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Katayama Runs World-Leader at Lake Saroma 100 km; Women's Champ Mochizuki Wins 50 km Overall

by Brett Larner

Japan's premier ultramarathon, the Lake Saroma 100 km and 50 km, saw its 27th running on Sunday, June 24. The 100 km was largely a battle of familiar faces on both the men's and women's sides, as national team stalwart and 2011 4th-placer Yoshikazu Hara moved up to take the win over last year's runner-up Hideo Nojo in 6:33:32.  Nojo improved on last year's mark but was still over two minutes behind Hara, running 6:35:52.

In the women's race defending champion Naomi Ochiai was only 4th in 7:56:42, but 2011 runner-up  Shiho Katayama took over 20 minutes off her time from last year to win in a world-leading 7:33:38.  Last year's 50 km division winner and former corporate marathoner Yuka Ezaki made a good transition to the 100 km distance, finishing 5th in 8:04:02.

The most surprising action came in the 50 km, where 25-year-old Chiyuki Mochizuki (Canon AC Kyushu), the two-time Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon women's division winner, outran men's division newcomer Fumito Matsuda for the overall win by less than a minute, clocking 3:25:43 to Matsuda's 3:26:42.

27th Lake Saroma Ultramarathon
Lake Saroma, Hokkaido, 6/24/12

Men's 100 km
1. Yoshikazu Hara - 6:33:32
2. Hideo Nojo - 6:35:52
3. Takayoshi Shigemi - 6:43:55
4. Takahiro Shimamoto - 6:49:15
5. Masakazu Takahashi - 6:58:19

Women's 100 km
1. Shiho Katayama - 7:33:38
2. Mai Fujisawa - 7:53:31
3. Yukiko Oda - 7:54:24
4. Naomi Ochiai - 7:56:42
5. Yuka Ezaki - 8:04:02

Men's 50 km
1. Fumito Matsuda - 3:26:42
2. Yoji Takahashi - 3:49:29
3. Hiroki Murakami - 3:57:19

Women's 50 km
1. Chiyuki Mochizuki - 3:25:43
2. Yuko Kikui - 4:13:30
3. Tae Kawano - 4:16:38

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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