Skip to main content

Kirui, Kipruto and Vega for Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

If the preliminary announcement is to be believed, the organizers of the Sapporo International Half Marathon have done an outstanding job in setting up a strong field for this year's 53rd edition to be held July 4. Last year's race was expected to include Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), but his listing turned out to be only the empty promise of a promoter. This year's men's field is slated to include a handful of big names, and if all show Sapporo could be one of the best races of the summer.

Topping the overseas men's field are Berlin World Championships marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui and 2:05 marathoner Vincent Kipruto, both of Kenya, along with their Japan-resident sub-hour countrymen Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the 2009 Sapporo winner, and Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem), the course record holder and 2007-08 winner. Somewhat of a non-sequitur, American Antonio Vega rounds out the overseas men's field.

The domestic field will be vying for a spot on the Japanese national team for this fall's World Half Marathon Championships. The strongest is 13:18/27:41 man Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), who has fallen short of his 2010 goals of a strong marathon debut and the 10000 m national record but has recently show himself to be rounding back into peak form. Veterans Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Toshinari Suwa (Team Nissin Shokuhin) are also on the invite list but are unlikely to figure into the action. It's one of the quirks of Sapporo management that the complete elite entry lists are not usually publicly released before the race, and thus there are always a few surprises come race day. One runner in this group who may challenge Mitsuya for the top Japanese spot is independent Arata Fujiwara, who became the first Japanese man since 1987 to win an overseas marathon with a sub-2:10 time when he set the course record at last month's Ottawa Marathon.

With no women being brought in from overseas the domestic women's field is deep and competitive. Japan resident Mara Yamauchi (U.K.) will be a solid contender against 2009 winner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and 2008 winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC). Other top Japanese women in the field include Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido), Chika Horie (Team Universal Ent.), Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya), Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Ent.), Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC).

Click here for a complete invited elite field listing. The race will be broadcast live nationwide. Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free through Keyhole TV. JRN will offer live race commentary through its Twitter feed JRNLive. Check back closer to race date for further details.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

hotboykevin said…
Will Akaba break Fukushi record? Fukushi record is impossible to break.
hotboykevin said…
Mizuho is too slow. She needs to break 1:12:00. 10 people PRS are faster than her. When will Fukushi run the half marathon?
hotboykevin said…
Mizuho is too slow. Everyone's half marathon PRS are faster than her.
Brett Larner said…
Welcome back, Dennis. We missed you.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…

List of Japanese Athletes Qualified for 2017 London World Championships

It's 50 days to go to the 2017 London World Championships and just over a week out from the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka where the country's best will be trying to earn places on the London team. Athletes will have the chance to chase standards in the weeks after Nationals, but excluding the marathon, walks and combined events, all of which are held separately from the National Championships, the following is a list of Japanese athletes already holding valid qualifying marks for London.

Things are looking very thin right now, with only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m currently capable of fielding complete contingents, although at least the men's 200 m, men's pole vault and conceivably the men's 10000 m could join that short list. With sixteen women currently holding the London standard the women's 10000 m looks to be the toughest to make even if marathon squad members Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu…