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Freshman Suguru Osako 1:01:47 Jr. National Record at 2010 Ageo City Half Marathon

by Brett Larner
photos by Daniel Seite

Suguru Osako, 2010 Ageo City Half Marathon winner.

Waseda University first-year Suguru Osako ran his biggest performance yet Nov. 21 at the Ageo City Half Marathon, winning his half marathon debut in a new junior national record and junior Asian record of 1:01:47. Running in perfect conditions the 19 year-old Osako, who holds a 5000 m PB of 13:47.29 and a 10000 m PB of 28:35.75, battled it out with Kenyan Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) for 16 km ahead of a large chase pack before dropping a hard surge with 5 km to go and pulling away for the win with the largest margin of victory in Ageo history, 57 seconds. Following the race he told the Yomiuri newspaper, "That didn't feel like it was very long at all."

Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) leads Osako and 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) at 3 km.

Osako became only the third man to break 1:02 at Ageo and the fastest-ever Japanese runner to do so, beating Masato Kihara's time of 1:01:50 from the 2006 Ageo Half. Osako's time was also the second-best of the year by a Japanese man behind only pro Tomoya Onishi's 1:01:31 9th-place finish at last month's World Half Marathon Championships.

Perfect form one and all in the chase pack.

A former captain at Nagano's national champion Saku Chosei H.S., Osako is the latest in the steady stream of superb young runners to come out of Saku Chosei in recent years, following in the footsteps of Yuki Sato, Yuichiro Ueno and Akinobu Murasawa. Osako's performance puts Waseda, which won both the Izumo and National University ekidens this fall in course-record times, in an even better position to stop Toyo University from taking a third Hakone Ekiden title come January. Waseda head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe told the Yomiuri that Osako is likely to be put on Hakone's fastest leg, the Second Stage.

Mayhem at the 10 km turnaround.

Among the non-university runners in the field, two elites for next month's Fukuoka International Marathon had widely differing results. 2010 Tokyo Marathon 4th placer Yuki Kawauchi, an employee of the Saitama Prefectural Government, was just outside the top 10 and not far off his PB, running 1:03:48. 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), debuting at the marathon in Fukuoka, ran the first part of the race with leaders Osako and Ondiba but faded badly to a final time of 1:05:47. Team Honda's Suehiro Ishikawa was the top pro finisher, 6th overall in 1:03:23. While things were fast up front, depth at this year's Ageo City Half Marathon was down somewhat compared to past runnings, when as many as 500 people have broken 1:13:

1st: 1:01:47
10th: 1:03:46
25th: 1:04:21
50th: 1:05:04
100th: 1:06:10
200th: 1:08:10
300th: 1:10:40
400th: 1:14:26
500th: 1:21:27

This may be indicative of a shift in priorities among the university coaches in the Kanto region, particularly in light of the dramatic increase in the number of Kanto runners clocking sub-14 and sub-29 this year. Nevertheless, Ageo remains unparalleled in its depth and level of competition.

2010 Ageo City Half Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
1. Suguru Osako (1st yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:01:47 - debut, Jr. NR
2. Cosmas Onidba (3rd yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:44
3. Kazuya Deguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 1:03:14
4. Fuminori Shikata (1st yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:20 - debut
5. Takuya Noguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 1:03:22
6. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 1:03:23
7. Yoshihiro Nishizawa (3rd yr., Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:26 - debut
8. Hideki Inomata (4th yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:30 - PB
9. Takumi Honda (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 1:03:41
10. Yusuke Mita (3rd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:45 - PB

Click here for more excellent photos courtesy of Waseda University.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved
photos (c) 2010 Daniel Seite
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
Did you manage to catch the Asian Games 10,000m? Was rooting for the japanese.

Wonderful race to watch, but poor Fukushi! I thought she should've kept the strong pace up, but then again she seemed to struggle with the heat (or humidity).

31:50 for the winner is plenty fast though. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Brett Larner said…
I was at a race and festial in the mountains up north and didn't see it. Two Indian women under 32 is very impressive, though.
TokyoRacer said…
Wow, a freshman! It's going to be fun to watch him at Hakone and in the future.

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