Skip to main content

Nojiri and Tsuji Win Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

Taking on increased importance as the Japanese Federation focuses on hot weather racing in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's and women's marathons, the Hokkaido Marathon featured one of its deepest men's fields in memory.  The women's field was smaller but featured at least three good up-and-coming talents.  Getting the better of them all in the mid-20s temperatures was former pro-XC skier and mountain running champion Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease), a 2:24:57 marathoner while at the Sachiko Yamashita-coached Daiichi Seimei corporate team but mostly unsuccessful since leaving to follow an Arata Fujiwara-inspired route of independent sponsorship.  In Hokkaido Nojiri easily dropped the rest of the field to win in 2:30:26, a quality mark in a typically hot race that rarely sees sub-2:30 winning times.  Debuting runner-up Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was nearly five minutes back in 2:35:10, just beating pre-race favorite Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) who took 3rd in 2:35:22.  Seemingly immortal masters' runner Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC), 44, the 1997 and 2003 Hokkaido winner, was 6th in 2:41:48.

Despite its depth the men's race played out slower than expected.  Last year's runner-up Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), coached by Japan's first 2:06 man Takayuki Inubushi, used his experience to his advantage to outdo over a half dozen runners with faster times, taking the win by more than a minute over the promising Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) in 2:15:24.  3rd through 8th came in in a tight pack that saw Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) outkick National Team member Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) for 3rd in  2:17:22.  Etsu Miyata (Arata Project), another runner to leave the corporate team system in search of independence and finding it with support from Olympian Fujiwara, was 8th in 2:17:46 in a step back from injury problems shortly after going his own way.  Look for Miyata, Fujiwara and other corporate league expatriates in Fujiwara's Arata Project club team to run November's East Japan Corporate Ekiden in a shot at making the New Year Ekiden national corporate championships.

Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/31/14
official results coming shortly

Women
1. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:30:26
2. Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:35:10 - debut
3. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:35:22
4. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:37:42 - debut
5. Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) - 2:41:00
6. Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC) - 2:41:48

Men
1. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:15:24
2. Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:32
3. Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:17:22
4. Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) - 2:17:24
5. Yuji Iwata (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:17:26
6. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:17:32
7. Takuya Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 2:17:35
8. Etsu Miyata (Arata Project) - 2:17:46
9. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:19:06
10. Shingo Igarahi (Team Subaru) - 2:19:10
11. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:19:19
12. Masaki Hori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:19:53

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Today's Race - Samuel Wanjiru Rocks the 2004 National High School Ekiden

Future Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru runs a still-standing Third Stage course record to lead Sendai Ikuei H.S. to the National High School Boys Ekiden Championships title. The team's winning time, a course record at the time, is still the second-fastest ever.

Today's Race - 2017 National High School Girls Ekiden

Sendai Ikuei H.S. and Nagano Higashi H.S. go after defending champ Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. at the 2017 National High School Girls Ekiden Championships.

Yamanashi Gakuin University Resumes Team Training, Limiting Group Size

Aiming to make a return to the Hakone Ekiden after missing out on qualifying for this year's race, on May 20 Yamanashi Gakuin University resumed team track training for the first time in a month and a half. Team practice has been suspended since Apr. 6 due to the coronavirus crisis, and since then it has been up to members to run and do strength training on their own.

Thirty athletes, about a third of the team roster, attended the May 20 session at Kawata Sports Park Field in Kofu. Another group trained separately at Midorigaoka Sports Park Field elsewhere in the city. To avoid too many people coming too close together, athletes started and ran at fixed time intervals between each other. Stretching was also done at staggered intervals, and strength training equipment was disinfected between each use.

May's Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships have been canceled, but, said ekiden team head coach Masaaki Iijima, "I want us to prepare so that we're read…