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Miwa and Higuchi Win Okukuma Half Marathon

by Brett Larner
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In cold conditions corporate runners Shintaro Miwa (Team NTN) and Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) turned in winning runs at the 4th edition of the Okukuma Road Race half marathon in Kumamoto.  In the men's race Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) did most of the leading, pushing the first 10 km through in 30:06 and gradually shaving down the lead pack from 20 to 7.  In the final kilometers he and Miwa broke away, but with a course record win at last weekend's Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon still in his legs Kawauchi couldn't match the fresher Miwa.  Miwa broke the tape in 1:03:58 with Kawauchi two seconds back.  Yuya Ito (Team Toyota) was 3rd in 1:04:06.


Reflecting Kumamoto's conservative reputation, in its first three runnings the Okukuma Road Race limited women to 5 km with high school boys running 10 km and the half marathon only open to men.  This year it got with the times, allowing women into the half.  2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Higuchi rose to the challenge, outrunning her Wacoal teammates Yuki Kodama and Ai Migita and rival Misato Horie (Team Noritz) for the win in 1:13:22.  Ryota Takemoto (Omuta H.S.) tied the 10 km course record in 30:09, with Mashiro Mori (Ariake H.S.) topping the women's 5 km in 16:43.

4th Okukuma Road Race
Kumagun, Kumamoto, 1/17/16
click here for complete results

Men's Half Marathon
1. Shintaro Miwa (NTN) - 1:03:58
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:00
3. Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 1:04:06
4. Junichi Tsubouchi (Kurosaki Harima) - 1:04:08
5. Daisuke Watanabe (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:11

Women's Half Marathon
1. Noriko Higuchi (Wacoal) - 1:13:22
2. Yuki Kodama (Wacoal) - 1:13:25
3. Misato Horie (Noritz) - 1:13:30
4. Ai Migita (Wacoal) - 1:13:35
5. Chika Ihara (Higo Ginko) - 1:14:16

High School Boys' 10 km
1. Ryota Takemoto (Omuta H.S.) - 30:09 - CR tie
2. Ren Yonemitsu (Omuta H.S.) - 30:24
3. Daisuke Ando (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 30:27

Women's 5 km
1. Mashiro Mori (Ariake H.S.) - 16:43
2. Reina Takano (Ariake H.S.) - 16:48
3. Sena Komori (Isahaya H.S.) - 16:49

© 2016 Brett Larner
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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
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…