Skip to main content

Gamera 2:22:09 Ukrainian NR for 3rd-Straight Osaka Women's Win - Chepyego Sets Osaka Half Marathon CR

by Brett Larner

Two-time defending champion Tetiana Gamera ran a 2:22:09 Ukrainian national record to win a third-straight Osaka International Women's Marathon in the race's 34-year history.  Gamera went to the front heading out of the park around Osaka's Nagai Stadium and onto the roads before 5 km, challenged only by the last woman to win Osaka before her, 2012 champ Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya).  In that race Shigetomo ran 2:23:23, more than 30 seconds up on Gamera's 2:23:58 best from her 2013 win, but without a sub-2:30 from Shigetomo since then the odds did not look to be in her favor.

Shigetomo and Gamera pushed the pace to near 2:22-flat while a chase pack of eight led by 38-year-old Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) and 39-year-old Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) ran closer to 2:24-25 pace.  With a sub-2:22:30 requirement for auto selection to the 2015 Beijing World Championships team Shigetomo and Gamera hit the half in 1:11:15, but at the 180' turn just after halfway Gamera threw in a 3:16 km that dropped Shigetomo for good.

In her three previous runs at Osaka Gamera dropped negative splits with the fastest second half and final 2.195 km in the field.  Despite running the first half 25 seconds faster than her half marathon PB this time she somehow found the drive to do it again, covering the back half in 1:10:54 and the last 2.195 km in 7:18, both the best in the field, for the win. Only Japanese national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) had ever run faster to win Osaka, with a 2:21:18 on the tougher old version of the course back in 2003.

Shigetomo didn't initially slow, simply unable to follow Gamera's sheer power.  Behind her, Prokopcuka and Japan's Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu), a training partner of 2014 100 km World Championships silver medalist Chiyuki Mochizuki making her marathon debut as part of Osaka's new Next Heroine development program, worked together to close the gap to Shigetomo.  When they pulled within 40 seconds Prokopcuka threw in a surge that got rid of Kido and put her ahead of Shigetomo into 2nd just after 30 km.

Shigetomo, in obvious discomfort, slowed, but Kido stalled as she was hit with the last 10 km of a marathon for the first time and stopped advancing.  Prokopcuka pushed on for 2nd in 2:24:07, on at least one list the fastest time ever by a 38-year-old woman, while behind her Shigetomo bit down and hung on to 3rd, her 2:26:39 time not a good marker of how gritty her run really was.  Not surprisingly far off the Federation's Beijing standard, Shigetomo was still faster than the 2:26:57 winning time run by Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon selection race in November. Barring a spectacular Nagoya Women's Marathon in March the Federation's selection procedure will likely happen inside a black box, but considering that Shigetomo's coach Yutaka Taketomi is in charge of the Federation's women's marathoning program you have to figure she has a leg up in the process.

Kido looked set for 4th but was overtaken late in the game by Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion), a promising first-timer two years ago in Osaka who has struggled since then.  Like Shigetomo's run, Watanabe's 2:28:36 was a semi-comeback.  Kido came through in 5th in 2:29:08, the top first-timer and as expected leading the Next Heroine contingent.  Ozaki took 7th in 2:29:56, missing the Japanese age 39 record by seconds but happy with a return to sub-2:30 territory.

In the accompanying Osaka Half Marathon, 2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) ran together with teammate Misaki Kato, both breaking the course record with Chepyego getting the win over Kato by 6 seconds in 1:09:43.  For Chepyego it was a solid tune-up for her marathon debut next month in Tokyo.  For Kato it was her first time under 70 minutes after a promising 1:10:44 debut at the 2013 Great North Run with support from JRN.  The men's race in the half marathon was also between teammates as 2012 winner Takaaki Koda (Team Asahi Kasei) returned to the top with a 1:04:02 win by 4 seconds over Kenichi Shirashi.  Like Chepyego, Shiraishi is also scheduled to run Tokyo.

34th Osaka International Women's Marathon
Osaka, 1/25/15
click here for complete results

1. Tetiana Gamera (Ukraine) - 2:22:09 - NR
2. Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) - 2:24:07
3. Risa Shigetomo (Japan/Tenmaya) - 2:26:39
4. Yuko Watanabe (Japan/Edion) - 2:28:36
5. Chieko Kido (Japan/Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:29:08 - debut
6. Rika Shintaku (Japan/Shimamura) - 2:29:27 - PB
7. Mari Ozaki (Japan/Noritz) - 2:29:56
8. Yukiko Okuno (Japan/Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) 2:32:41 - debut
9. Shoko Mori (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:34:28 - PB
10. Kanae Shimoyama (Japan/Noritz) - 2:35:26 - debut
11. Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/YWC) - 2:36:29
12. Hisae Yoshimatsu (Japan/Shunan City Hall) - 2:39:48
13. Eri Tayama (Japan/Daito Bunka Univ.) - 2:39:53 - debut
14. Hiroko Miyauchi (Japan/Hokuren) - 2:41:29
15. Bornes Jepkirui (Kenya) - 2:41:47
16. Azusa Nojiri (Japan/Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:42:16
17. Sakiko Matsumi (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 2:43:01
-----
DNF - Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC)
DNF - Melkam Gizaw (Ethiopia)

18th Osaka Half Marathon
Osaka, 1/25/15
click here for complete results

Women
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 1:09:43 - CR
2. Misaki Kato (Japan/Kyudenko) - 1:09:49 - PB
3. Ai Inoue (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:26
4. Saki Tabata (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:12:39
5. Madoka Nakano (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:49

Men
1. Takaaki Koda (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:04:02
2. Kenichi Shirashi (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:04:06
3. Shusei Ohashi (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:04:16
4. Naoto Miyagawa (Japan/Aichi Seiko) - 1:04:20
5. Shota Atsuchi (Japan/Sumitomo Denko) - 1:04:35

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…