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Kenyans Karukuwa, Waroru Take Course Records at Tamana Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

click here for photos of the race

With ideal weather across most of the country, Kenyans Dishon Karukuwa (Team Aisan Kogyo) and Titus Waroru (Chinzei Gakuin H.S.) ran through light rain to take down the course records in the men's half marathon and high school boys' 10 km divisions at the 62nd running of the Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon Mar. 6 in Tamana, Kumamoto. Back on the roads after running January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, last year's runner-up Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), one of the nine Japanese women training in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of the recent major earthquake, took the women's 10 km by a wide margin.

The 19 year-old Karukuwa ran 1:02:20 to break the standing half marathon course record by 18 seconds. He was the first Kenyan winner in Tamana history and only the third non-Japanese to ever take the title. Runner-up Yukinobu Nakazaki (Team Toyota Kyushu) ran a strong 1:03:09, fast enough to have won all but three Tamana runnings but nearly a minute behind Karukuwa. Karukuwa reports having returned from altitude training in Kenya last week and plans to run next week's Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships as well as to debut at the marathon later this year.

Waroru, last year's high school 10 km runner-up and Karukuwa's successor at Chinzei, posted even bigger gains with an outstanding 28:07 mark, taking 44 seconds off the course record set last year by Steven Njeri (Kenya) to make it three three straight years of Kenyan victory. Local runner-up Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) was a distant 29:41 but led teammates Kyosuke Yoshida and Kazuma Watanabe under 30 minutes along with rival Shohei Otsuka (Oita Tomei H.S.).

Miyauchi, who won in 2009 in 32:33 and finished 2nd behind multiple national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) last year in 32:43, became the first woman to win Tamana three times, clocking 32:53. Fukushi, scheduled to defend the title, sat out as she deals with post-traumatic stress from being caught in the Christchurch earthquake. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. teammates Misuzu Nakahara and Nozomi Nishiyama were a distant 2-3 in 33:38 and 33:44.

2011 Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon
click division header for complete results
1. Dishon Karukuwa (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:20 - CR
2. Yukinobu Nakazaki (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:09
3. Takehiro Arakawa (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:17
4. Takahiro Gunji (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:33
5. Koji Inagaki (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 1:04:41

1. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:53
2. Misuzu Nakahara (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 33:38
3. Nozomi Nishiyama (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 33:44
4. Rina Hidaki (Fukuoka Univ.) - 33:45
5. Akane Sueyoshi (Team Kyocera) - 33:46

1. Titus Waroru (Chinzei Gakuin H.S.) - 28:07 - CR
2. Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 29:41
3. Kyosuke Yoshida (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 29:42
4. Kazuma Watanabe (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 29:43
5. Shohei Otsuka (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 29:50

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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