Skip to main content

Matsumoto, Shimizu and Yoshizumi Feature in New Taipei City Marathon

by Brett Larner


Along with the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the National University Half Marathon Championships and other domestic action, this weekend, one overseas features noteworthy elite Japanese athletes. In pursuit of an IAAF bronze label and the goal of becoming one of Asia’s premier spring marathons the New Taipei City Wanjinshi International Marathon has expanded its international field this year to include runners from nine countries, among them independents Sho Matsumoto and Yuri Yoshizumi, both running with support from JRN, and corporate league runner Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki).  A surprise addition to the field is Hokkaido Marathon course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), appearing via race sponsor Mizuno.

Three men in the field have bests under 2:09, Gudisa Shentema (Ethiopia), Hassane Ahouchar (Morocco) and Paul Kosgei (Kenya), but with none of them having approached that level in the last three years the favorite is likely David Kiprono (Kenya) with a 2:12:53 best from the 2012 Debno Marathon. Close behind is Matsumoto in 2:13:38 at last year’s Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon. Matsumoto hopes to break 2:13 for the first time, a time that should put him in contention for the win, but given the overall level of the field and the race organizers’ ambitions there's no doubt the modest 2:19:13 course record is up for serious revision no matter what happens.

Shoko Shimizu adds Japan 's piece to the puzzle of nations.

Likewise in the women’s race, where the entire field of nine elites is well under the 2:38:18 course record set last year. It looks like a very close-matched race between top three Tigisit Abidi Sheni (Ethiopia), Jeannette Faber (U.S.A.) and Shimizu, all of whom have run 2:32 within the last year and a half. Yoshizumi, the 2012 Hokkaido Marathon winner and a pure amateur who has said she hopes to become the Yuki Kawauchi of Japanese women’s marathoning, has the softest PB in the field but hopes for a breakthrough performance in her first major race of 2014.  Shimahara is returning from giving birth in 2012 and hopes to use New Taipei as a gauge of her progress.

New Taipei City International Marathon Elite Field
Taipei, Taiwan, 3/2/14

Men
Gudisa Shentema (Ethiopia) – 2:07:34 (Paris 2008)
Hassane Ahouchar (Morocco) – 2:08:47 (Valencia 2011)
Paul Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:09:00 (Carpi 2010)
David Kiprono (Kenya) – 2:12:53 (Debno 2012)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) – 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Wilson Kibet (Kenya) – 2:15:42 (Ahmedabad 2013)
Nourdine Jalal (France) – 2:14:23 (La Rochelle 2011)
Chia-Che Chang (Taiwan) – 2:15:56 (Pyongyang 2012)
Ri Yong Ho (North Korea) – 2:16:00 (Pyongyang 2013)

Women
Kiyoko Shimahara (Japan/Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido 2009)
Tigisit Abidi Sheni (Ethiopia) – 2:32:34 (Zurich 2013)
Jeannette Faber (U.S.A.) – 2:32:37 (Twin Cities 2012)
Shoko Shimizu (Japan/Team Aichi Denki) – 2:32:43 (Tokyo 2013)
Tinbit Gidey Weidegebriel (Ethiopia) – 2:34:43 (Twin Cities 2012)
Ji Hyang Kim (North Korea) – 2:35:30 (Pyongyang 2013)
Gum Hui Rim (North Korea) – 2:37:17 (Pyongyang 2013)
Tigist Worku Neri (Ethiopia) – 2:37:28 (Bucharest 2013)
Jane Fardell (Australia) – 2:37:35 (Paris 2013)
Yuri Yoshizumi (Japan/Osaka T&F Assoc.) – 2:37:56 (Hokkaido 2013)

(c) 2014 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&#…