Skip to main content

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

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

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
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…