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Kirwa Breaks Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

2014 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) was back in Japan at Sunday's hot Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, pulling along Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) and Paskalia Kipkoech (Kenya) through the early kilometers but on her own by 30 seconds before halfway and rolling on unchallenged to a new course and national record of 1:09:37.  Baysa was likewise on her own in 2nd in 1:10:37, while Brianne Nelson (U.S.A.) ran down Kipkoech late in the race for 3rd in 1:12:43.  Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) took top Japanese honors at 5th in 1:13:47.

On the men's side, former Team Toyota runner James Rungaru (Kenya) likewise pushed things early in his return to Japan, killing off favorite Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) with an opening 5 km of 14:17 that put him 10 seconds ahead of the chase group including past winner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Rungaru slowed in the final 5 km but was out of range of the chasers and took the win in 1:02:21, Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) coming in just 6 seconds back and Mathathi another 13.  Another Suzuki runner, last year's top Japanese finisher Yusei Nakao, ignored the fast early pace and ran almost even splits throughout the race to run down a half dozen faster starters and catch Kenta Matsumoto (Team Toyota) in the final kilometer, his 1:03:34 putting him 6th and top Japanese again with the fastest final kilometer split in the entire field.

5th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/17/15
complete results available shortly

Women
1. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:09:37 - CR, NR
2. Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) - 1:10:37
3. Brianne Nelson (U.S.A.) - 1:12:43
4. Paskalia Kipkoech (Kenya) - 1:12:51
5. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 1:13:47
6. Kaori Yoshida (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 1:14:28
7. Marta Tigabea (Ethiopia) - 1:15:18
8. Hiroko Shoi (Denso) - 1:15:27
9. Marina Seki (Aichi Denki) - 1:15:55
10. Shoko Shimizu (Aichi Denki) - 1:16:57

Men
1. James Rungaru (Kenya) - 1:02:21
2. Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:27
3. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:40
4. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 1:02:50
5. Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:03:31
6. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:34
7. Kenta Matsumoto (Toyota) - 1:03:38
8. Ben St. Lawrence (Australia) - 1:03:41
9. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:52
10. Ryota Matsushima (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:06
-----
24. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:06:16
DNF - Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia)

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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