Skip to main content

Gokaya and Watanabe Win 2013 Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner



With Japan's premier summer marathon bringing back its elite field this year, corporate league runners Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) scored their first marathon wins, taking the men's and women's Hokkaido Marathon titles in 2:14:26 and 2:29:13 on Aug. 25 in Sapporo.

Following an early break by Shingo Igarashi (Team Subaru) and by 2010 Nobeoka Marathon winner Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta), Gokaya, who finished 7th at the 2011 Chicago Marathon in 2:12:15, ran in a dense lead pack through 35 km before turning it on, grinding down Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to open a margin of 19 seconds before crossing the finish line.  Tsuji, the only runner to try to stay with Gokaya, was a comfortable 2nd in 2:14:45, 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack led by Shimoju, who held off past Gold Coast Marathon winner Dickson Marwa (Tanzania) in the last sprint for 3rd in 2:15:15.  Early leader Igarashi faded over the second half to a 2:18:22 finish in 14th after splitting 1:06:18 at halfway.  Men's 59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC), now age 64, ran a strong 2:49:08 ahead of a bid for the age 64 record at October's Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Watanabe, left off the Moscow World Championships marathon team despite a good run at the Osaka International Women's Marathon in January, ran against 2013 Gold Coast Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and 2013 Berlin Half Marathon 3rd-placer Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) until 25 km before moving ahead, slowing after a 1:13:30 first half but still scoring a rare sub-2:30 time in Hokkaido thanks in part to solid pacing support from two-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya/Lights AC).  Akaba, seemingly putting a training run effort, was 2nd in 2:32:10 with Ito within hailing range in 2:32:54 for 3rd. Defending champion Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) took more than a minute off her winning time from last year but could do no better than 5th in 2:37:56.  Following a sadly familiar pattern, London Olympian Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya), 2:23:23 a year and a half ago in Osaka, ran only 2:51:55.

2013 Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/25/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:14:26
2. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:14:45
3. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:15:15
4. Dickson Marwa (Tanzania) - 2:15:17
5. Akinori Iida (Team Honda) - 2:15:20
6. Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) - 2:15:22
7. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:15:50
8. Yu Chiba (Team Honda) - 2:16:17
9. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:16:31
10. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:16:42
-----
Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) - 2:49:08
DNF - Gezahegne Abera (Ethiopia)

Women
1. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:29:13
2. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:32:10
3. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:54
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:37:01
5. Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:37:56
6. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:41:40
7. Aki Otagiri - 2:41:49
8. Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 2:45:52
9. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:46:20
10. Akane Wakita - 2:48:20
11. Haruna Kira - 2:48:39
12. Tsegay Abebech (Ethiopia) - 2:50:10
13. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 2:51:55
DNF - Gebregessese Roman (Ethiopia)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Weekend Road Racing Preview

Sunday's Saitama International Marathon leads a busy weekend of women's racing across the country. 4th in August's London World Championships marathon, last year's winner Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) returns to lead the tiny elite field of six internationals and two domestic women. Cheyech's strongest competition is Japan's Reia Iwade (Dome), the former under-20 marathon record holder who abruptly quit the Noritz corporate team earlier this year to go the solo route. Whether her new situation finds her ready to go remains to be seen. Close behind and maybe a more likely bet to stay with Daniel is Shitaye Habtegebrel (Ethiopia). Iwade, Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and any other Japanese women in the general elite field will have the chance to qualify for Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials race if they go under 2:29:00.

Starting 30 minutes after the elite women, Saitama also features a coed mass participation field. Local poster boy Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov&#…