by Brett Larner
complete results coming soon
Three major half marathons across Japan started off the morning of Mar. 4 in style. At the 63rd Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Komazawa University graduate Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) ran a solo 1:01:25 course record, the all-time #8 Japanese mark on an unaided course and bettering the 1:01:31 mark set by Fukatsu's former Komazawa teammate Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) last month at Marugame. Fukatsu ran together with Kenyans Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) and Dishawn Karukuwa Maina (Team Aisan Kogyo) before dropping them in the second half of the race to win by over a minute. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) won the women's 10 km in 33:09, with Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) winning the high school boys' 10 km in 29:38.
At the Shizuoka Sunpu Half Marathon, Shinichi Yamashita (Takigahara SDF Base) won in a conservative 1:04:58 over Teikyo University's Katsunori Watanabe and Takuma Tamura, but the race was most noteworthy for the half marathon debut of 27:38 track ace Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin). Sato clocked only 1:06:50, saying afterward that he is not in good condition but is hopeful of regaining form in time to earn an Olympic A-standard in the 10000 m this spring.
The deepest-ever half-marathon finish, beginning with Toshikatsu Ebina in 1:02:23.
Fukatsu's CR aside, the biggest half marathon results of the day came in Tachikawa, Tokyo at the National University Men's Half Marathon Championships. Takushoku University second-year Kenyan Duncan Muthee took the race out fast at 1:00:40 pace, with a large group of Japanese students near 1:01-flat pace not far behind. Times slowed somewhat, but Teikyo University second-year Toshikatsu Ebina managed to keep it moving well enough to win in an apparent course record of 1:02:23, with teammate Yudai Yamakawa making it a Teikyo 1-2 in 1:02:36. The top thirteen student athletes all broke 1:03, and the depth of the field was record-setting. Although complete official results are not yet available, Waseda University reported one of its runners had finished in 1:06:11 in 211th place. If true, it appears that for the first time in history more than 200 runners may have broken 1:06 in one race. The previous record of 188 came at the 2005 Ageo City Half Marathon, Japan's major fall university half. These results will be confirmed and this story updated once complete results are available.
(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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