translated and edited by Brett Larner
The Shibetsu Half Marathon took place July 24 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. With starting temperatures of 25 degrees and dry, sunny conditions Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) won the men's race in 1:05:09 and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) the women's race in 1:13:06. Daegu World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) and Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) also ran as part of their tune-up for the World Championships, Kawauchi placing 4th in the men's race in 1:06:24 and Ito 7th in the women's race in 1:16:15.
The women's race included the last three champions. Winner Miyauchi broke away from all competition to score the victory, with 2008 winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) 3rd just a week after taking gold at the Asian Marathon Championships in Thailand. 2009 winner Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), the winner's identical twin, was 4th, while defending champion and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) was only 10th in 1:17:19, her slowest-ever half marathon mark.
In her final preparation race for her first World Championships, Ito placed 7th, running in sight of the leaders in the first half of the race before slipping away. "It was hot," she said afterward with an upset expression, "and I couldn't move as smoothly as I expected."
In the men's race Nomiya ran as part of a lead pack of four before breaking away at 18 km for the win. Kawauchi finished kicking at top speed and looked content with his performance afterwards as he sipped water on a chair in the medical tent. Last month Kawauchi had a disastrous run at the Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon, collapsing with heat stroke. In his next race, this month's Sapporo International Half Marathon, he finished only 63rd. Evaluating his race in Shibetsu which he had described as a "practice run for Daegu," Kawauchi said, "I didn't feel much lingering effect at all. I think that was pretty good. I'd give it about 80 out of 100."
Kawauchi had other issues beforehand. With a large number of runners heading to Shibetsu for the race, all hotels in the area were fully booked and Kawauchi had to stay an hour away by train in Asahikawa. Kawauchi planned to take the train in make the 9:30 start, but the train was late. "I was pretty stressed," he said. He finally took a taxi to Shibetsu, a trip that cost him around 10,000 yen (~$125 USD). Kawauchi pays all his costs himself so the unexpected expense stung a bit, but looking at his result he laughed, "I guess that was worth 10,000 yen."
In the 10 km, marathoner Ryoko Kisaki (Team Daihatsu) won the women's race for the second straight year, while triathlete Ryosuke Yamamoto won the men's race over Yusei Nakao, who recently quit Team Toyota Boshoku to go independent.
2011 Shibetsu Half Marathon
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/24/11
1. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:06
2. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:13:22
3. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:13:27
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:48
5. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 1:14:45
6. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:15:59
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:16:15
8. Asami Furuse (Team Kyocera) - 1:16:21
9. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 1:16:50
10. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:17:19
1. Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) - 1:05:09
2. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:05:29
3. Taichi Takase (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:39
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:06:24
5. Saeki Makino (Kawaguchi T&F Assoc.) - 1:07:04
6. Kazuya Miyamoto (Team YKK) - 1:07:39
7. Teppei Suegami (Team YKK) - 1:07:46
8. Norimasa Nishina (Team Fujitsu) - 1:07:50
9. Ryo Taniguchi (Team YKK) - 1:08:02
10. Koki Inada (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:08:15
Women's 10 km
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 34:13
2. Ayumi Sakaida - 34:18
3. Seika Nishikawa (Team Sysmex) - 34:20
4. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 34:21
5. Misato Tanaka - 34:24
Men's 10 km
1. Ryosuke Yamamoto - 31:40
2. Yusei Nakao - 31:41