Skip to main content

Kiplimo Over Imai at Foggy Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon

by Brett Larner

Little-known Abraham Kiplimo became the first Ugandan winner in the 63-year history of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, taking four minutes off his best to outrun two of Japan's best marathoners of 2013 for the win in 2:09:23.  Tokyo-area club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) joined him in the books with the women's win in 2:41:56.

In the almost complete absence of Beppu-Oita's usual wind, thick fog blanketed the course for most of the race.  After irregular pacing for the first 10 km things settled down near the mid-2:08 target pace with a large pack of over twenty men up front.  With a 2:08:00 at last year's Tokyo Marathon making him Japan's fastest marathoner last year, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) was the favorite, but at 25 km he became the race's first major casualty as he gradually lost touch with the pack.  Top-ranked first-timers Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) and Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) were next at 28 km before a surge at 30 km from Watanabe's teammate, 2:10:29 man and former Hakone Ekiden star Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), broke things apart.

Taking things down to a 2:55 km, Imai went out front with only Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir and Kiplimo in pursuit.  Ethiopian Gezahegn Abera closed the gap to make it a quartet by 32 km, with teammates Kenichi Shiraishi and Takaaki Koda (both Team Asahi Kasei) and the great Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) making up a chase trio.  The lead group sparred for the next 2 km before a hard surge from Kiplimo got rid of Abera and opened a gap on Bat-Ochir and Imai. Imai took his time passing Bat-Ochir and moving forward, alternately closing the gap to leader Kiplimo and falling back.  At 38 km he was 15 seconds back, but from there he began to close for good, 8 seconds down at 41 km and 5 seconds back with 500 m to go.  The gap proved too far to close and Kiplimo got the win in 2:09:23, Imai taking 59 seconds off his best for 2nd in 2:09:30.

In the race for 3rd, Shiraishi and Koda dropped Njenga and passed Abera in short order. Closing on Bat-Ochir, Shiraishi, who won last month's Oita City Half Marathon ahead of his marathon debut on much of the same course, surged hard to go past Bat-Ochir into 3rd. He held on to that position to cross the line a great debut time of 2:10:36, Bat-Ochir 4th in 2:10:59, just his second time under 2:11:00 after winning December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in 2:09:00.  Koda looked set for 5th, but in the last kilometer he was run down by former Komazawa University star Soji Ikeda (Team Yakult), who had fallen off the pack mid-race but kept pushing on and running down casualties to outrun Koda 2:11:12 to 2:11:21.  All told it was a good start to the year for Japanese men's marathoning, with three more competitive marathons due up in the next four weeks.

Back in the masses, Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.), the youngest brother of Beppu-Oita course record holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.), ran a large PB of 2:21:48 for 32nd, almost tying middle brother Yoshiki Kawauchi's best and bringing him closer to joining his oldest brother sub-2:20.  59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) had a good debut as a 65-year-old as he ran 2:49:01, the fifth-fastest time ever by a 65-year-old.

63rd Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
Oita, 2/2/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Abraham Kiplimo (Uganda) - 2:09:23 - PB
2. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:09:30 - PB
3. Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:36 - debut
4. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia) - 2:10:59
5. Soji Ikeda (Team Yakult) - 2:11:12
6. Takaaki Koda (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:21
7. Jason Mbote (Kenya) - 2:12:44
8. Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:12:46 - debut
9. Gezahegn Abera (Ethiopia) - 2:13:08
10. Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 2:13:50
11. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 2:14:28
12. Yu Chiba (Team Honda) - 2:14:36
13. Kazuaki Shimizu (Team Yakult) - 2:14:57
14. Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:15:27
15. Tomohiko Takenaka (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:15:28 - PB
-----
32. Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.) - 2:21:48 - PB
427. Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) - 2:49:01

Women
1. Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) - 2:41:56
2. Miyuki Kaneko (AC Kita) - 2:53:35
3. Tomoka Oba (Kasumigaoka AC) - 2:55:42

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Jonathan Musere said…
Congratulations Abraham Kiplimo, for signifying Uganda on the map.
A look back in history:

"On February 17th 1963, 28 year-old Toru Terasawa of Japan reduced Ethiopian Abebe Bikila’s world record by less than a second to 2-15:15.8 during the Beppu-Oita Marathon held on the Kyushu Island in Japan."
Anonymous said…
Before this race, Imai told reporters that he does not wish to be called "Yama no Kamisama" any more but to be referred as a marathon runner. The transformation of Imai has started and look forward to his continued development as a marathon runner.

Most-Read This Week

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…