Skip to main content

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

Men
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

Women
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

Men
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

Women
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

Men
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

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

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

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?

Most-Read This Week

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

Nakamoto and Kawauchi to Run Boston

Japan's Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) will run the 2018 Boston Marathon as part of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team. Kawauchi holds world records for everything from most career sub-2:12 marathons to most sub-2:20, while Nakamoto is Japan's best championships marathoner of modern times with four top 10 finishes at the Olympics and World Championships.

Longtime rivals, their duel at the 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon was one of the classics of Japanese marathoning, both running sub-2:09 PBs as Kawauchi set a still-standing course record of 2:08:15. The pair has a 3-3 record in the marathon so far, their most recent meeting coming at last summer's London World Championships where Kawauchi ran Nakamoto down in the last kilometer to take 9th. Boston will be their 7th and likely final face-off.

Our 2018 #BostonMarathon International Elite Field includes 46 of the world’s best marathoners from 13 countries. Watch to see the …

Kawauchi Breaks Sub-2:20 World Record in Sub-Zero Temperatures

Battling freezing temperatures and wind chill that took things down to -23C, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran a 2018 world-leading 2:18:59 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, taking 30 minutes off the course record and breaking American Doug Kurtis' historic sub-2:20 world record with his 76th career sub-2:20.

Kawauchi spent Dec. 29 to 31 training on the Boston Marathon course ahead of his upcoming appearance as part of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team and planned to run Marshfield at the tail end of his trip. The Marshfield Road Runners club, organizers of the marathon, had their longstanding race USATF certified ahead of his appearance.


Wearing full-length tights in a marathon for the first time, in Marshfield Kawauchi planned to run the first of the hilly course's two laps in 1:09 flat to give himself room to work with in breaking 2:20. But in the wind and cold he struggled to stay on pace, ice crystals coating his face as he hit halfway in 1:10:29…