Skip to main content

Maina and Okada Win Sendai Half

by Brett Larner

2012 Sendai International Half Marathon winner Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) returned to the top at this year's race, outrunning last year's winner Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and all Japanese competition for a second Sendai title.  Mogusu took the race out hard, leading Maina through 5 km before losing touch.  From there it was a one-man show as Maina soloed his way to the win in 1:01:43.  2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon winner Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda), the lone Japanese man to go in pursuit of the two Kenyans, ran down Mogusu for 2nd in 1:02:40, a PB by nearly 45 seconds.

Mogusu barely held on to 3rd in 1:03:19, with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) in close pursuit on the final lap of the track.  Kawauchi, running just a week after his 2:09:36 season best at the Hamburg Marathon, did his best to catch Mogusu but came up just short in 1:03:23 for 4th, the fastest of his eight half marathons so far this year. Newly Japan-based Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN), Kawauchi's main foreign competition for gold at this fall's Asian Games marathon, was nine seconds behind Kawauchi in 1:03:32, an apparent new Mongolian national record.

2013's fastest Japanese marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) ran a lukewarm 1:04:19 for 8th, with his 2012 equivalent Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) far back in the pack in 1:05:42 in his first race experimenting with high-mileage training. Mogusu, Kawauchi, Bat-Ochir and Fujiwara will all line up again next weekend at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon where they will face top trio Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea), Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC).

In the women's race, the young Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) made a successful debut at the half-marathon, taking the win in 1:11:27.  Okada ran a solidly even race, head-to-head with Sachi Tanaka (Sports Yamagata 21 AC) on low-1:11 pace at 10 km before getting away for the win.  Tanaka held on for 2nd in a PB of 1:11:50 far ahead of 3rd-placer Misato Horie (Team Noritz). Having just turned 20, Okada looks to have plenty of room to improve in coming seasons.

24th Sendai International Half Marathon
Sendai, Miyagi, 5/11/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu)  1:01:43
2. Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) - 1:02:40 - PB
3. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:19
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:23
5. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN) - 1:03:32 - NR
6. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:03:34
7. Shota Inoue (Team Toyota) - 1:03:52
8. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 1:04:19
9. Yudai Yamakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:04:26
10. Takuya Noguchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:32

Women
1. Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:11:27 - debut
2. Sachi Tanaka (Sports Yamagata 21 AC) - 1:11:50 - PB
3. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:13:21
4. Miya Nishio (Team Hokuren) - 1:14:58
5. Aiko Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:15:17
6. Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) - 1:16:16
7. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 1:16:51
8. Kana Unno (Team Noritz) - 1:17:57
9. Ema Harada (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:18:11
10. Eri Suzuki (Noshiro Yamamoto T&F Assoc.) - 1:18:20

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
The Open Division women's race was won by Amanda Rice, a dentist at the Atsugi US Air Force base and a member of the Namban Rengo running club. Her time was about 1:17, quite good considering that she started in the B block and it was a hot day (23C/73F before the start at 10:00).
TokyoRacer said…
BTW, the number of women in the race was 2,211.
Number of men was 8,673.

Most-Read This Week

Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the …

Yamazaki, Ndirangu, Kamulu and Shitara Top Weekend Road Racing Action

Snow and cold impacted road races across Japan over the weekend, but at the top level almost every event went off as planned. In his marathon debut, Shota Yamazaki (Yakult) downed two-time defending champ Ryoichi Matsuo and debuting training partner Takumi Honda of the locally-based New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei corporate team to take the top spot at the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon in a three-way sprint finish.

Shaking off first-timer Keisuke Tanaka (Fujitsu) late in the race, Yamazaki did all the work in the lead trio with the Asahi Kasei duo hanging off both of his shoulders. Hitting a bridge with 750 m to go Honda surged into the lead with Matsuo following. Yamazaki fell back, looking behind him with 500 m to go and seeming to have settled for 3rd. At 400 m to go Matsuo went to the front and looked to be on track to become only the second man to win Nobeoka three times, but as the pair rounded the final corner Yamazaki came back with a kick that left both his riv…

In Memory of Ken Young

I'm very saddened to hear of the passing of Ken Young, founder of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. If you're not familiar with Ken or the ARRS, Amby Burfoot's 2016 piece on him in Runners World, The Endless Toil of the Big Data Guy, says everything you need to know. Back in the early days of JRN, Ken was one of several industry people to contact me after I published JRN's first hit article, 397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon. He wanted verification of the results and, seemingly having missed Ageo before, asked me to research its history and past results.

That soon led to me transliterating results from Japanese road, track and cross-country races for him on a weekly basis, results otherwise unavailable to the outside world except for some already covered by Japanese contributors Ken Nakamura and Shigenobu Ota. For the last 10 years I've spent about 10 hours on average every Sunday night and Monday morning, sometimes Tuesday, someti…