Skip to main content

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.

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 …