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