by Brett Larner
Cancelled following last year's disasters, the Sendai International Half Marathon returned May 13 in a new format putting more emphasis on mass participation and less on the elite race with a notable absence of any foreign competition based outside Japan.
The women's division suffered when former national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) scratched earlier this week, but in her place the young Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) came through with a PB of 1:11:21 for the win over Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), dropping her late in the race after dueling much of the way. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) was a distant 3rd in 1:13:21.
In the men's race, Kenyan newcomer Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) easily won in 1:01:34, going out in front of elder teammate Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) and gradually ratcheting up his pace. The popular Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) tried to run with Gitau but soon faded back into the all-Japanese chase pack led by Olympic marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (Miki House). As Gitau faded over the final 5 km Fujiwara surged, catching him at 19 km to take 2nd in 1:03:32. Kawauchi likewised pushed hard, catching Gitau at the line but given 4th as both Gitau and Kawauchi clocked 1:03:49. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) was 5th in his first race since his breakthrough 2:09:16 PB at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.
2012 Sendai International Half Marathon
results via STITCHrunner
1. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:34
2. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:03:32
3. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:03:49
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:03:49
5. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:04:15
6. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco) - 1:04:25
7. Keisuke Wakui (Team Yakult) - 1:04:26
8. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) - 1:04:28
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:11:21 - PB
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:07
3. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:13:21
4. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:13:59
5. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 1:14:00
6. Mami Furuse (Team Kyocera) - 1:14:27
7. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:15:11
8. Miu Kato (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:15:12
(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved