Skip to main content

Defending Champions Hara, Njui to Return to Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

This year's Hokkaido Marathon is set for Sunday, Aug. 28, directly opposite the Daegu World Championships.  With a 12:10 start time Hokkaido is always hot and has some of the most strategic racing on the Japanese calendar.  The men's race features both defending champion Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) and 2009 winner Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) along with sub-2:12 domestic men Seiji Kobayashi (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), Masaya Shimizu (Team Asahi Kasei) and Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult).  Njui is in good shape to defend his title after his second-straight win at last month's Sapporo International Half Marathon.  A number of competitive men are also entered in the general division, the best among these being 2:11:44 marathoner Kenichiro Setoguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Samuel Wanjiru's main training partner during Wanjiru's pro years in Japan.

The women's race likewise features the 2010 and 2009 winners, defending champ Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) and course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), along with 2006 winner Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC), who returns to Hokkaido off a sub-2:30 PB at last fall's Chicago Marathon.  Also in the race are former national record holder Yoko Shibui and two-time World Championships marathon medalist Reiko Tosa (both Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), Tosa seeking to make a comeback after giving birth to her first baby last year.  The strongest challenge may come from 2011 Asian Marathon champion Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal), who finished 2nd at February's Tokyo Marathon.

2011 Hokkaido Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Men
Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 2:06:16 (Chicago 2002)
Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 2:09:10 (Tokyo 2011)
Seiji Kobayashi (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:10:38 (Beppu-Oita 2009)
Masaya Shimizu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:50 (Biwako 2009)
Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 2:11:17 (Beppu-Oita 2010)
Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 2:11:43 (Beppu-Oita 2011)
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:12:44 (Fukuoka 2010)
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 2:14:44 (Tokyo 2011)

Women
Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:19:41 (Berlin 2004)
Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:22:46 (Boston 2002)
Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:23:48 (Osaka 2007)
Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 2:24:33 (Vienna 2006)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido 2009)
Noriko Higuchi (Noriko Higuchi) - 2:28:49 (Tokyo 2011)
Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) - 2:29:45 (Chicago 2010)
Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 2:32:02 (Tokyo 2011)
Chinami Fukaminato (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:34:16 (Hokkaido 2009)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Tokai University Outruns Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin to Win First Izumo Ekiden Title in Ten Years

Kanagawa's Tokai University outran two-time defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University to win the 2017 Izumo Ekiden, its first win at one of the Big Three university men's ekidens under head coach Hayashi Morozumi and Tokai's first Izumo title since 2007.

Formerly head coach at Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. where he produced the fastest-ever all-Japanese high school team and standout Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) on a cross-country based training regimen, since taking over at Tokai in 2011 Morozumi has set about systematically developing the Tokai program into one with the greatest depth in Japanese university running. On paper AGU had a slight advantage over Tokai over the first half of Izumo's six stages, but with Tokai's second half runners, including its top two men Shota Onizuka and Hayato Seki, ranked at the top of their stages AGU needed a decent lead by halfway to stand a chance.

From the start it wasn't to be. In hot and sunny conditions Tokai&#…

From Madarao to the World - Tokai University's Hayato Seki

Long-awaited by university ekiden fans, the 2017 ekiden season is underway. The Izumo Ekiden was held Monday, with Tokai University living up to expectations to score the win. The athlete who broke the finish line tape as Tokai's anchor was second-year Hayato Seki. This year Seki has run PBs of 13:35.81 for 5000 m and 28:23.37 for 10000 m, marking his growth into one of the unquestionable stars of the university ekiden scene.

A week earlier, the Madarao Forest Trails race was held on Oct. 1. Flashback to the 2012 edition of the race five years ago. The winner in the 16 km Beginner Class men's race was none other than Seki, then in his third year of junior high school. The picture below is of his win at the 2012 Madarao Forest Trails race. Even though he was only a junior high school student Seki ran brilliantly, opening up a huge lead of well over four minutes over the 2nd-placer.


After that Seki entereed Nagano's ekiden powerhouse Saku Chosei H.S. and has now grown into …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…