Skip to main content

Mathathi and Makikawa Win Marugame Half, 20-Year-Old Murayama 1:00:50 for Fastest-Ever by Japanese Collegiate

by Brett Larner


Complete video of Marugame in eight parts.  Follow links in video above for rest of race.

Japan's highest-level winter half marathon, the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon took a little bit of a hit this year at the hands of the World Half Marathon Championships.  With the World Half moved to March, the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, held the third weekend of March, were bumped back a month to Feb. 16, just two weeks after Marugame.  With both the men's and women's races at the Corporate Championships counting toward World Half selection but only the men's race in Marugame counting many corporate league runners gave Marugame a miss this year, especially on the women's side.  It's no surprise, then, that only one corporate runner finished in the top four in either the men's or women's races.

Suzuki Hamamatsu AC, a former corporate team that quit the league a few years ago to let its runners focus on things other than ekidens and now occupies a unique position in the club team world, was the big winner of the day as members Martin Mathathi and, in her first half marathon, Eri Makikawa, won the men's and women's races in solid times of 1:00:11 and 1:10:27.

Mathathi, winner of December's Fukuoka International Marathon and due up to run April's London Marathon, spent most of the race locked in battle with 2013 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University's 20-year-old ace third-year Kenta Murayama. After the lead pack went through 5 km in 14:17 Murayama, who ran 1:01:19, the fastest time ever by a Japanese 19-year-old, at last year's Marugame, went to the front and opened a lead at national record pace.  At 10 km he was 4 seconds ahead of the chase pack of Mathathi, last year's winner Collis Birmingham (Australia), 2013 National University 5000 m and 10000 m champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.), 21-year-old Hiroto Inoue of Hakone Ekiden DNF-hit Yamanashi Gakuin University, and 2014 New Year Ekiden champion team Konica Minolta's ace rookie Masato Kikuchi.

Mathathi dropped the others to catch up to Murayama and the pair each other through 15 km in 42:48, seconds off the 15 km Japanese national record and on pace for the half marathon national record.  Kitonyi and Inoue were 30 seconds back, having shaken off Kikuchi and Birmingham.  Murayama stayed with Mathathi through 16 km but then faltered , the same point at which he got into trouble at last year's Marugame, the New York City Half Marathon a month later, and last month's Hakone Ekiden Second Stage. Mathathi kept on steadily to take the win in a world-leading 1:00:11, the third-fastest winning time in Marugame history and a quiet message to the competition in London.  He may be virtually out of sight here in Japan, but don't expect that to be the case come April.

But the biggest news of the race came from Murayama.  He was next across the line in 1:00:50, the third-fastest time ever by a Japanese man, the best-ever by a Japanese university runner and bettering the age 20 record held by corporate league rival Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) by 3 seconds.  A resounding follow-up to last year's Marugame and a stellar ekiden season that saw him set course records at two of the Big Three university ekidens, his time cut off more than half the distance to the national record of 1:00:25 and, having the talent, motivation and courage, with just a little more self-control in the early going he'll no doubt get there soon.

Inoue surprisingly dropped the debuting Kitonyi for 3rd in 1:01:39, the best time ever by a Japanese 21-year-old, with Kitonyi five seconds back in 1:01:44.  Kikuchi rounded out the top five in 1:01:50 as the first corporate league runner across the line, meaning that Murayama and Inoue are a lock for the World Half team along with the top one or two from the upcoming Corporate Half and, potentially, one of the top three men from last summer's National Track and Field Championships 10000 m.  Birmingham faded to 15th in 1:02:40, with a total of 26 men breaking 1:03.  American Jeffrey Eggleston narrowly missed joining them, 26th in a PB of 1:03:00.  Noteworthy further down the field was Tomoki Kawamura of 2013 National High School Ekiden champions Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S., who ran a high school national record 1:04:08 for 59th.

The women's race played out similarly, with a seven-woman lead pack at 5 km shaking down to two pairs, Makikawa and Colombian national record holder Yolanda Caballero up front and corporate league runners Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) and Misato Horie (Team Noritz) 9 seconds back by 10 km.  Makikawa and Caballero were together until after 15 km before Makikawa hit it, opening an 8-second lead by 20 km and 10 more seconds from there to the finish.  Caballero was a comfortable 2nd in 1:10:45, 15 seconds off her national record.  Takayama took 3rd in a PB 1:11:19, but further back pre-race favorite Jessica Augusto (Portugal) ran down Horie, side-by-side after 15 km and getting 4th by a lean with both women clocking 1:11:57.

68th Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Marugame, Takamatsu, 2/2/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:00:11
2. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:00:50 - PB
3. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:39 -PB
4. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 1:01:44 - debut
5. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:01:50 - PB
6. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 1:02:29
7. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:30 - PB
8. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:30
9. Taichi Takase (Team JFE Steel) - 1:02:32 - PB
10. Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:34
11. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:35
12. Wataru Ueno (Team Honda) - 1:02:39 - PB
13. Yuta Katsumata (Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:39 - PB
14. Shusei Ohashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:39 - PB
15. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:02:40
16. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:42 - PB
17. Hidehito Takamine (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:42 - PB
18. Yusuke Nishiyama (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:43 - PB
19. Ryo Shirayoshi (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:44 - PB
20. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:45
21. Naohiro Yamada (Team YKK) - 1:02:48
22. Takuya Noguchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:50 - PB
23. Shota Inoue (Team Toyota) - 1:02:51 - PB
24. Tatsumi Abe (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:55 - PB
25. Ryotaro Otani (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:57 - PB
-----
27. Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 1:03:00 - PB
59. Tomoki Kawamura (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 1:04:08 - H.S. NR
67. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 1:04:43
140. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:09:09

Women
1. Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:27 - debut
2. Yolanda Caballero (Colombia) - 1:10:45
3. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 1:11:19 - PB
4. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:11:57
5. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:11:57
6. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:12:44 - debut
7. Ayame Takaki (Meijo Univ.) - 1:13:29
8. Seong Eun Kim (South Korea) - 1:13:56
9. Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:14:03
10. Aiko Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:14:08
-----
DNF - Aleksandra Duliba (Belarus)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

yuza said…
Sub 61...that is pretty good running. I hope he keeps it going.

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Hattori Becomes Third-Straight Japanese Men's Sydney Marathon Winner

Following within 24 hours of Yuki Kawauchi's win at the BMW Oslo Marathon and Yuta Shitara's national record at the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon, Shota Hattori (Honda) made it an overseas hat trick for men from Japan's Saitama prefecture when he won the Sydney Marathon in 2:15:16. Having debuted at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon with a 2:14:19 for 2nd, Hattori outlasted Ethiopian Werkuneh Seyoum Aboye, Kenyan Sammy Kigen Korir (Kenya) and compatriot Ryoma Takeuchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) to become the third-straight Japanese men's Sydney champ, winning by a margin of 20 seconds over Aboye.

Congratulations to Shota Hattori, male winner of the Blackmores Marathon – with a time of 02:15:16. #SydneyRunningFestivalpic.twitter.com/R47w8TCG2X — SydneyRunFestival (@officialbsrf) September 17, 2017
No Japanese women made the podium in the marathon, but in the accompanying half marathon both the men's and women's races saw Japanese runners-up. In the men's …

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …