Skip to main content

Mathathi Headlines 2012 Sapporo International Half Marathon Elite Field

By Brett Larner

The organizers of the 2012 Sapporo International Half Marathon have released the elite invited field of eight men and eight women for this year's 55th running, scheduled for July 1.  The 1:30 p.m. start time in recent years has meant slower times, but Sapporo remains Japan's deepest summer road race and always delivers.

At the top of the men's field is Kenyan great Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), who set a searing course record of 58.56 on the aided Great North Run course last fall.  Sapporo will be Mathathi's next step along a course to a planned marathon debut at this December's Fukuoka International Marathon.  Alongside him are 2011 Fukuoka winner Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.), national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), and London Olympic marathoners Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express), both of whom set half marathon bests at February's Marugame International Half Marathon.

London Olympics women's marathon alternate Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) tops the women's list, where she will face the likes of 2012 National University Half Marathon champion Ayame Takagi (Meijo Univ.), 2012 Sendai International Half Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) and 2011 Ichinoseki International Half Marathon winner Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC).

Look for additional noteworthy names to surface unexpectedly in both the men's and women's general elite field, typically not announced prior to the race.  Check back closer to race date for more information on live coverage of this year's Sapporo International Half Marathon.

55th Sapporo International Half Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 7/1/12

Men
Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 58:56a (Great North Run 2011)
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:00:25 (World Half 2007)
Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:01:07 (Ras Al Khaimah 2010)
Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:01:34 (Marugame 2012)
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 1:01:41 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2009)
Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 1:01:54 (Marugame 2012)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 1:02:17 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2009)
Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:02:32 (Marugame 2002)

Women
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:08:11 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2008)
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:09:23 (Sanyo Women's 2011)
Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:10:03 (Sanyo Women's  2011)
Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 1:10:50 (Marugame 2011)
Ayame Takagi (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:10 (Nat'l Univ. Women's Half 2012)
Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:11:21 (Sendai 2012)
Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) - 1:11:22 (Ichinoseki 2011)
Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:43 (Miyazaki Women's 2010)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Kawauchi Outruns 103 Teams to Win Yashio Isshu Ekiden

2017 London World Championships marathon 9th-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) gave local club and high school runners something to remember when he ran Sunday's Yashio Shinai Isshu Ekiden solo against 103 six-runner teams. Kawauchi spent most of the 20.0 km race in 2nd, briefly taking the lead at the end of the 3.9 km Second Stage before falling behind after a Third Stage course record run by Kotaro Minowa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.).

Down 13 seconds, Kawauchi came back to split a time 14 seconds faster for the 2.7 km Fifth Stage than its fastest ekiden runner, Yusei Otsuki (Kasukabe H.S. A). Now ahead of Matsudo and out front alone, Kawauchi saved his biggest running for last, dropping a 2:40 final km to split 14 seconds under the 12:34 course record for the 4.0 km anchor stage. Desperate to catch him, Matsudo anchor Shunsuke Matsui went 6 seconds under the old record to become its official new holder but couldn't match Kawauchi's closing speed.

Kawauchi's…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men