Skip to main content

Kajiwara Gets 2016 Off to Fast Start, Kawauchi and Yoshitomi Break Ibusuki Nanohana CR - Weekend Road Race Highlights

by Brett Larner
additional results coming shortly

The 2016 road race reason got started early in Japan with at least four quality half marathons and one of the world's biggest marathons all happening Sunday.  Aritaka Kajiwara, a former teammate of Yuki Kawauchi's on the Hakone Ekiden's Kanto Region Select Team who quit the Press Kogyo corporate team mid-fall to go independent, ran a 1:02:45 course record to win Tochigi's Takanezawa Half Marathon by a second over Kinari Ikeda, an alternate for last week's Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University who broke 1:03 for the first time.  Aoyama Gakuin first-year Homare Morita made a quality half marathon debut in 1:03:01 for 3rd, Ikeda and Morita reassuring Aoyama Gakuin that it has the depth to maintain a solid lineup after four of this year's winning members graduate in March.

Further south in Oita, former course record holder Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) ran solo to repeat his 2010 Oita City Half Marathon win, 2 1/2 minutes ahead of the runner-up and just off his old time in 1:03:42.  Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) won the women's race in 1:15:22, her teammate Minori Goto taking the women's 10 km in a course record 34:11.  Local high schooler Sota Ito (Oita Tomei H.S.) broke 30 in the men's 10 km, running 29:58 for the win.  Another road 10 km at the South Japan Long Distance Meet in nearby Kagoshima saw the top two dip under 30 as Kenyan first-year Geoffrey Gichia (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) outran independent Yusuke Tobimatsu for the win 29:50 to 29:55.

After a mostly disappointing 2015, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref Gov't) got his 2016 started the right way as he returned to the Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon, also in Kagoshima.  Running with a sprained ankle last year Kawauchi won in 2:24:10, the slowest marathon time of his career.  Fit this year he hoped to run 2:15 to 2:16, and with no competition at all he did just that.  Running an even pace throughout the race, he crossed the finish line in a new course record of 2:15:14, the first man in Ibusuki Nanohana's 35-year history to break 2:20 and just the third to win it two years in a row.  2nd place was almost 17 minutes back.  Alongside Kawauchi, Japan's #1 amateur woman Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) scored her third marathon win in the last two months with a 2:45:22 course record in the women's race.  Her margin of victory was even more overwhelming than Kawauchi's, beating the runner-up by 21 minutes.  Yoshitomi plans to run both the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon and Tokyo Marathon in February, going for the 2:31:28 PB she set in Tokyo three years ago.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
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
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …