by Brett Larner
Alongside the Tokyo Marathon, three important half marathons took place on Feb. 26.
At the oldest of them, the 61st Kashima Yutoku Road Race, talented amateur Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) had a breakthrough with a 1:12:35 course record in the women's half marathon. Daito Bunka University first-year Takashi Ichida had a comfortable 25-second win over Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai runner-up Yusuke Sato (Nihon Univ.), running 1:04:20 to Sato's 1:04:45 in the men's race. Hakone champ Toyo University's Koshi Watanabe was close behind Sato in 3rd in 1:04:48.
Pro Keita Baba (Team Honda) outkicked Ichida's teammate Junji Katakawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) to win the 6th Fukaya Half Marathon, 1:04:41 to 1:04:46. Honda runners also took the 3rd and 4th places. Rina Kurosawa (Tamagawa Univ.) won the women's race in 1:15:30.
The biggest half marathon results of the weekend came at the 34th Yomiuri Inuyama Half Marathon. Running solo, 10000 m national champion Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) beat Yoshitomi's Yutoku time with a strong 1:11:59, just off her PB. In the men's race Shogo Nakamura and Kensuke Gotoda of Hakone Ekiden runner-up Komazawa University took the top two men's spots, running 1:03:26 and 1:03:49.
(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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