6. Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:40
7. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:03:48
8. Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 1:03:52
9. Minoru Okuda (Team Honda) - 1:04:00
10. Dishawn Karukuwa (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:04:09

Women
1. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:12:51
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:53
3. Miho Notagashira (Team Wacoal) - 1:12:54
4. Chika Horie (Team Universal Entertainment) - 1:13:00
5. Ayumi Nakayama (Team Yamada Denki) - 1:13:02
6. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:13:09
7. Manami Takemori (Team Sysmex) - 1:13:14
8. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:13:22
9. Ayu Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 1:13:23
10. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:13:32

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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