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Sakai Over Tanigawa in 1:02:54 for Tamana Half Win

http://mainichi.jp/sports/news/20150309k0000m050030000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

At the 66th Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon on Mar. 8 starting and finishing in front of Tamana City Hall in Kumamoto, invited athlete Koichi Sakai (Team Fujitsu) scored his first win in 1:02:54.  Just 4 seconds back in 2nd was Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta), with Keijiro Mogi (Team Asahi Kasei) 3rd.  Still recovering from an injury to his left calf two weeks ago, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 24th in 1:06:37.

Sakai won the race with an early move.  "I don't have much speed, so if it comes down to a last kick I can't win," he said of the surge he threw in at 17 km to pull away from the seven-man lead pack and open a 4-second lead over Tanigawa.  With a thick and chunky build unusual for a distance runner, the 28-year-old Sakai has had success as a road racer ever since his days at Komazawa University.  Sakai was not one of Fujitsu's starting members for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships, but in today's race, he said, "I was in good shape."  Sakai's next race is April's Nagano Marathon where he is targeting his PB of 2:14:29.

Kawauchi commented, "I lost touch with the lead group in the first half.  The last part was decent, but my overall time wasn't as good as I expected so I need to rethink my goals for next week's Seoul International Marathon."

66th Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon
Tamana, Kumamoto, 3/8/15
click here for complete results

Men's Half Marathon
1. Koichi Sakai (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:54
2. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:58
3. Keijiro Mogi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:11
4. Kazuki Iwanaga (Team Kyudenko) - 1:03:22
5. Kento Otsu (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:29
-----
24. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:06:37

Women's Half Marathon
1. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:17:01

Women's 10 km
1. Erika Ikeda (Team Higo Ginko) - 33:20
2. Kyoka Nakagawa (Kumamoto Shinai Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 33:25
3. Rina Yamashita (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 33:44
4. Yuka Koga (Juhachi Ginko) - 34:04
5. Haruna Maekawa (Juhachi Ginko) - 34:11

High School Boys' 10 km
1. Yuma Eda (Kokura H.S.) - 30:17
2. Yusuke Baba (Kuma Kogyo H.S.) - 30:17
3. Takeshi Nishida (Fukuoka Kogyo H.S.) - 30:18

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