Skip to main content

Kitajima and Hakoyama's Wins in Nobeoka Lead Weekend Marathon Results

by Brett Larner

With favorite Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) operating at less than 100% due to injury and illness last month and his rival Tomoya Adachi (Team Asahi Kasei) a late scratch after coming down with a bad fever just before the race Sunday's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon was wide open for its 53rd running.  18 men including Kawauchi went through halfway in 1:04:57, on track for a shot at the 2:11:05 course record, before the field began to thin.  Born just three days apart and both making their marathon debuts at age 30, Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Norikazu Kato (Team Yakult) emerged to break away together, running side by side until nearly 35 km before Kitajima, braving 30 km/hr headwinds, broke free to take the win in 2:12:28.

Kato faded more than a minute off Kitajima's pace to take 2nd in 2:13:34, just holding off 23-year old Hiroki Yamagishi (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) who was another 20 seconds back in 3rd.  For the first time in its history Nobeoka also featured a women's race, Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) leading the field of 27 with a 2:39:34 win.

Kawauchi, on the mend from a bad ankle sprain in late December followed by a cold, said pre-race that he hoped to make top eight and followed through with an 8th-place finish in 2:15:16, tying Ethiopian great Abebe Mekonnen's world records of 34 career sub-2:16 marathons and 36 career sub-2:17s.  Kawauchi plans to break both records at next weekend's Kochi Ryoma Marathon.

Wind was also a major issue at one of the weekend's high-level marathons further up the Kyushu coast.  In its first edition last year the Kitakyushu Marathon saw winning times of 2:17 and 2:31.  Defending men's champion Shinji Tateishi (Fukuoka T&F Assoc.) led early, but with changing weather mid-race he rounded the 31 km turnaround to face a sustained headwind of over 40 km/hr and temperatures falling to near freezing over the entire final seaside 11 km.  Unable to fight the wind he fell to an 11th-place finish in 2:39:15.  In his place, Koichiro Yamanaka, a bronze medalist in the marathon at the Deaflympics, stepped up to take 1st in 2:29:41.  Women's winner Chika Tawara, a 2:40:00 marathoner, collapsed from exhaustion and the cold after crossing the line in 2:51:11.



To the east in Shikoku the men's race at the 53rd Ehime Marathon went out at course record pace before fading with likewise worsening conditions.  Local Sohei Wada, a former member of the disbanded Shikoku Denryoku corporate team, outlasted his corporate and university competition to win in 2:21:42.  In the women's race 22-year-old Marie Yamakawa, a student at the local Matsuyama University, took the win in her marathon debut in 2:43:33.

Next to Nobeoka, the weekend's fastest results came far to the northeast in Iwaki, Fukushima.  Cancelled last year due to heavy snow, this year's Iwaki Sunshine Marathon saw Shun Suzuki (Nanyo City Hall) and Yuki Konno (Musashino Gakuin Univ.) battle it out over a tough, hilly course to both break the course record.  Suzuki got the win in 2:19:01 with Konno, set to join the Comody Iida corporate team in April after his graduation, just back in 2:19:20.  New Zealand's Victoria Beck won the women's race in 2:47:38 by a margin of nearly 4 minutes.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…