Skip to main content

Mai Ito Wins Hot and Sunny Shibetsu Half Marathon in Final Tuneup for Rio Olympics Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 30th anniversary Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon  was held July 24 in Shibestu, Hokkaido.  Top-level Japanese athletes and amateur runners alike braved blazing sunshine to give it their best on the JAAF-certified course.  A total of 2136 runners including a large number of corporate league runners from Toyota and the Kansai region took part.  Special guest runners included ski jumper Sara Takanashi and the winner of the first Shibetsu Half women's race, Eriko Asai.

In the men's half marathon, Kokushikan University assistant coach James Mwangi won by a second over Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) in a course record 1:03:22.  Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon team member Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) withdrew from the race, his management citing changes in his plans for the last stretch of his training.  2014 Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 16th in 1:06:10.

Running her final domestic tuneup before representing Japan in the Rio Olympics marathon, Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led in temperatures of over 28 degrees to win the women's half marathon by more than 45 seconds in 1:13:31.  "There's a good chance the weather in Rio will be as hot as it was today, so being able to push it like this was a big confidence builder," she said.  "I think this was a good time at this stage."

Ito has been training in Hokkaido since late May, her workouts including tough 50 km runs.  She has been working on stabilizing her form and doing extensive core training in order to deal with possible windy conditions along the seaside portion of the Rio course.  Her coach Tadasu Kawano gave a favorable evaluation of her performance in Shibetsu, saying, "As a training run she earned a perfect score."  Ito will travel to the U.S.A. at the end of the month for her final preparations.

30th Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/24/16
complete results coming soon

Women's Half Marathon
1. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:13:31
2. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:14:17
3. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Hokuren) - 1:14:28
4. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 1:14:36
5. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) - 1:15:47

Men's Half Marathon
1. James Mwangi (Kokushikan Univ. staff) - 1:03:22 - CR
2. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:23
3. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota) - 1:03:28
4. Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) - 1:03:40
5. Kento Otsu (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:14

Women's 10 km
1. Mizuki Matsuda (Team Daihatsu) - 33:48
2. Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal) - 34:35
3. Kanako Takemoto (Team Daihatsu) - 34:42
4. Saki Wada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 34:42
5. Rie Kawauchi (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 34:56


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Japan Names Asian Games Marathon Team

On Mar. 16 the JAAF announced the Japanese marathon team for this August's Jakarta Asian Games. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) make up the men's squad, with Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) and Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) named to the women's team.

A member of the Japanese national team for last summer's London World Championships, Inoue ran an all-time Japanese #4 time of 2:06:54 at February's Tokyo Marathon, the 2nd-placing Japnaese man behind national record setter Yuta Shitara (Honda). Sonoda ran a PB of 2:09:34 to finish in the top Japanese position at 2nd overall earlier in February at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

The silver medalist at November's Asian Championships marathon, Nogami was 5th earlier this month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:26:33. Tanaka was next behind her in Nagoya in 6th in 2:27:40, the only member of the Asian Games team not to have yet qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials race. A meda…