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Shitara Sets Collegiate National Record, Ito and Kawauchi Blaze Fast 30 km Times in Ome and Kumamoto

by Brett Larner
Ome photos by Mika Tokairin

Kumanichi screencap by Applepie

Cold and clear weather helped bring fast times at both of Japan's major 30 km road races on Feb. 17.  At the 57th Kumanichi 30 km Road Race in Kumamoto, the site of the former 1:28:00 world record set by Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta in 2005) and a race which joined forces with the new mass-partipation Kumamoto-jo Marathon last year to ensure its own survival, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) did the seemingly impossible and fulfilled his pre-race promise of a win around 1:29:30.  Despite a spectacular 2:08:15 marathon PB two weeks ago at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Kawauchi took apart a top-notch field and outkicked the fresh 22-year-old Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) by 3 seconds for the win in 1:29:31, a new PB by 36 seconds and a record on the hillier new course introduced last year by 30 seconds. Kawauchi's time was the sixth-best in Kumanichi history, but considering the tougher course his run was right up there with the best of them.

Maruyama led eight-straight men making their debuts, 2nd in an excellent 1:29:34 but his pride no doubt stung.  3rd and 4th saw a close race between two 21-year-olds, all-time #3 Japanese half marathoner Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Toyo University ace Keita Shitara.  Both broke 90 minutes with corporate-league runner Miyawaki coming out ahead in 1:29:51 and Shitara's 1:29:55 a new collegiate national record.  Kenyan Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu), who pre-race predicted he would run near the world record, struggled to a 7th-place finish in 1:31:37 in his own debut.

The women's race was also thick with debuting athletes.  Winner Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) more than lived up to her goal of a sub-1:45, just off last year's course record with a mark of 1:43:46.  Expect to see her make her marathon debut in the near future.  Runner-up Kana Orino (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) was a surprise in 1:45:50, outrunning corporate runner Risa Takemura (Team Kyudenko) who fell short of her 1:45 goal in 1:47:05. Although the IUAU, the Japanese university federation, does not currently list a women's 30 km record, Orino's performance was of sufficient quality that it will likely be added to the list.  In the Kumamoto-jo Marathon, both of last year's winners took 4 minutes off their course records to take repeat titles, men's winner Shota Jige running 2:19:30 and women's winner Kazumi Sakaguchi 2:52:17.

In the mountains of Western Tokyo Masaki Ito of 2013 New Year Ekiden national champion Team Konica Minolta lived up to his own pre-race words and faced down former Hakone Ekiden uphill star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) to win the 47th Ome 30 km Road Race in 1:30:21 ahead of a mixed elite and mass-participation field of 15000.  It was the fastest time ever in Ome after the great Toshihiko Seko's 1:29:32 set just before his 1981 Boston Marathon victory, and one that continued a phenomenal 2013 for Ito who won his stage at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and set a half marathon best of 1:02:00 two weeks ago in Marugame.

Kashiwabara, the heavy favorite for the win among fans pre-race in his debut, did the leading through the mostly uphill first half, but on the rolling downhills of the second half Ito and teammate Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta), pulled away to knock Kashiwabara down to 3rd.  Kashiwabara's former Toyo University teammate Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Team Konica Minolta), took 4th just behind him to make it three Konica runners in the top four, all three off PBs at the Marugame Half.

American Brendan Martin, an alternate for the U.S. team at last October's Izumo Ekiden, started conservatively in the second pack but steadily worked his way up through the field to take 8th in 1:36:07. High schooler Hoshiki Tani (Kokugakuin Prep Kugayama H.S.) ran 1:39:56 for 23rd, surely a record of some sort, just outkicking 2003 Ome winner and 2:08 Olympic marathoner Kenjiro Jitsui, now 44 and a coach with Team Nissin Shokuhin, who took 24th in a quality 1:40:00.

In the women's race defending champion Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) became only the second woman in Ome history to make it two in a row as she soloed a 1:44:23 win, over two minutes ahead of runner-up Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) despite returning to Japan on Thursday from a month of altitude training in the U.S.  Last year's 10 km winner Kazumi Hashimoto (Team Hokuren) took 3rd in 1:49:19 in her 30 km debut.  Look for Kato to make her marathon debut next month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon.  Further back, the unstoppable 46-year-old Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka AC) ran 1:53:05 for 6th, a world record for the fastest 30 km ever by a woman over age 43. 2002 Rotterdam Marathon winner Takami Ominami (Yutic AC) was 9th in 1:59:06.

In the women's 10 km, local high schooler Shiho Yahagi (Hachioji H.S.) outran a pack of corporate-league women for the win in 33:22, the best-ever in Ome by a high schooler. 2011 winner Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) was 2nd in 33:34 with 30 km winner Kato's teammate Yukari Abe (Team Panasonic) 3rd in 33:41.  Keijiro Mogi (Takushoku Prep #1 H.S.) won the men's 10 km in 30:36.

47th Ome 30 km and 10 km Road Race
Ome, Tokyo, 2/17/13
click here for complete results

Men's 30 km
1. Masaki Ito (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:30:21 - PB
2. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:31:09 - debut
3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) - 1:31:49 - debut
4. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:32:20 - debut
5. Shingo Sato (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:35:19
6. Keita Seguchi (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 1:35:30
7. Norihiro Murayama (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:36:02
8. Brendan Martin (U.S.A.) - 1:36:07
23. Hoshiki Tani (Kokugakuin Prep Kugayama H.S.) - 1:39:56
24. Kenjiro Jitsui (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:40:00

Women's 30 km
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:44:23
2. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:46:24
3. Kazumi Hashimoto (Team Hokuren) - 1:49:19 - debut
6. Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka AC) - 1:53:05 - 44+ WR
9. Takami Ominami (Yutic AC) - 1:59:06

Women's 10 km
1. Shiho Yahagi (Hachijoji H.S.) - 33:22
2. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 33:34
3. Yukari Abe (Team Panasonic) - 33:41
4. Yuri Umemura (Team Panasonic) - 33:48
5. Yuri Karasawa (Josui Civic H.S.) - 34:38

Men's 10 km
1. Keijiro Mogi (Takushoku Prep #1 H.S.) - 30:36
2. Keisuke Yokota (Takushoku Prep #1 H.S.) - 30:45
3. Takeshi Okada (Koku Gakuin Prep Kugayama H.S.) - 31:16

57th Kumanichi 30 km Road Race and 2nd Kumamoto-jo Marathon
Kumamoto, 2/17/13
click here for complete results

Men's 30 km
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:29:31 - PB
2. Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:29:34 - debut
3. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 1:29:51 - debut
4. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 1:29:55 - debut, NUR
5. Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:31:04 - debut
6. Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) - 1:31:12 - debut
7. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:31:37 - debut
8. Hayato Sonoda (Team Kurosaki Harima) - 1:32:00 - debut
9. Kensuke Gotoda (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:32:48 - debut
10. Kentaro Masuda (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 1:33:40

Women's 30 km
1. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:43:46 - debut
2. Kana Orino (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 1:45:40 - debut, pending NUR
3. Risa Takemura (Team Kyudenko) - 1:47:05 - debut
4. Shizuka Kudo (Team Higo Ginko) - 1:47:21 - debut
5. Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 1:51:06

Men's Marathon
1. Shota Jige - 2:19:30 - CR
2. Takayuki Hirano - 2:21:00
3. Hiroki Ashida - 2:23:37

Women's Marathon
1. Kazumi Sakaguchi - 2:52:17 - CR
2. Toshie Kawatsu - 2:57:51
3. Yuko Yoshida - 2:59:16

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photos (c) 2013 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved


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