by Brett Larner
Strong winds and off-and-on rain throughout the area made for two of the slowest winning times in the Nagano Marathon's 18-year history as Kenya's Jairus Chanchima and Ethiopia's Shasho Insermu won Sunday's race in 2:15:31 and 2:34:19.
A slow start in the men's race kept a large lead group together for the first 25 km before Chanchima went to work. Returning to Nagano after dropping out mid-race last year, Chanchima put on a solo surge from 25 to 30 km that put him 38 seconds ahead of the rest of the lead group. From there Chanchima tucked in and cruised on unthreatened, Japan-based Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN) closing the gap slightly but never coming in range of the win. Chanchima's winning time of 2:15:31 was the slowest in Nagano Marathon history, over a minute behind Yuki Kawauchi's 2013 winning time of 2:14:27 in heavy snow. Bat-Ochir was 25 seconds back in 2:15:56 for 2nd, with Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) running 2:16:32 for 3rd and top Japanese honors.
The women's race also started slow, but after just 10 km it quickly evolved in a duel between Isermu and Gladys Tejeda, the Peruvian stripped of her gold medal at last summer's Pan-Am Games for a positive drug test and promptly invited to Nagano by race organizers to make an early post-suspension return to the marathon. By 15 km the pair was more than 30 seconds ahead of its nearest competition, and over the next 5 km Tejeda broke free of Insermu to go it alone. By 35 km Tejeda was 58 seconds ahead, but with a combination of too much too soon and a strong finish from Insermu it wasn't to be. Cutting Tejeda's lead down to 19 seconds by 40 km, Insermu flew by to win in 2:34:19, the second-slowest time in Nagano Marathon history. Completely spent, Tejeda shuffled in for 2nd in 2:34:54, sparing Nagano organizers the headlines and questions about their laxity in inviting an athlete fresh off a drug suspension that would have happened had she won. Another athlete with a recent suspension behind her, Japan's own Kaori Yoshida (Runners Pulse) took 3rd in 2:35:14.
18th Nagano Marathon
click here for complete results
1. Jairus Chanchima (Kenya) - 2:15:31
2. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:15:56
3. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:16:32
4. Laban Mutai (Kenya) - 2:16:53
5. Fabiano Joseph (Tanzania) - 2:17:35
6. Shoji Takada (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:18:14
7. Kazuya Ishida (Nishitetsu) - 2:18:21
8. Kinya Hashira (Police Dep't) - 2:18:42
DNF - Harry Summers (Australia)
1. Shasho Insermu (Ethiopia) - 2:34:19
2. Gladys Tejeda (Peru) - 2:34:54
3. Kaori Yoshida (Runners Pulse) - 2:35:14
4. Winfreidah Kebaso (Kenya/Nittori) - 2:40:23
5. Hellen Mugo (Kenya) - 2:43:02
6. Seika Iwamura (Edion) - 2:48:20
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