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Sydney Marathon, Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half and Dam tot Damloop - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Races in Australia, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands on Sunday featured Japanese corporate league athletes.  At the Sydney Marathon, both the men's and women's races saw the top two broke the existing records for a challenging course full of hills and turns.  In the men's race, Ethiopia's Gebo Gameda shook free of compatriot Seboka Dibaba Tola to break Yuki Kawauchi's 2:11:52 course record, Gameda getting the new record in 2:11:18 with Tola just squeezing under Kawauchi's time in 2:11:48.  Kenyan Benjamin Koloum Kiptoo likewise shook off track and half marathon star Tsuyoshi Ugachi of two-time New Year Ekiden national champion team Konica Minolta for 3rd in 2:12:08. 

Ugachi ran a PB of around a minute for 4th in 2:12:18, a decent time given the course and one that puts him 22nd among Japanese men for the year.  It is widely thought in Japan that Ugachi's dynamic and aggressive form will make it hard for him to find the marathon success to match his all-time Japanese top five 10000 m and half marathon bests of 27:40.69 and 1:00:58, but his Sydney performance is a step in the right direction and at least moves him up to solidly national class.  Whether he goes further remains to be seen.

In the women's race, course record holder Beruktait Eshetu of Ethiopia soloed a three minute+ improvement on her own mark, winning in 2:29:42 despite stomach trouble that caught up with her immediately after finishing.  Kenyan Jane Jepkogei Kiptoo faded from Eshetu relatively early but held on the clear Eshetu's old record by over 30 seconds for 2nd in 2:32:08.  Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu), winner of February's inaugural Kitakyushu Marathon, was about the same distance off the old record, making the podium in 3rd in 2:33:19.

Hours later at the U.S.A.'s Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Tokyo-based DeNA RC ringer Bedan Karoki (Kenya) continued the buildup to his not-too-distant marathon debut with a 59:23 PB for the win, the second-best winning time in event history.  Women's winner Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) had a relatively easy time of it, taking 1st by nearly a minute over Caroline Rotich (Kenya) in 1:08:39.

Japanese performances in Philly almost perfectly mirrored the results at last weekend's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon and the U.K.'s Great North Run a week earlier.  As in both of those races, the women performed well-to-decently, Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) coming through in 5th just a second off her best in 1:11:03, well ahead of two-time National Corporate Champion Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), 7th in 1:12:05, and teammate Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku).

And again, as at GNR and UNL, it was not clear why the men were even there.  The phenomenon was even more extreme in Philadelphia, where Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) and Yuki Yagi (Team Asahi Kasei), all with sub-1:02 PBs, ran 1:06:19, 1:06:44 and 1:09:03 respectively.  As at the Great North Run, one of them was beaten by the women's winner.  A bad race happens here or there, but put the results of the eleven athletes at the three races together.  Four had PBs in the 1:01 range, five had 1:02 and two had 1:03.  In these three races one ran 1:03, one ran 1:04, six ran 1:05, two 1:06 and one 1:09.  The lone Japanese athlete at the Netherlands' Dam tot Damloop 10-miler, low-62 half marathoner Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team NTN) performed on about the same lackluster level, taking 14th in 49:00 in a race won in 45:45 by John Mwangangi (Kenya).  When there is a consistent pattern of over 80% of your athletes performing this badly it's time to raise questions about the professionalism and motivations of the people involved.  And not just the athletes.

Sydney Marathon
Sydney, Australia, 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Gebo Gameda (Ethiopia) - 2:11:18 - CR
2. Seboka Dibaba Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:11:48 (CR)
3. Benjamin Koloum Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:12:08
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi  (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18
5. Abdellah Tagharrafet (Morocco) - 2:16:56
-----
6. Atsushi Hasegawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:19:08

Women
1. Beruktait Eshetu (Ethiopia) - 2:29:42 - CR
2. Jane Jepkogei Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:32:08 (CR)
3. Yuka Yano (Japan/Team Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:33:19
4. Zemzem Ahmed Deko (Ethiopia) - 2:39:46
5. Yumi Sato (Japan/Tsuruoka T&F Assoc.) - 2:55:20

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon
Philadelphia, U.S.A., 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Women
1. Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 1:08:39
2. Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 1:09:21
3. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 1:09:36
4. Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 1:11:01
5. Miho Ihara (Japan/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:11:03
6. Kara Goucher (U.S.A.) - 1:11:39
7. Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:12:05
8. Adriana Nelson (U.S.A.) - 1:12:45
9. Yuko Shimizu (Japan/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:13:20
10. Aliphine Tuliamuk Bolton (Kenya) - 1:13:20

Men
1. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 59:23
2. Cybrian Kotut (Kenya) - 59:58
3. Geoffrey Bundi (Kenya) - 1:01:25
4. Wilfred Kimitei (Kenya) - 1:02:08
5. Dejen Gebremeskel (Ethiopia) - 1:02:34
6. Yonas Mebrahtu (Eritrea) - 1:02:58
7. Sam Chelanga (Kenya) - 1:02:58
8. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 1:03:00
9. Gabe Proctor (U.S.A.) - 1:03:03
10. Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 1:03:12
-----
19. Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:06:19
20. Masato Kihara (Japan/Team Kanebo) - 1:06:44
32. Yuki Yagi (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:09:03

Dam tot Damloop 10 Miler
Zaandam, Netherlands, 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. John Mwangangi (Kenya) - 45:45
2. Nguse Amlosom (Eritera) - 45:47
3. Kinde Atelaw (Ethiopia) - 45:52
4. Josphat Bett (Kenya) - 46:22
5. Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 46:33
-----
14. Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Japan/Team NTN) - 49:00

Women
1. Linet Masai (Kenya) - 53:09
2. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 53:57
3. Hilda Kibet (Netherlands) - 54:25
4. Almensch Belete (Belgium) - 56:14
5. Adero Nyakisi (Uganda) - 56:32

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Metts said…
Totally agree, but not to make excuses, in other articles in RT etc. it has been said that Japanese corporate sponsors seem less concerned about overseas results except for the Olympics and WC's. Not an excuse for sure. Maybe Japanese sponsors need to hold the pros accountable for overseas races if they are going to pay for them to go there and race.

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