Skip to main content

24-Year-Old Sano Wins Nobeoka in Marathon Debut

by Brett Larner

Screencap by @Nakajima_LA. Click to enlarge.  Many more screencaps on Nakajima's feed and on the Nobeoka Facebook page.

For the third weekend in a row Japanese audiences were treated to a great marathon broadcast as 24-year-old Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) made a superlative debut Feb. 10 at the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon in Miyazaki, outkicking 2009 Ome 30 km winner and fellow debutant Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) over the final kilometer to win in 2:12:14, the 4th-fastest winning time in Nobeoka's 51-year history.

Perfect weather and outstanding mid-2:11 pacing by Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) kept a large pack together near course record pace until Kiname's departure at 25 km.  Although the pace began to slip, the numbers up front thinned over the next 5 km before a surge at 30 km by full-time-working Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC) dramatically culled the numbers.  Three first-timers, Sano, Kurosaki and Kazuaki Shimizu (Team Yakult), and 2:13 man Etsu Miyata (Team Fujitsu) went with Matsumoto with a smaller pack a few seconds behind.

Sano and Kurosaki began to trade surges, eliminating Matsumoto and Miyata, but the remaining trio soon got company from another first-time marathoner, Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki). Sano and Kurosaki continued to trade the lead, but a decisive move from Sano with 1 km to go put him out front for good and he crossed the line 8 seconds ahead of Kurosaki.  Hirayama and Shimizu also broke 2:13, making four 2:12 debuts in the top four to continue the great momentum generated by last weekend's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.  Of note: Beppu-Oita top two Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) split 6:32 and 6:52 for the final 2.195 km in their duel.  Sano and Kurosaki went 6:31 and 6:40 in theirs.

Matsumoto held on for 5th in 2:13:38, a PB by more than 5 minutes.  A native of Miyazaki, Matsumoto attended a minor running university and ran the Hakone Ekiden once on the Kanto Region Select Team.  Now 27, he lives in Saitama prefecture and works full-time at a company in Shinjuku.  Nobeoka was his fourth marathon in 3 1/2 months following a 2:19:26 PB at the Oct. 28 Oikawa Marathon, a 2:18:59 PB at the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon, and a training run-effort 2:21:58 two weeks ago at the Jan. 28 Katsuta Marathon. All of which sounds very familiar.  It looks as though Japan may have another self-training, full-time-working independent from Saitama on the rise.

51st Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 2/10/13
click here for complete results

1. Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) - 2:12:14 - debut
2. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:22 - debut
3. Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 - debut
4. Kazuaki Shimizu (Team Yakult) - 2:12:49 - debut
5. Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC) - 2:13:38 - PB
6. Etsu Miyata (Team Fujitsu) - 2:14:09
7. Yoshinori Sugimoto (Team Aichi Seiko) - 2:14:11 - debut
8. Keiji Akutsu (Team Subaru) - 2:14:46 - debut
9. Takuya Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 2:16:17 - debut
10. Mitsutaka Imura (Komori Corp.) - 2:16:57 - debut
-----
12. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:17:59 - debut
18. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:19:50

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …