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Former Suzuki Teammates Kabuu and Mathathi Win Great North Run Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Former teammates at Shizuoka-based Suzuki Hamamatsu AC, Kenyans Lucy Wangui Kabuu and Martin Irungu Mathathi staged dominating performances to win the women's and men's races at the rolling downhill Great North Run half marathon on Sept. 18.  Wangui, a graduate of Aomori Yamada H.S. before running for Suzuki and winning 10000 m gold and 5000 m bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, showed no sign of her near-absence from competition since the Beijing Olympics as she made an early surge at world record pace to easily crush the field, winning in 1:07:06 over two minutes up on runner-up Jessica Augusto (Portugal).  2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon 3rd-placer Marisa Barros (Portugal) was 3rd again only four weeks after finishing 9th in the Daegu World Championships marathon.  Formerly Japan-based Mara Yamauchi (Great Britain), in training for November's third edition of Yokohama, was a DNF after dropping from the lead pack early.

Mathathi, the 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist, 2006 World XC bronze medalist and junior world record holder over 10 miles, ran the Great North Run three weeks after finishing 5th at the Daegu World Championships.  Responding to an aggressive move from Jonathan Maiyo (Kenya), Mathathi reeled Maiyo in and then pushied on alone on course record pace.  Checking his watch repeatedly in the final kilometer, Mathathi took nearly a minute off his 59:48 debut as he won in a course-record 58:56 to become one of a select club of men to have broken 59 minutes for the marathon.  Maiyo held on to 2nd, while 2011 London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) ran down former road 10 km world record holder Micah Kogo (Kenya) for 3rd, making it a Kenyan sweep of the top four positions.

2011 Great North Run
Newcastle, U.K., 9/18/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Lucy Wangui Kabuu (Kenya) - 1:07:06
2. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:09:27
3. Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 1:10:29
4. Jo Pavey (Great Britain) - 1:10:49
5. Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain) - 1:10:57
6. Irene Jerotich (Kenya) - 1:11:03
7. Irene Mogaka (Kenya) - 1:11:13
8. Rene Kalmer - 1:11:46
9. Krisztina Papp - 1:12:08
10. Freya Murray (Great Britian) - 1:12:44
DNF - Mara Yamauchi (Great Britian)

Men
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 58:56 - CR
2. Jonathan Maiyo (Kenya) - 59:27
3. Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 59:52
4. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 1:00:03
5. Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 1:01:02
6. Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) - 1:01:31
7. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 1:03:09
8. Yared Hagos - 1:03:31
9. Daniel Chaves - 1:03:37
10. Keith Gerrard - 1:03:39

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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