Skip to main content

National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, a National Record Shot, Kawauchi's 2014 Marathon Debut and More - Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

Three races fill out a busy weekend across Japan.  The biggest is the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, bumped from its regular home in mid-March by this year's World Half Marathon Championships and serving as the last selection race for the men's and women's teams in Copenhagen.  Corporate-league Kenyans Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Seiko) and Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) for the top group of some of Japan's best current half-marathoners, including sub-62 men Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei).  For the last few years it has taken a run into the all-time Japanese top ten to be the first Japanese man across the line at the Corporate Championships, and with Komazawa University junior Kenta Murayama having run an all-time #3 1:00:50 to make the Copenhagen team two weeks ago in Marugame it's a good bet that the best of the corporate system will be looking to go one better.  Click here for a complete men's entry list.

For the fourth year the women's race is split between a 10 km and half marathon.  Leading the half are two sub-70 women, last year's 3rd-placer Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) and 2012 winner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), but there is plenty of competition just behind.  Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) and up-and-coming women Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei), Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu), Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko), Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) and Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) all have solid shots at both the win and the World Half team.  Takechi's teammate Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), the road 10 km collegiate national record holder, is the favorite to win the 10 km division.  Click here for women's half marathon and 10 km entry lists.

Speaking of collegiate national records, the Kumanichi 30 km Road Race hosts what should end up being the weekend's most exciting race.  Last year Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University's captain Keita Shitara set the 30 km collegiate record of 1:29:55 in a thrilling four-way battle won by Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) in 1:29:31.  This year nine of the best university runners are lining up at Kumanichi to try to better that.  Toyo's Yuma Hattori and Ryu Takaku go up against Komazawa University captain Shinobu Kubota and his 2013 National University Half Marathon champion teammate Shogo Nakamura, 2012 National University Half Marathon winner Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.), 2012 Hakone Ekiden winner Nittai University ace Takumi Honda and others, with another half dozen or so corporate league runners there as sparring partners.  Kawauchi will also be there but rather than defending his Kumanichi title has opted to open his 2014 marathon season in the event's accompanying amateur-level marathon where he will be looking to better the 2:19:30 course record set last year by fellow civil servant runner Shota Jige (Kumamoto Pref. Gov't).

West of Tokyo there's one other elite-level 30 km race on the schedule, one of Japan's most popular road races, the Ome 30 km and 10 km Road Race.  With heavy snow currently falling in Tokyo and scheduled to last into Saturday it's a question mark whether Ome will go off, but if so it will see the 30 km debut of 5000 m collegiate record holder Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko), finally taking long-awaited steps toward a marathon debut.  The Fujitsu and Konica Minolta corporate teams are again sending several of their top young members to run Ome in pursuit of the invitation to run April's Boston Marathon available to the Ome winner, with Komazawa University graduate Hiromitsu Kakuage and teammate Takuya Noguchi (both Team Konica Minolta) looking like the favorites to challenge Takezawa.  Independent Eri Okubo (Miki House) leads the small women's 30 km division.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…

Krifchin and Lemciyeh Win Kobe Marathon

The Kobe Marathon held its 7th running on Nov. 19.  19,709 runners took part in this year's race, with 600,000 people cheering them on along the course between the start at Kobe City Hall and the finish in the Kobe Harbor area which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. American Maegan Krifchin, 29, won the women's race in a course record time of 2:33:14. Khalil Lemciyeh of Morocco also broke the men's course record, winning in 2:12:49.

The Kobe Marathon is organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government and the City of Kobe. 7,500 volunteers helped runners over the course of the three days of race weekend. This year the turnaround point moved 1.25 km to the west, taking runners under Akashi Kaikyo Bridge for the first time. The final section of the course on Port Island was shortened to make up the distance. At noon at the finish area temperatures were 12 degrees with 65% humidity. 18,949 people finished the race.

At the starting ceremony in front of City Hall, a mom…