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

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …