by Brett Larner
complete results coming shortly
Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the 29th running of the world's fastest ultra, Hokkaido's Lake Saroma 50 km and 100 km Ultramarathon. Predicted temperatures over 25C meant probable slow times on the course that hosts both the men's and women's 100 km world records, but that did not stop defending men's 100 km winner Hideo Nojo (New Balance) from going for it. An opening split of 36:03 for the first 10 km put him right on the cusp being on track to break 6 hours, but while that was clearly not going to be sustainable Nojo pushed on ahead of Takahiro Sunada's 6:13:33 world record pace until nearly halfway before the heat got the better of him. Slowing to close to 45 minutes per 10 km by 70 km, Nojo rallied late in the race and went back under 40 minutes for the final 10 km to take the win in 6:40:15, three minutes slower than his winning time last year but a world lead by seven and a half minutes.
Women's winner Chiyuki Mochizuki (Canon AC Kyushu), the 2012 and 2013 Lake Saroma 50 km winner, started more conservatively in her 100 km debut, going out at 7:57 pace for the first 10 km before picking it up. Like Nojo she slowed after halfway, but not long after 60 km she stabilized to just over 49:00 per 10 km, a pace she held all the way to her 7:55:09 finish. Based on the strength of their performances, both Mochizuki and Nojo will likely lead the Japanese team for November's 100 km World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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