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Yufu and Ichida Run Strong in New York, Hagiwara and Okuno Top Matsue and University Women's Half

by Brett Larner



2013 National University 1500 m champion Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa University) and 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka University) made their U.S. half marathon debuts at this 2014 NYC Half Marathon, invited through a partnership between Ageo and the NYC Half.  Running in frigid, windy conditions, both Yufu and Ichida sat in the second pack through much of the race, gradually increasing the pace and splitting 15:18, 14:50 and 14:45 for the first three 5 km splits as the course came out of Central Park's hills and picked up a tailwind.

As the race got going in the final 5 km Ichida, hoping to break 62 minutes for the first time, fell behind, but in the final race of his collegiate career Yufu ran head-to-head with 2014 U.S.A. half marathon champion Meb Keflezighi and American Jacob Riley until the final corner at 21 km when he kicked away to take 9th in 1:02:50.  Yufu's time was just four seconds off his best and improved on his teammate Kenta Murayama's 10th-place finish in last year's NYC Half. Ichida pushed on alone to take 12th in 1:03:11, just making the 12-deep podium.

Back home in Japan, two of Ichida's teammates at Daito Bunka Univ., identical twins Eri and Mari Tayama, factored into the 17th National University Women's Half Marathon Championships held in conjunction with the 35th running of the Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon.  Making her half marathon debut, sub-32 minute 10000 m runner Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) ran one-on-one against two-time Matsue winner Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) up front, the pair more than a minute ahead of the rest of the pack at 10 km.  In a mirror of NYC men's winner Geoffrey Mutai's big play, Hagiwara then dropped a world record-pace 15:21 split from 10 km to 15 km to put Obare away. Needless to say Hagiwara slowed in the final 5 km but still crossed the line in 1:10:17 for the win, one of the better Japanese debuts in recent years.  Obare was nearly two minutes back in 2nd in 1:11:56.

The University Half Championships occupied the battle for 3rd, where at 15 km 3rd through 11th place all clocked an identical 1:09:18 split.  Coming down to the finish corporate runner Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) had the strongest kick, claiming 3rd in 1:12:41, but just behind her Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Daito's Eri Tayama were in a virtual photo finish for the national collegiate title, both clocking 1:12:44 but Okuno getting the nod.  Corporate runners Asahi Takeuchi (Team Uniqlo) and Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) were also timed at 1:12:44, with Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) outdoing Tayama's twin Mari for bronze in the university championships division another two seconds back.  Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) won the 10 km division by more than a minute in a PB of 33:02.

Elsewhere, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won his local Saitama City Half Marathon in 1:04:49 without serious challenge as his nearest competitor, Sho Matsumoto (Arata Project) took 2nd in 1:06:17.  London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) ran the 3 km as a special guest, jogging alongside local children.

9th NYC Half Marathon
New York, 3/16/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 1:00:50
2. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:01:07
3. Stephen Sambu (Kenya) - 1:01:08
4. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 1:01:46
5. Aschalew Nigusse (Ethiopia) - 1:01:47
6. Mengistu Tabor Nebsi (Ethiopia) - 1:02:04
7. Matt Tegenkamp (U.S.A.) - 1:02:04 - debut
8. Arne Gabius (Germany) - 1:02:09 - debut
9. Ikuto Yufu (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:50
10. Meb Keflezighi (U.S.A.) - 1:02:53
11. Jacob Riley (U.S.A.) - 1:02:56 - debut
12. Takashi Ichida (Japan/Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:03:11
13. Eric Gillis (Canada) - 1:03:30 - PB
14. Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 1:03:32
15. Luke Puskedra (U.S.A.) - 1:03:32

Women
1. Sally Kipyego (Kenya) - 1:08:31 - debut
2. Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) - 1:08:59 - debut
3. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 1:09:04 - debut
4. Lisa Stublic (Croatia) - 1:09:36
5. Caroline Kilel (Kenya) - 1:10:00
6. Diane Nukuri-Johnson (Burundi) - 1:10:09
7. Hilda Kibet (Netherlands) - 1:11:37
8. Desi Linden (U.S.A.) - 1:11:37
9. Etaferahu Temesgen (Ethiopia) - 1:11:49 - PB
10. Adriana Nelson (U.S.A.) - 1:11:50
11. Askale Merachi (Ethiopia) - 1:12:19 - PB
12. Krista Duchene (Canada) - 1:12:26
13. Sarah Cummings (U.S.A.) - 1:14:10
14. Esther Erb (U.S.A.) - 1:14:46
15. Lauren Jimison (U.S.A.) - 1:14:49

35th Matsue Ladies Half Marathon
17th National University Women's Half Marathon Championships
Matsue, 3/16/14
click here for complete results

Women's Half Marathon
1. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 1:10:17 - debut
2. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 1:11:56
3. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 1:12:41
4. Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 1:12:44 - PB
5. Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:12:44 - PB
6. Asahi Takeuchi (Team Uniqlo) - 1:12:44 - debut
7. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:12:44
8. Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) - 1:12:46 - PB
9. Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:12:52 - PB
10. Akiko Hatayama (Team Daihatsu) - 1:12:56 - PB

Women's 10 km
1. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 33:02 - PB
2. Kaho Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 34:10 - debut
3. Yukari Ishizawa (Team Edion) - 34:18 - debut
4. Michiru Otsuki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 34:24 - debut
5. Kazumi Hashimoto (Team Hokuren) - 34:58

2014 Saitama City Half Marathon
Saitama, 3/16/14
click here for complete results

Men' Half Marathon
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:49
2. Sho Matsumoto (Arata Project) - 1:06:17
3. Kazuki Tsuchiya (Shiraoka RC) - 1:06:59
4. Yusuke Kodama (Team Commodity Ida) - 1:07:34
5. Hideyuki Ikegami (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 1:08:15

(c) text and photos 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anna Novick said…
excellent runs! There was a great clip on ABC live streaming of Yufu and Ichida running head to head with Meb. お疲れ様でした!
Brett Larner said…
All-time top ten Japanese men's half marathons run in U.S.:

1. 1:01:48 - Yuta Shitara (NYC 2012)
2. 1:02:02 - Kenta Murayama (NYC 2013)
3. 1:02:28 - Yasuaki Yamamoto (Philadelphia 1999)
4. 1:02:50 - Yoshinori Oda (Virginia Beach 2007) and Ikuto Yufu (NYC 2014)
6. 1:02:59 - Yoichiro Akiyama (Virginia Beach 2005)
7. 1:03:11 - Takashi Ichida (NYC 2014)
8. 1:03:15 - Kento Otsu (NYC 2012)
9. 1:03:50 - Noritaka Fujiyama (Virginia Beach 2009)
10. 1:03:57 - Kazuhiro Matsuda (San Diego 2003) and Takayuki Matsumiya (Virginia Beach 2010)

All results from NYC were by university runners.

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