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Karoki Over Tadese, Jepkesho Over Kiplagat at Gifu Seiryu Half

by Brett Larner

Tokyo-based 2014 Lisbon Half Marathon winner Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) and little-known Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) upstaged big names Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) and Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) to take the men's and women's title at Sunday's fourth edition of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon.

Tadese led through 5 km in 14:17 with Karoki relaxing two seconds back at the rear of the lead pack of Africans.  From there Karoki moved to the front, pushing the pace to a 14:06 split until by 10 km only he, Tadese and Japan-based Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele (Team Mazda) remained.  Things slowed over the next 5 km, but despite the slackened pace Karoki picked up a slight lead.  Heading into the last 5 km as temperatures rose Karoki said goodbye for good, dropping a 14:03 split from 15 km and 20 km to open his lead over world record holder Tadese to 1:14.  Closing at near-world record speed, Karoki crossed the line in 1:00:02, taking the win and Tadese's course record.  Tadese was next in 1:01:34 and Ayele 3rd in 1:01:43, his gap to Tadese never changing after he initially lost touch.

In the Japanese chase pack, just a week after his season-best 1:03:23 at the Sendai Half, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) led 2008 World Half Marathon 5th-placer Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and sub-62 man Takahiro Yamanaka (Team Honda) at a steady sub-64 pace throughout the race.  Nakao, who dropped out of last weekend's Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m, craftily tailed Kawauchi before outkicking him in the final kilometer to take the top Japanese position at 10th in 1:03:46.  Kawauchi was two seconds back in 11th, Yamanaka another four seconds behind him.  "After last week I'm really relieved that things went OK," Nakao told JRN post-race.  "I'm excited to get into marathon training now."  For his part, Kawauchi commented, "I was looking to run 63 so everything went according to plan.  Now I focus on the Gold Coast Marathon."

In the women's race, two-time World Champion Kiplagat and the unknown Jepkesho were alone virtually from the gun, 42 seconds ahead of their nearest competition, Katie McGregor (U.S.A.) by 5 km and a minute and a half ahead by 10 km. Jepkesho, with a best of only 1:11:50 compared to Kiplagat's 1:08:48 official PB and aided 1:07:41, seemed to be untroubled by racing one of the greats at PB pace, but when the pair hit 20 km almost side-by-side she threw down a kick that put 25 seconds on Kiplagat by the time each hit the finish line.  Jepkesho recorded a 57-second PB of 1:10:53, Kiplagat next in 1:11:18.

McGregor faded badly after 10 km, dropping to 6th as she was run down by Japanese athletes Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso), Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) and Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki).  Mizuguchi was the first of the trio to finish, rounding out the podium in 3rd in 1:14:31.

4th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/18/14

Men
1. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 1:00:02 - CR
2. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 1:01:34
3. Abayneh Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 1:01:43
4. Patrick Muendo Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:56 - PB
5. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 1:02:08 - debut
6. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 1:02:50
7. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:54 - debut
8. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:08
9. Dishon Karukuwa Maina (Kenya/Team Omokawa Lumber) - 1:03:38
10. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:46
11. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:48

Women
1. Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) - 1:10:53 - PB
2. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:11:18
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:14:31
4. Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) - 1:15:31
5. Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:16:05
6. Katie McGregor (U.S.A.) - 1:16:29
7. Marina Seki (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:16:33
8. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakugei Univ.) - 1:16:35
9. Rina Asano (Team Yutaka Giken) - 1:16:38
10. Mamiko Baba (Team Kojima Press) - 1:17:11

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Omokawa Lumber? What/where is that?
Anna Novick said…
The unstoppable Kawauchi!

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