Skip to main content

Kirwa and Mwaka Win Gifu Seiryu Half

by Brett Larner

Bahraini national record holder Eunice Kirwa did it again, easily breaking the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon women's course record in 1:08:55 to win by over two minutes.  Kenyan Rebecca Kangogo Chesir was the only one to put up some competition, running with Kirwa through 5 km in 15:49 before dropping back to take 2nd in 1:11:09.  Formerly Japan-based Ethiopian Betelhem Moges started much more conservatively, over 30 seconds behind the lead pair at 5 km but closing to take 3rd close enough to record the same 1:11:09 finish time as Chesir.  Japan's Rio Olympics marathon medal hopeful Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) started in the 2nd pack with Moges but fell far off pace in the second half, taking 6th overall in 1:12:04 and just holding off Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) for top Japanese honors.

In the men's race Kenyan Kenneth Keter pushed a lead group of nine, eight Africans plus Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN) through a fast first 5 km before the competition faded, but in the second half Keter paid for his early work as he fell to 4th overall.  Running him down were Japan-based Kenyans Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Team Aisan Kogyo) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta), with 2007 Osaka World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi of Kenya coming on strong in the last 5 km to take 3rd.  Mwaka and Kuira were side-by-side through 20 km, but in a reverse of Kuira's win at last year's Marugame Half Mwaka had the stronger kick to score the win by 3 seconds in 1:01:51.

Mathathi was 18 seconds behind Kuira in 1:02:12.  His former Suzuki Hamamatsu AC teammate Yusei Nakao (Smiley Angel AC) ran in a Japanese chase pack with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Genta Yodogawa (Team Aisan Kogyo), all three working together to try to reel in Bat-Ochir.  It came down to a track sprint finish, Bat-Ochir hanging on to 9th in 1:03:37 with Nakao taking the top Japanese spot for the third year in a row at 10th in 1:03:38.  Kawauchi marked a season best 1:03:39 but missing his goal of a top ten finish at 11th, knocked out of the top ten in the last kick by Nakao for the second time in three years, with Yodogawa right behind at 12th in 1:03:40.  Nakao is scheduled to run next month's Grandma's Marathon in the U.S.A. with support from JRN.

Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/15/16

Women
1. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:55 - CR
2. Rebecca Kangogo Chesir (Kenya) - 1:11:09
3. Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 1:11:09
4. Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) - 1:11:33
5. Veronicah Wanjiru (Kenya) - 1:11:59
6. Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 1:12:04
7. Yuka Ando (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:12:07
8. Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:12:20
9. Bornes Jepkirui (Kenya) - 1:12:40
10. Sayo Nomura (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 1:13:10

Men
1. Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:51
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 1:01:54
3. Martin Mathathi (Kenya) - 1:02:12
4. Kenneth Keter (Kenya) - 1:02:26
5. Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:52
6. James Rungaru Kenya/Chuo Hatsujo) - 1:03:04
7. Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) - 1:03:29
8. Dishon Karukuwa Maina (Kenya/Omokawa Zaimokuten) - 1:03:35
9. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 1:03:37
10. Yusei Nakao (Japan/Smiley Angel AC) - 1:03:38
11. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:39
12. Genta Yodogawa (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:03:40
-----
25. Cuthbert Nyasango (Zimbabwe) - 1:05:07

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…