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Kato and Obare Win Matsue Ladies' Road Race, Yiu Breaks Own Hong Kong NR

by Brett Larner

2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) topped what may have been the deepest women's half marathon ever run on Japanese soil, running 1:10:36 to win the last big race of the Japanese season, the 36th running of the Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon.  After a relatively conservative first half splitting 33:42 at 10 km Kato pushed the pace relentlessly, cutting the lead group down to a trio with Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) and Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) by 15 km and dropping both by 20 km to win by 11 seconds.  Takami was next in 1:10:47, Inoue rounding out the top 3 in 1:11:02.

Matsue also served as the National University Women's Half Marathon Championships, this year acting as the selection race for the team for this summer's World University Games where Japanese women have medalled every time since 1985 including a sweep of the podium in 2009.  Five collegiate women led by Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) were in contention for the three spots on the team at 15 km, but by 20 km Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) and Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) had dropped off, leaving Uehara, Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) and Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) to battle it out over the last km.  Uehara took the national title in 1:11:19, Kanno next in 1:11:24 and Izumida another 2 seconds behind for 3rd.

Altogether 60 women broke 1:17, likely the most ever on Japanese soil.  Among them, Hong Kong's Kit Ching Yiu ran 1:14:55 for 34th, taking nearly 2 minutes off the national record she set at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon.  Another record came in the 10 km division where two-time Matsue Half winner Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) set a course record 32:37.  Hitachi runners took three of the top five spots.

36th Matsue Ladies' Road Race
18th National University Women's Half Marathon Championships

Matsue, Shimane, 3/15/15
click here for complete results

Half Marathon
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:10:36
2. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 1:10:47
3. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 1:11:02
4. Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 1:11:19
5. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:11:24
6. Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - 1:11:26
7. Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 1:11:28
8. Mami Onuki (Team Sysmex) - 1:11:37
9. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:11:44
10. Miharu Shimokado (Team Shimamura) - 1:12:09
-----
34. Kit Ching Yiu (Hong Kong) - 1:14:55 - NR

10 km
1. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 32:37 - CR
2. Reina Hayashida (Team Uniqlo) - 33:10
3. Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) - 33:16
4. Reno Okura (Team Hokuren) - 33:25
5. Kana Kurosawa (Team Hitachi) - 34:20

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
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Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
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Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
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Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
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Aug. 2…