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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

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