Skip to main content

Kizaki, Ondiba, Son of Nakayama Win Big on the Roads, Noguchi Comes Up Short

by Brett Larner

Near typhoon conditions throughout Japan on Friday and Saturday brought a nationwide heat wave and strong winds on Sunday, less than ideal for a handful of major races across the country.

The biggest of them, the Olympic selection-edition Yokohama International Women's Marathon, turned into a race of attrition decided by a final kick to the new waterfront finish, Yokohama's third course in three runnings.  With all three female pacemakers running into trouble and dropping out suddenly at 8, 12 and 19 km rather than the planned 25 km, the race proceeded slower than the planned 2:22 pace, but favorites nevertheless dropped behind one by one.  After a conservative first half far behind the lead pack, 2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mara Yamauchi (Great Britain) took the lead just before 25 km.  After a big move from Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) at 31 km the race came down to three, defending champion Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) and the young Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) tailing behind leader Yamauchi.  Kizaki and Ozaki began trading surges with 3 km to go in a dramatic turn.  3 seconds behind Ozaki with one km to go, the final decision coming to a blazing move by Kizaki with 600 m meters to go that left the strong-kicking Ozaki 17 seconds behind.  Kizaki won in 2:26:32 with Ozaki, whose coach said she was dealing with anemia issues, 2nd in 2:26:49 and Yamauchi 3rd in a strong 2:27:24 after a long period of injury.  Nagao faded to a distant 4th in 2:29:43, with South African Rene Kalmer an unexpected 5th in 2:29:59.  Click here for complete Yokohama results.

Of the top three, Brit Yamauchi is the only one with better than even odds of making the Olympics.  The Japanese federation did not declare explicit criteria pre-race for securing a place on the Olympic team.  Ozaki has no chance of making the team on a 2nd-place finish, and with Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) placing 5th at the Daegu World Championships and marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and half-marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) both with their hats in the ring for the remaining two selection races Kizaki looks a little unlikely to be chosen off a 2:26 unless January's Osaka International Women's Marathon or March's Nagoya Women's Marathon play out to be unduly slow.

At the Ageo City Half Marathon, one of the world's deepest races, last year's runner-up Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), winner of last month's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier 20 km, became the first Kenyan to win an Ageo title, running a PB 1:02:27 to beat Toyo University sophomore Yuta Shitara and senior Kento Otsu、2nd and 3rd in 1:02:35 and 1:02:43.  Ondiba also broke Waseda University's streak of Ageo wins, with the top-ranked Waseda University runner, Yuki Maeda, only 4th in 1:03:16.  Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) ran 1:04:13 for 18th.  Defending women's winner Miya Nishio ran 1:13:32 to win again, improving her time from last year by 35 seconds despite more difficult conditions.  All told, 294 runners broke 70 minutes.  Click here for complete results.

Another Waseda runner, however, did score a newsworthy and unexpected win.  At the first running of the 23,000-strong Kobe Marathon, Waseda senior Takuya Nakayama, son of former national record holder Takeyuki Nakayama and largely absent from Waseda's ekiden squad throughout his university career despite running sub-29 in high school, front-ran the entire race in his marathon debut despite strong headwinds throughout the race.  Nakayama ran only 2:24:13 for the win, but his performance nevertheless resonated with Japanese fans as it evoked a strong memory of his front-running father.  Satoko Uetani (Kobe Gakuin Univ. AC) became the first women's champion in 2:40:45, outkicking veteran Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) to take the win.  59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods) had a good tune-up run for next month's Fukuoka International Marathon, running 2:49:22.  Click here for top results.

At the Nishi-Kanasa 14 km mountain road race, women's course record holder Minami Yamanouchi, 18, ran just two seconds off last year's record time, clocking 54:39 despite the conditions.  Now graduated from high school, Yamanouchi is continuing to run with a local club in her hometown of Koriyama, Fukushima, an agricultural area hard-hit by March's nuclear disaster.

Overseas, Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) came up short in her first solo race since May, 2008.  After co-leading the Netherlands' 7 Hills Loop 15 km with eventual winner Waganesh Mekasha (Ethiopia) through 5 km in 16:25 Noguchi began to feel discomfort in her left knee, reportedly stopping briefly at 11 km and splitting 17:13 for the final 5 km.  Mekasha clocked 48:32, with Meijo University ace Aki Odagiri 2nd in 49:42 by one second over teammate Ayame Takagi.  Noguchi fell to 5th in 50:23, clouding the optimism around her comeback to the marathon distance at January's upcoming Osaka International Women's Marathon.  Click here for complete 7 Hills results.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hello,

Is there really no chance of Ozaki making the Olympic team? Despite a couple of poor (by her standards) performances, it seems a bit of a waste to leave behind such a consistent marathoner. Especially a 2:23 and ex-world champs medallist.

Also, would you happen to know anything about Atsushi Sato? I was following him when dropped out of Chicago. With the Olympics coming up, will he be doing a race anytime soon to impress the selectors?
Brett Larner said…
Thanks for the comment. No, unless Ozaki runs again in Osaka or, more likely, Nagoya, there's no chance they will pick her after a poor run at this year's World Champs and a 2nd place finish here. Akaba and Kizaki would already be in line ahead of her, along with whoever is the top Japanese in Osaka and Nagoya. Sometimes the federation does make questionable calls, like choosing Mai Ito, whose coach is the federation's director of road racing, for the Daegu team over Yoshiko Fujinaga, but I don't see it happening in this case.

I haven't heard anything about Sato since Chicago, sorry.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the reply!

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Krifchin and Lemciyeh Win Kobe Marathon

The Kobe Marathon held its 7th running on Nov. 19.  19,709 runners took part in this year's race, with 600,000 people cheering them on along the course between the start at Kobe City Hall and the finish in the Kobe Harbor area which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. American Maegan Krifchin, 29, won the women's race in a course record time of 2:33:14. Khalil Lemciyeh of Morocco also broke the men's course record, winning in 2:12:49.

The Kobe Marathon is organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government and the City of Kobe. 7,500 volunteers helped runners over the course of the three days of race weekend. This year the turnaround point moved 1.25 km to the west, taking runners under Akashi Kaikyo Bridge for the first time. The final section of the course on Port Island was shortened to make up the distance. At noon at the finish area temperatures were 12 degrees with 65% humidity. 18,949 people finished the race.

At the starting ceremony in front of City Hall, a mom…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…