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Kisorio Wins Deepest-Ever Marugame International Half-Marathon

by Brett Larner

Like other races across the country, the 2012 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon was fortunate to have ideal conditions for a historic men's race.  Sub-59 Kenyan Matthew Kisorio had little trouble with the win, running a minute ahead of Japan-based Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) but missing both the course record of 59:48 and Samuel Wanjiru's Japanese all-comers' record of 59:43 after a fast first half.  Gitau, a graduate of Nihon University, ran in a chase trio together with his successor at Nihon, Benjamin Gandu and pro Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko), narrowly outkicking both as both he and Gandu recorded strong new PBs.  Further back, a second trio of Japanese men Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota), Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) likewise worked together, all three recording massive new PBs.

Kubota, the winner of this year's Hakone Ekiden Ninth Stage, made a move late in the race to drop Komazawa grad Takabayashi and 2010 Ottawa Marathon course record setter Fujiwara, but in the final kick both proved stronger than the university runner.  Takabayashi, the only one to have broken 62 minutes previously, took nearly 30 seconds off his best as he ran 1:01:31.  Fujiwara, virtually invisible over the last year with serial injuries, was a shock as he took 43 seconds off his six-year-old PB.  Kubota, a 20-year-old sophomore, was an ever bigger shock as he took more than three minutes off his best to mark the best-ever time by a Japanese runner under age 22 and the 2nd-fastest ever by a Japanese collegiate runner on a record-elligible course.  Close behind him was another 20-year-old sophomore, Keita Shitara of Hakone Ekiden winners Toyo University, 14th in 1:01:45 in his half marathon debut, the all-time 3rd-best Japanese collegiate time.  Kubota's teammate Hiromitsu Kakuage (Komazawa Univ.), the #2 Japanese half marathoner of 2011, also went under 62, 20th in 1:01:56.  Altogether this year's Marugame was the deepest quality half marathon in history, with 24 men sub-62, a record 47 under 63 minutes, another record of 76 under 64 minutes, and time-for-place records extending even deeper.

Fan favorite Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) also had a big day, running a 22-second PB to finish 27th in 1:02:18.  Based on the ratio of his PBs last year, 1:02:40 in Marugame and 2:08:40 in Tokyo, Kawauchi needed to run under 1:02:21 to have a shot at his goal of a 2:07 in Tokyo at the end of the month.  It looks like all systems go, but with Fujiwara pulling out an unexpectedly great comeback run and World Championships track runner Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) likewise running a sub-62 PB ahead of his marathon debut in Tokyo it looks as though the Olympic marathon team spot up for grabs in Tokyo could be very tough to secure.

In the absence of Kenyan Sarah Chepchirchir in the women's race Ethiopian Tiki Gelana had even less trouble than Kisorio in scoring the win, running a nearly two-minute PB of 1:08:48 to take the race by almost two minutes over marathoner Kaoru Nagano (Team Univ. Ent.).  Along with Nagao, the top three Japanese women all ran sub-71 PBs, with five Japanese women altogether breaking 71 minutes.  Meijo University star Sayo Nomura was perhaps the biggest surprise, 3rd overall in a PB of 1:10:34.

2012 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Marugame, 2/5/12
click here for complete results

1. Matthew Kisorio (Kenya) - 1:00:02
2. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:02 - PB
3. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:01:03
4. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 1:01:06 - PB
5. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 1:01:31 - PB
6. Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 1:01:34 - PB
7. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:38 - PB
8. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:42 - PB
9. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 1:01:44 - PB
10. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya) - 1:01:44
22. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:01:58 - PB
27. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:02:18 - PB
29. Rachid Kisri (Morocco) - 1:02:21
54. Dmytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine) - 1:03:14
65. Alistair Cragg (Ireland) - 1:03:39
DNF - Cosmas Ondiba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.)

1. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 1:08:48 - PB
2. Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 1:10:32 - PB
3. Sayo Nomura (Meijo Univ.) - 1:10:34 - PB
4. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:10:37 - PB
5. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:10:39
6. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:10:48
7. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:11:40
8. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:11:45
9. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:51
10. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 1:11:52

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Anonymous said…
Hello, any idea how Atsushi Sato did? Thanks in advance!
Brett Larner said…
Looks like Sato was a DNS.
yuza said…
It is hard to imagine that a man could run 62:18 in a half marathon race and finish 27th!

It is kind of depressing, but as fast as some of the times were by the men, most of them are still not quite fast enough to be competitive on the world stage.

Thanks for the responce to my previous question on another thread.
Anonymous said…
Are we sure this was an accurate course. So many fast times ...
Brett Larner said…
As far as I know there was no course change this year. Marugame is a certified course and an IAAF silver label event.

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