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20 Year-Old Kamada Wins Hida Takayama 100 km Ultramarathon

by Brett Larner

Almost 2500 people started the fourth edition of Hida Takayama Ultramarathon on Sunday, both its 71 km and 100 km divisions featuring a tough series of hills peaking out at 1345 m, around 800 m above the start point, on scenic road courses through the mountains of Gifu prefecture.  Good weather meant new men's and women's records in both distances.

A second-year ekiden team member at Ryutsu Keizai University, alma mater of marathon great Daniel Njenga and sub-27 track runner Josphat Ndambiri, 20 year-old Hiroumi Kamada made the news of the day in the 100 km, taking almost 18 minutes off the event record to win in 7:41:25 in his ultramarathon debut.  Kamada was so dominant that runner-up Wataru Iino, also under the course record, was nearly 15 minutes back in 7:55:49, with previous course record holder Kaname Miyagi a distant 3rd in 8:05:41.  Painfully shy during the award ceremony, in response to the MC's questions Kamada said, "It wasn't hard.  It was fun."  He later tweeted, "Stairs are impossible.  My legs are gonna explode." 

In the women's race 2014 winner Makiko Nakamura came back to also take a big chunk off the event record, winning in 8:50:05 more than 8 minutes up on the record.  Her margin of victory was even more commanding than Kamada's, nearly half an hour ahead of Yumiko Sakagami who took 2nd in 9:19.45.

The 71 km division saw a course change that cut the distance from last year's 72 km, but even taking that into account the shorter of the day's two division saw performances far beyond what Hida Takayama has seen to date.  In the men's race Kaoru Higashida led the top four well below the 5:19:22 event record, winning in an outstanding 4:47:30, 4:03 per km on a course with major hills.  2nd-place Kazuhiro Muto was over 10 minutes behind him in 4:58:09, just outrunning previous course record holder Kenichi Tanaka whose 4:58:32 was well beyond his record-setting run last year but only good enough for 3rd.

Likewise in the women's race, the top three all significantly bettered the 6:37:42 event record even taking the shortened distance into account.  Yuko Kanemoto took 1st in 6:12:48, collapsing and disoriented just after finishing, two-time winner and previous course record holder Naoko Matsushita only 2nd despite a major improvement to 6:17:59.  Masako Ogata took 3rd in 6:25:55.

4th Hida Takayama Ultramarathon
Takayama, Gifu, 6/7/15
click here for complete results

Men's 100 km
1. Hiroumi Kamada - 7:41:25 - CR
2. Wataru Iino - 7:55:49
3. Kaname Miyagi - 8:05:41
4. Tetsuya Fukui - 8:13:03
5. Kuniharu Hiyama - 8:15:01
6. Yuichi Sawahara - 8:17:00

Women's 100 km
1. Makiko Nakamura - 8:50:05 - CR
2. Yumiko Sakagami - 9:19:45
3. Mieko Sugiura - 9:58:48
4. Kiyomi Kaji - 10:16:08
5. Haruka Odachi - 10:24:39
6. Ayumi Sano - 10:35:45

Men's 71 km
1. Kaoru Higashida - 4:47:30 - CR
2. Kazuhiro Muto - 4:58:09
3. Kenichi Tanaka - 4:58:32
4. Yoshitaka Taniguchi - 5:07:35
5. Takuya Ikoma - 5:15:18
6. Yuji Oshima - 5:33:45

Women's 71 km
1. Yuko Kanemoto - 6:12:48 - CR
2. Naoko Matsushita - 6:17:59
3. Masako Ogata - 6:25:55
4. Kiyoko Kozawa - 6:44:30
5. Satomi Goto - 6:46:14
6. Mayuka Haruta - 6:50:49

text and photos (c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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