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Kiname and Yoshida Win 30th Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

Biding his time in a race of surges, 25-year-old Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) emerged from the pack with a surge over the last 5 km to win the 30th anniversary Hokkaido Marathon in 2:13:16.  With only two people ever having won Hokkaido sub-2:12 the large pack went through halfway in 1:05:51 before the first move came.  Scheduled to run Chicago in six weeks' time, Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) went ahead of the pack after the halfway mark, pursued by 2010 Hokkaido winner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/SEV Sports) and the Koichi Morishita-coached Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu).  By 30 km they had brought Matsuo back into the fold just in time for the next move to come from an unlikely source, 22-year-old Kaito Koitabashi (Team Konica Minolta) with a PB of just 2:32:01.  The debuting Takafumi Kikuchi (Team SGH Group) ran Koitabashi down with Njui and Kiname just behind, and the stage was set for the race over the last 5 km.

Kiname was the strongest, dropping Njui and the other two Japanese men, his 2:13:16 win the fastest time in Hokkaido since 2010.  The winner that year, Njui was next across the line for the second year in a row in 2:14:39.  Last year his result was annulled after he tested positive for an ingredient in cold medicine he had taken before the race.  With any luck his result this year will stand. Koitabashi and Kikuchi stayed together until the last straight, Koitabashi improbably pulling away for 3rd in 2:15:03, a PB by 17 minutes and faster than the last two years' winning times.

2006 Hokkaido women's winner Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL), back last year from a two-year suspension as Japan's sole public EPO positive, accurately gauged rival Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) to win the women's race in 2:32:33.  Accompanied by 2014 Kitakyushu Marathon winner Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) through 15 km, Yoshida and Mizuguchi ran together on sub-2:30 pace until just before halfway when Yoshida began to slow.  Staying on track for sub-2:30, by 30 km Mizuguchi had a lead of 50 seconds.  But over the next 10 km it proved too much, Yoshida closing the gap by 10 seconds by 35 km and then overtaking Mizuguchi just before 40 km.  Yoshida sailed on unchallenged for the win, her time just bettering her 2:32:53 win exactly ten years ago.  Mizuguchi was over a minute back in 2:33:46 for 2nd, with Takemoto a distant 3rd in 2:36:42.

30th Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/28/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Ryo Kiname (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 2:13:16
2. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/SEV Sports) - 2:14:39
3. Kaito Koitabashi (Konica Minolta) - 2:15:03 - PB
4. Takafumi Kikuchi (SGH Group) - 2:15:07 - debut
5. Masanori Sakai (Kyudenko) - 2:15:20
6. Yuji Murota (JFE Steel) - 2:15:41 - PB
7. Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:15:53
8. Takuya Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) - 2:16:20
9. Jo Fukuda (Nishitetsu) - 2:16:30 - PB
10. Ryo Yamamoto (SGH Group) - 2:17:09

Women
1. Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) - 2:32:33
2. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 2:33:46
3. Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:36:42
4. Ayako Mitsui (Uniqlo) - 2:39:56
5. Aki Otagiri (Tenmaya) - 2:41:53
6. Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) - 2:45:22
7. Chigusa Yoshimatsu (NEC Kyushu) - 2:50:10
8. Hisae Matsumoto (unattached) - 2:50:54
9. Eri Kosada (Edion) - 2:55:31
10. Mai Fujisawa (Sapporo City Hall) - 2:56:06

© 2016 Brett Larner
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