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Hakoyama, Ugachi Take Kumanichi as Japan's Two Big 30 km Races Line Up on Same Day

by Brett Larner

Traditionally held one week apart, the world's two top 30 km races, the Kumanichi 30 km in southern Japan and the Ome 30 km in Tokyo's mountainous western suburbs, were both held Feb. 19 this year.

With over 17000 runners in this year's field Ome has long been a popular mass-participation event along with hosting an elite race, but Kumanichi has typically been an elite-only event with only a few dozen men and a handful of women.  Keeping with the explosion of mass-participation events, this year Kumanichi incorporated a new amateur full marathon, the Kumamotojo Marathon with a field of 10000, while keeping the small elite 30 km division on a new course covering most of the marathon course.  The leading candidate for the London Olympics 10000 m squad, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) took things in stride in his second Kumanichi appearance, splitting a solo 14:25 for the first 5 km well ahead of world record pace.  Although he slowed progressively for the rest of the way, the remainder of the field was already far enough behind that they were never able to close the gap.  Ugachi took the win in a 2012 world-leading 1:30:01, a 13 second PB over the time he clocked two years as a Komazawa University senior.  In the very small women's field, Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) took 34 seconds off the course record to win in 1:43:26.  In the amateur full marathon, Jobu University alum Shota Jige won the men's race in 2:23:41, while Kazumi Sakaguchi took the women's race in 2:56:22.

Further north in Ome, rookie pro Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) pushed hard in the second half of the race to drop a pack of five.  Tamura won easily by over a minute in 1:33:26, the slowest winning time in Ome since 1979.  American Terrance Shea placed 10th in 1:38:36, advancing through the field in the final kilometers after running much of the way in 15th place.  The women's race was more aggressive, with favorite Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) following through on her pre-race plan to go after a 1:42.  Yoshida split 51:24 for the uphill first 15 km, with Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) close behind in 51:39.  She continued to widen her lead through 20 km heading onto the downhills, but then abruptly she shut down.  By 25 km Kato had a lead of 27 seconds, and by the finish her margin was over a minute.  Running an almost even race, Kato finished in 1:43:55, the fourth-fastest winning time in Ome history, while Yoshida faded to 1:45:01.

In Ome's competitive 10 km division, Kazumi Hashimoto (Team Hokuren) won the women's race in 33:18.  High schooler Kazuma Ganaha (Tokyo Nogyo Prep H.S.) won the men's 10 km in 30:50.

2012 Kumanichi Road Race
Kumamoto, 2/19/12
click here for complete results

Men's 30 km
1. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:30:01 - PB
2. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:30:43 - PB
3. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:30:50 - PB
4. Masaki Ito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:31:20 - PB
5. Taichi Takase (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:31:35 - PB

Women's 30 km
1. Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:43:26 - CR
2. Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) - 1:46:29
3. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 1:47:23

Men's Marathon
1. Shota Jige - 2:23:41

Women's Marathon
1. Kazumi Sakaguchi - 2:56:22

2012 Ome Road Race
Ome, Tokyo, 2/19/12
click here for complete results

Men's 30 km
1. Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:33:26
2. Takamitsu Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 1:34:28
3. Kota Shinozaki (Tokyo Police Dep't.) - 1:35:31

Women's 30 km
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:43:55
2. Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) - 1:45:01
3. Maiko Murayama (Team Yamada Denki) - 1:47:11

Men's 10 km
1. Kazuma Ganaha (Tokyo Jitsugyo H.S.) - 30:50
2. Ken Tochiyama (Tokyo Jitsugyo H.S.) - 30:56
3. Kajima Nakamura (Takushoku Prep H.S.) - 30:58

Women's 10 km
1. Kazumi Hashimoto (Team Hokuren) - 33:18
2. Yukari Abe (Panasonic) - 33:45
3. Shiho Yagahi (Hachioji H.S.) - 33:50

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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