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Takeuchi Wins Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon

by Brett Larner

Despite heavy snow throughout much of western Japan and a nearby volcanic eruption which has continued through recent weeks, times were quick at the 49th Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon with four of the top ten recording PBs and the remaining six marking their debuts. Winner Kenji Takeuchi (Team Toyota Kyushu), a former teammate of Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) and coached by Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita, clocked a ten-minute PB to win in 2:12:44, putting him inside the five fastest winning times in Nobeoka. Runner-up Takumi Owada (Team Hitachi Cable) broke his own PB by nine minutes to finish 40 seconds back from Takeuchi in 2:13:24. Takuro Yamashita (Team Fujitsu), instrumental in Asia University's 2006 Hakone Ekiden win, took four minutes off his PB to round out the top three in 2:13:33.

Little changed for the first part of the race as pacer Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) took a large pack through 30 km on pace for 2:12 flat. Following his departure Takeuchi and first-timer Bunta Kuroki (Team Yasukawa Denki) opened a gap on the rest of the field, with Yamashita one of three running 10 seconds back at 35 km and Owada another 20 seconds back in 7th. By 40 km Takeuchi had a 29 second lead over Yamashita, Kuroki having fallen to 6th. Owada was another 16 seconds behind Yamashita in 4th but closed hard to move up to second and narrow Takeuchi's lead.

2011 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon
click here for results and splits
1. Kenji Takeuchi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:12:44 - PB
2. Takumi Owada (Team Hitachi Cable) - 2:13:24 - PB
3. Takuro Yamashita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:33 - PB
4. Shingo Igarashi (Team Subaru) - 2:13:46 - debut
5. Masanori Ishida (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:13:54 - debut
6. Kota Noguchi (Team Toyota) - 2:14:31 - debut
7. Bunta Kuroki (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:14:27 - debut
8. Naoki Yamashita (Team NTN) - 2:16:35 - PB
9. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:17:40 - debut
10. Seigo Ikegami (Team Honda) - 2:17:56 - debut

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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