Skip to main content

Kariuki Sets Okukuma Half Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

In a period that sees many of Japan's long-standing small elite races folding or changing to mass-participation formats the Okukuma Road Race, launched in 2013 in one of the most conservative areas of southern Japan, is something of a throwback, a small race of around 100 men with an accompanying high school boys' 10 km and women restricted to 5 km because, well, that's how they roll in Kumamoto.

In its third edition, Kyushu-based Kenyan John Kariuki (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) led the top four at the Okukuma Half Marathon under last year's course record for the win in a new record of 1:03:16.  Essentially unchallenged, Kariuki had a lead of around 10 seconds at 10 km and held that margin to win by 13 seconds over London Olympics marathoner Ryo Yamamoto (SGH Group) with Shun Inoura, an alternate for Komazawa University's Hakone Ekiden runner-up team, another 3 seconds back in 1:03:32.

Still recovering from a sprained ankle a few weeks back, Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 9th in 1:04:44 after running the early part of the race with Yamamoto.

Results were less noteworthy at the 39th edition of the Chiba Marine Half Marathon east of Tokyo.  Yuki Iwasaki (Sekino Reform) took a close men's race over Shota Yamada (Chiba T&F Assoc.) in 1:06:16 to 1:06:17, while Kyoko Koyama led a Juntendo University sweep of the top four places in the women's race in 1:18:40.  The best result in Chiba came in the women's 10 km, where Chiaki Morikawa (Starts) won in 34:28.

3rd Okukuma Road Race
Kumagun, Kumamoto, 1/18/15
complete results coming shortly

Men's Half Marathon
1. John Kariuki (Kenya/Daichi Kogyo Univ.) - 1:03:16 - CR
2. Ryo Yamamoto (SGH Group) - 1:03:29 (CR)
3. Shun Inoura (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:32 (CR)
4. Rei Hashimoto (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:35 (CR)
5. Daisuke Watanabe (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:37
6. Naoki Hasegawa (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:41
7. Shun Yamamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:43
8. Ryusei Yoshinaga (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:55
9. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:44
10. Kenichi Kawano (Kurosaki Harima) - 1:04:50

H.S. Boys' 10 km
1. Satoshi Nakao (Chiharadai H.S.)

Women's 5 km
1. Yuki Yokoishi (Shiraishi H.S.) - 16:42

39th Chiba Marine Half Marathon
Chiba, 1/18/15
complete results coming eventually

Women's Half Marathon
1. Kyoko Koyama (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:18:40
2. Saori Imamura (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:19:56
3. Miki Kobayashi (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:20:07

Men's Half Marathon
1. Yuki Iwasaki (Sekino Reform) - 1:06:16
2. Shota Yamada (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 1:06:17
3. Yatsuya Itagaki (JP Post) - 1:06:31

Women's 10 km
1. Chiaki Morikawa (Starts) - 34:28

Men's 10 km
1. Jun Sugimura (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 31:41

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …