by Brett Larner
Cooler than usual temperatures helped two Kenyans, winner Francis Kibiwott and runner-up Silas Sang, take down double Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina's long-standing Nagano Marathon course record of 2:10:17 on April 15, Kibiwott setting a new mark of 2:09:05 and Sang just five seconds back in a new PB of 2:09:10. The women's race was a slower affair, but winner Pauline Wangui (Kenya) still managed a sizeable PB as she won in 2:34:22 by nearly a minute over Ethiopian Belainesh Gebre.
Kibiwott, Sang, countryman Moses Kangogo, Russian Alexey Sokolov and ultramarathon specialist Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) set off in a pack of five, but by 20 km it had whittled down to just the three Kenyans. The trio hit halfway in 1:04:28, with2:08 man Kangogo falling off after 25 km. Kibiwott and Sang were together until near the end, Kibiwott emerging on top in a hard push to the finish. Down 24 seconds at halfway, Sokolov came within four seconds of Kangogo at 40 km but could not manage to close the gap and ended up 4th, six seconds behind. Hasegawa faded badly to 2:16:03, more than five minutes behind Sokolov, but still hung on to 5th.
The women's race was more of a duel between Wangui and Gebre, the pair running together until near 35 km before Wangui was able to edge away. Top Japanese woman Sayuri Baba (Team Sekisui Kagaku) came from far behind to almost close the gap to fading 4th-placer Lauren Shelley (Australia) but came just short as she finished 5th in 2:37:38 to Shelley's 2:37:13.
2012 Nagano Marathon
click here for top 15 results and splits
1. Francis Kibiwott (Kenya) - 2:09:05 - CR
2. Silas Sang (Kenya) - 2:09:10 - PB (CR)
3. Moses Kangogo (Kenya) - 2:10:53
4. Alexey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:10:59 - PB
5. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:16:03
1. Pauline Wangui (Kenya) - 2:34:22 - PB
2. Belainesh Gebre (Ethiopia) - 2:35:19
3. Rose Kerubo Nyangacha (Kenya) - 2:36:18
4. Lauren Shelley (Australia) - 2:37:13
5. Sayuri Baba (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:37:38 - PB
(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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