Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ngandu Outkicks Kawauchi for Takashimadaira 20k Title

by Brett Larner
photo by paul

A day after the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai brought world record-setting depth to the 20 km distance, Tokyo played host to another 20 km road race packed with collegiate talent, the Takashimadaira Road Race.  Up front, former Nihon University ace Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza), Aoyama Gakuin University's Shunsuke Ishida and, seven days after running 2:11:40 for 2nd at the Melbourne Marathon, the indefatigable Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) traded the lead not far off course record pace through the first three loops of Takashimadaira's perfectly flat four-corner 5 km course.  Ishida lost on the last loop, leaving Ngandu and Kawauchi to battle it out.  In the last km the bar chain-sponsored Ngandu's kick proved too much as he pulled away for the win in 59:14.  Kawauchi was close behind in 59:17, with Ishida falling back to 59:33 for 3rd.  Kawauchi time, which tied the top Japanese time at the Yosenkai, translates to close to 1:02:30 for the half marathon, a time which would be the second-fastest of his career and which signals his return to peak fitness ahead of next month's ING New York City Marathon.

Five days before Takashimadaira, Ishida's Aoyama Gakuin University team finished 5th at the Izumo Ekiden where it was the defending champion.  Running Takashimadaira with many of its junior and second-string runners, AGU dominated the race with seven men in the top ten, Yuhi Akiyama joining Ishida under the hour mark.  Its ten-man combined time of 10:03:41, run without most of the team's best members, was almost a minute faster than Yosenkai winner Tokyo Nogyo University, spelling good things for the rest of AGU's season.  Next up is the Nov. 3 National University Ekiden Championships.

38th Takashimadaira Road Race
Takashimadaira, Tokyo, 10/20/13

Men's 20 km
1. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 59:14
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 59:17
3. Shunsuke Ishida (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 59:33
4. Yuhi Akiyama (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 59:54
5. Masato Endo (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:05
6. Soshi Takahashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:25
7. Shun Yamamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:26
8. Ryo Hashimoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:35
9. Tomoya Yui (Tokai Univ.) - 1:00:38
10. Ryota Motegi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:38

Women's 20 km
1. Mitsuko Hirose - 1:14:15

Men's 10 km
1. Shun Kurihara - 29:41

Women's 10 km
1. Haruka Yamaguchi - 34:42

text (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 paul
all rights reserved

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