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Kifle and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Isshiki Takes Kanagawa Half in Tokyo Marathon Tuneup

by Brett Larner

Great conditions meant fast times across the board including three national records at the first major Japanese half marathon of the season, the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon.

A large pack including internationals Goitom Kifle (Eritrea), Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) and Japan-based 18-year-old Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Hakone Ekiden stars Keisuke Nakatani and Naoki Kudo (both Komazawa Univ.), corporate runners Keijiro Mogi and Shuho Dairokuno (both Asahi Kasei) and Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) went out slightly slower than expected, hitting 5 km in 14:27 on track to just crack 1:01.  20-year-old Kudo, a second-year at Komazawa, pushed the next 5 km faster, on 1:00:50 pace at 10 km in 28:50.  Mogi, also just 20 after going straight into the corporate leagues post-high school, took over after 10 km and dropped the fastest 5 km yet, shaking down the leaders to just himself, Kifle, Nyairo and Sulle as he took them through 15 km in 43:05.  1:00:36 pace, the 1:00:25 Japanese national record just before him.

Sulle was the first to crack, but while Kifle and Nyairo dueled and Mogi fought to hang on the pace slowed slightly and the national record was out of range.  In the last battle Kifle got away from the less-experienced Nyairo, winning in a PB 1:00:49.  Nyairo, still a first-year at Yamanashi Gakuin, was 1 second back in 1:00:50, a superb debut that puts him to the front of the line on the Hakone circuit.  Mogi hung on for 3rd in 1:00:54, placing all-time #6 among Japanese men and all-time #3 for 20-year-old Japanese men.  Mogi's time was also a PB by 2 1/2 minutes and scored him a place on Japanese team for next month's World Half Marathon Championships.

Nakatani and Kudo worked together to catch the fading Sulle but came up just short, all three recording PBs as Sulle took 4th in 1:01:19, Nakatani 5th in 1:01:21, a PB by more than 3 1/2 minutes, and Kudo 6th in 1:01:25.  Both Nakatani and Kudo also joined Mogi in the all-time Japanese top 25, Nakatani tying Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage star Daiichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) for fastest-ever Japanese 21-year old at 1:01:21 and Kudo coming in behind Mogi for #4 among 20-year-olds.  Along with Nyairo, Nakatani and Kudo, a total of 14 university runners broke 1:03:00 including non-Hakone runner Masatoshi Teranishi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.), 21st in 1:02:38.

Further back, Japan-based Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (NTN) took well over a minute off his own Mongolian NR as he ran 1:02:10 for 13th.  Bat-Ochir also bettered the PB of his friend and rival Yuki Kawauchi by 8 seconds.  2015 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was 31st in 1:02:53, with London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House), tuning up for his shot at the Rio team at the Tokyo Marathon, clocking his best half marathon since his 4th-place finish at the 2013 Great North Run in 1:02:57 for 36th.

The women's race was a blowout by 2014 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain), who took almost 30 seconds off her own Bahrain national record to win in 1:08:06.  The race for 2nd was closer as Diane Nukuri (Burundi) and last year's winner Eloise Wellings (Australia) finished just 6 seconds apart after running the entire race together, Nukuri getting 2nd in 1:09:23 with Wellings recording a new PB in 1:09:29.  Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was the top Japanese woman at 4th in 1:10:10, outrunning the fastest female Japanese half marathoner of 2015, Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya), by over 30 seconds.  Further back came another national record, Chien-Ho Hsieh taking over a minute off the two-week old Taiwanese national record as she finished 21st in 1:15:13. Previous record holder Shu-Ping Fu was also well under her old record, running 1:15:41 for 27th.

Further north in Yokohama, Hakone winner Aoyama Gakuin University put on a show at the Kanagawa Half Marathon as it swept the top five spots in the men's race.  AGU's 2015 National University Half Marathon champion and course record holder Tadashi Isshiki and star second-year Yuta Shimoda, led the way, but in the second half while Shimoda held back with his other teammates Isshiki shot ahead to take the win by 30 seconds, just missing his own CR in 1:03:03.  AGU's Ryo Hashimoto and Taisei Hashizume were next across the line in 1:03:33 and 1:03:36, Shimoda just back in 1:03:41 and Toshinori Watanabe completing the sweep in 1:03:47.  Isshiki, Hashimoto, Shimoda and Watanabe all used Kanagawa as a tuneup for the Tokyo Marathon will they will make their formal marathon debuts.  Nanami Okubo (Shoin Univ.) easily took the win in the women's race in 1:19:30.

Even further north in Moriya, Ibaraki, Nittai University runners went 1-2 in the men's race at the 32nd Moriya Half Marathon.  Second-year Yusei Shirokoshi got the win over third-year teammate Shun Onoki 1:04:33 to 1:04:46, with Yu Mizuno (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) another two seconds back in 1:04:48 for 3rd.  Kazusa Yoshinari (Kokushikan Univ.) won the women's race by more than six minutes in 1:18:02.

70th Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Marugame, Kagawa, 2/7/16
click here for complete results and splits

1. Goitom Kifle (Eritrea) - 1:00:49 - PB
2. Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:50 - debut
3. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 1:00:54 - PB
4. Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) - 1:01:19 - PB
5. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:21 - PB
6. Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:25 - PB
7. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 1:01:32 - PB
8. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 1:01:51
9. Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 1:01:54
10. Kaoru Hirosue (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:01:58  - PB
11. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:02:00
12. Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:09 - PB
13. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 1:02:10 - NR
14. Keita Shioya (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:11 - PB
15. Takuya Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:15 - PB
16. Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 1:02:18
17. Masaya Taguchi (Honda) - 1:02:19 - PB
18. Soma Ishikawa (Nihon Univ.) - 1:02:20 - PB
19. Yuhi Akiyama (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:29 - PB
20. Yuki Nakamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:35 - PB
21. Masatoshi Teranishi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.)- 1:02:38 - PB
22. Toshiki Sadakata (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 1:02:40 - PB
23. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 1:02:41
24. Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) - 1:02:48 - PB
25. Suehiro Ishikawa (Honda) - 1:02:49
31. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 1:02:53
36. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:02:57

1. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:06 - NR
2. Diane Nukuri (Burundi) - 1:09:23
3. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 1:09:29 - PB
4. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:10
5. Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 1:10:42
6. Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) - 1:11:14
7. Akane Sekino (Imabari Shipbuilding) - 1:11:17 - PB
8. Moeno Nakamura (Univ. Ent.) - 1:11:33 - PB
9. Yomogi Akasaka (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:41 - debut
10. Mami Onuki (Sysymex) - 1:12:03
21. Chien-Ho Hsieh (Taiwan) - 1:15:13 - NR
DNF - Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.)

38th Kanagawa Half Marathon
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 2/7/16
click here for complete results

1. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:03
2. Ryo Hashimoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:33
3. Taisei Hashizume (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:36
4. Yuta Shimoda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:41
5. Toshinori Watanabe (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:47
6. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:04:04
7. Takumi Mochizaki (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:04:05
8. Kenta Sogabe (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:08
9. Yasuyuki Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 1:04:13
10. Shota Kirihara (Tokai Univ.) - 1:04:15

1. Nanami Okubo (Shoin Univ.) - 1:19:30
2. Misato Kubokura (Tokai Univ.) - 1:20:20
3. Sayaka Nagai (Shoin Univ.) - 1:20:25

Men's 10 km
1. Koki Ishii (Soka Univ.) - 31:16
2. Eiichi Ichiki (Soka Univ.) - 31:17
3. Ryusuke Go (Soka Univ.) - 31:24

Women's 10 km
1. Naruha Sato (Eda H.S.) - 34:07
2. Kaede Kubota (Eda H.S.) - 34:43
3. Shino Wakizaka (Hakuho Joshi H.S.) - 34:46

32nd Moriya Half Marathon
Moriya, Ibaraki, 2/7/2016
click here for complete results

1. Yusei Shirokoshi (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:33
2. Shun Onoki (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:46
3. Yu Mizuno (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:48

1. Kazusa Yoshinari (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:18:02

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Edvid said…
The depth these Japanese half marathons produce continues to amaze.

IIRC the 47 sub-63s clocked in Marugame 4 years ago was since bettered only by the 2014 World HM Championships in Copenhagen, which produced 49. Could we see 50+ in this year's Worlds?

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