Skip to main content

Horiguchi Leads Japanese Men in Chicago, Hasegawa in Twin Cities

by Brett Larner

Takashi Horiguchi in last year's Chicago Marathon. Follow Horiguchi on Twitter. Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter

Long one of the races of choice for Japanese athletes looking to run a fast time overseas and the home of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 Japanese national record, for the second year in a row the Chicago Marathon is playing host to a group of developmental-level Japanese men.  This year's group is a step above last year's, including one 2:09 man, one 2:10, one 2:11 and two 2:12 runners.

The Japanese federation has said that a sub-2:08 in any of the Majors will put the runner into the stable for next year's Moscow World Championships marathon squad, but of the men in Chicago only veteran Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) looks to be in contention.  After taking eight years to break his 2:12:06 debut time Horiguchi has been on a roll for the last year and a half, PBing twice and becoming one of eight Japanese men so far this year to have broken 2:10 with a 2:09:16 in cold rain at Lake Biwa in March.  He trained all summer with teammates Masakazu Fujiwara and Suehiro Ishikawa, both of whom ran 2:11 in Berlin last week, but is reportedly in better shape.  Sub-2:08 is a stretch, but even a sub-2:10 should ultimately put him into contention for Moscow.  It should be interesting as well to see how he stacks up against 2:09:55 American favorite Dathan Ritzenhein.

Team Toyota captain Takeshi Kumamoto was one of the many to come close to adding to Japan's sub-2:10 tally this spring with a 2:10:13 in his debut at the Tokyo Marathon.  If he and Horiguchi or another of the Japanese men in Chicago manage to cross that barrier it will make 2012 the fourth year that Japan has seen ten or more sub-2:10 performances.  Apart from Japan only Kenya and Ethiopia have ever had ten sub-2:10s in a year, making it a worthy sub-goal behind the federation's somewhat optimistic sub-2:08 WC selection criterion.  Like Kumamoto having debuted in the spring, the Takaoka-coached Hiroki Kadota (Team Kanebo) and 23-year-old Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) will most likely be looking to at least equal their 2:12 debuts, possibly providing a carrot for the 2:12-2:15 Americans in the field to chase.

Next to Horiguchi Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) is the most experienced marathoner among the Japanese men, having progressed steadily since his 2:16:37 debut in Nobeoka in 2009 to a 2:11:52 best at this year's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.  His dynamic style has always suggested the potential for something more, so a breakthrough would not be especially surprising.  One other 2:12 Japanese man, Team Chugoku Denryoku ace Naoki Okamoto, was originally on the Chicago entry list but is instead running the Oct. 6 World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria.

Also worth a mention in the context of their Japanese connection are Kenyan 2012 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon winner Samuel Ndungu and 2012 Dubai Marathon runner-up Lucy Wangui Kabuu, also of Kenya.  Ndungu has been a strong presence on the Japanese scene for several years with the Aichi Seiko corporate team, winning his debut at Lake Biwa in a solid 2:07:04 despite the rain.  Kabuu is a graduate of Aomori Yamada H.S., having spent time on the Suzuki team before heading out to make her fortune on the roads.

The same day as Chicago, the JR Higashi Nihon team's Kiyokatsu Hasegawa will make his U.S. debut in the Twin Cities Marathon through the assistance of JRN.  Hasegawa has taken the unusual approach among corporate runners of spending time developing his endurance in ultras before making a serious move to the marathon, winning the 2011 Lake Saroma 100 km in 6:31:06 to end the year as the third-fastest man over 100 km.  Despite this achievement and his 1:02:26 best for the half marathon Hasegawa's three marathons to date have all come in the 2:15-2:16 range, but in the Twin Cities he is hopeful of running 2:12-2:13, a time which could put him into contention for the win.  Follow Hasegawa on Twitter here.

Chicago Marathon Elite Japanese Athletes

click here for complete Chicago elite field listing

Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda)
Born: Sept. 26, 1979 in Saitama

PBs
Marathon: 2:09:16 (2012 Lake Biwa)
Half marathon: 1:02:32 (2002 National Corporate Championships)
10000 m: 28:07.57
5000 m: 13:52.56

Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota)
Born: January 6, 1984 in Hyogo

PBs
Marathon: 2:10:13 (2012 Tokyo Marathon)
Half marathon: 1:02:29 (2007 National Corporate Championships)
10000 m: 28:54.88
5000 m: 13:54.66

Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel)
Born: Aug. 25, 1984 in Shimane

PBs
Marathon: 2:11:52 (2012 Beppu-Oita)
Half marathon: 1:03:21
10000 m: 28:42.69
5000 m: 13:58.74

Hiroki Kadota (Team Kanebo)
Born: May 1, 1985 in Kochi

PBs
Marathon: 2:12:25 (2012 Beppu-Oita)
Half marathon: 1:02:35 (2011 Marugame)
10000 m: 28:34.94
5000 m: 13:52.68

Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru)
Born: Jan. 16, 1989 in Tochigi

PBs
Marathon: 2:12:52 (2012 Nobeoka)
Half marathon: 1:03:01
10000 m: 29:12
5000 m: 14:17


Twin Cities Marathon Elite Japanese Athlete

Kiyokatsu Hasegawa Team JR Higashi Nihon)
Born: Apr. 2, 1983 in Iwate

PBs
100 km: 6:31:06 (1st, 2011 Lake Saroma)
Marathon: 2:15:05 (2010 Tokyo)
Half marathon: 1:02:26 (2008 Sendai)
10000 m: 28:45.23
5000 m: 14:05.93

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…

28:45 High Schoolers and More - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF has unilaterally declared track season over. But in Japan fall track is an integral part of ekiden season training, and it's not unusual to see many athletes drop their best 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m times of the year between October and December. Case in point, this weekend.

The biggest news came at Saturday's Nighter Time Trials in Nagasaki, where Keiho H.S. 11th-grader Hiroto Hayashida ran 28:45.75 for 6th in the 10000 m, all-time #8 among Japanese high school boys and #2 among 11th-graders. "Thank you to everyone who supported me!" Hayashida said on Twitter post-race. "I want to take this and apply to it ekiden season now." Geoffrey Gichia (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) won in 28:36.36, with Jakarta Asian Games marathon gold medalist Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:37.27.

ナイター記録会(諫早)

林田洋翔選手(瓊浦2)
28:45.75

県高校記録更新おめでとうございます🎉 pic.twitter.com/V7navKw6HQ — manamin (@kinokonoko0916) October 13, 2018
At Niigata's Autumn Time Trials a unique women's 50…