translated and edited by Brett Larner
Last year's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships winner Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) won the 2011 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon on Feb. 6, clocking a PB of 1:00:55. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), the 12th-placer at last year's World Half Marathon Championships, was 2nd in a PB of 1:00:58, the all-time 3rd-fastest Japanese mark. Course record holder Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) was 3rd after slowing dramatically in the final kilometer of the race. Times were fast overall as eight of the top ten recorded new PBs. Beijing Olympics marathoner Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) was a distant 33rd.
Mogusu took the race out hard with a 2:43 first km tailed by a pack of eight. The group, alternately led by Ndungu, Ugachi, and Moroccan Rachid Kisri, led go and ran their own pace, eventually whittling down to just those three. Kisri was the first to lose touch, drifting back at 11 km. Ndungu and Ugachi then worked together to catch the flailing Mogusu, and each was rewarded with his first sub-61 clocking. Ndungu surged as he caught Mogusu, opening a slight lead which Ugachi was unable to close as the pair entered the track for the final stretch of the race. Ugachi told reporters that he plans to run the 10000 m at this summer's World Championships in Daegu, Korea. "I was 100% targeting a time today and ran just focusing on keeping a positive feeling," he said. "I have to work on my last kick a little more in order to be able to win a race like this. I'm not satisfied yet."
National record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) won the women's race in a world-leading 1:09:00, her third Marugame title and first in four years as defending champion Nikki Chapple (Australia) and 2010 world leader Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey) were no-shows. Karolina Jarzynska (Poland) was 2nd in a PB of 1:10:36, with Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) 3rd in 1:10:50 in her half marathon debut. Five-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) was 4th with a nearly two-minute PB.
Fukushi, who was trying to run a steady pace throughout the race, split 15:56 for the first 5 km before fading to 16:37 from 10-15 km. She laughed afterwards, "I was done after 3 km. Felt pretty heavy today. I don't know about these longer distances. No idea at all."
Translator's note: Ugachi's time was a PB by 51 seconds over his then-PB 1:01:49 run at the World Half last year and only 33 seconds off the Japanese national record. 55 minutes of Marugame highlights will be broadcast on Fuji TV at 1:05 a.m. tonight Japan time. Click here to watch online.
2011 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
1. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:55 - PB
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:00:58 - PB
3. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 1:01:29
4. Rachid Kisri (Morocco) - 1:01:52 - PB
5. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:34 - PB
6. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:35 - PB
7. Hiroki Kadota (Team Kanebo) - 1:02:35 - PB
8. Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:40 - PB
9. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 1:02:40 - PB
10. Ryohei Nakano (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 1:02:49
1. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:09:00
2. Karolina Jarzynska (Poland) - 1:10:36 - PB
3. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 1:10:50 - debut
4. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 1:11:13 - PB
5. Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:49
6. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:12:03
7. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:12:04
8. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:12:16 - PB
9. Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:12:21 - PB
10. Silviia Skvortsova (Russia) - 1:12:39