Skip to main content

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!

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.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…