Skip to main content

Oshikawa Versus Githae, Kamino and Hine, Sumi to Debut at Ome 30 km

by Brett Larner

The 15,000 runner-strong Ome 30 km and 10 km Road Race has rolled out the men's and women's elite fields for its 51st running on Feb. 19.  Coached by 1992 Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Kochi Morishita, defending men's champion Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) returns to try to become the first man since 1986 to win Ome two years in a row.  Last year Oshikawa had a narrow 9-second win over Kenyan Michael Githae (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), and this year Githae returns with a good chance of becoming Ome's first-ever Kenyan winner.  Both have tough competition in the form of celebrity runner Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta), the former star of the Hakone Ekiden's famed uphill Fifth Stage.

Ome's course is a tough and hilly one that plans to Kamino's strengths, and for both he and Oshikawa there's a nice payday waiting for a solid run: 500,000 yen for the win [~$4400 USD], 2,000,000 yen for breaking Masaki Ito's 2013 winning time of 1:30:21 [~$17,500 USD], and 1,000,000 yen for breaking Toshihiko Seko's 1:29:32 course record from 1981 [~$8,750 USD].  The 500,000 yen 1st-place prize money is available to Githae, but the time bonuses are only payable to Japanese runners, of which make what you will.  Others in the men's race include university men Ryo Kuchimachi (Toyo Univ.) and Daisuke Doi (Hosei Univ.), corporate runner Norihide Fujimori (Chugoku Denryoku) and American Zach Hine.

Ome was the site of the fastest-ever 30 km by a Japanese woman, marathon splits aside, thanks to a 1:39:09 by Mizuki Noguchi in 2004 in preparation for her marathon gold medal-winning run at the Athens Olympics.  There's a 2,000,000 yen bonus for any woman who breaks that time, but considering that Noguchi's record is midway in quality between a 1:09:44 half marathon and 2:19:27 marathon on an extremely hilly course it'll be a major surprise if that ever happens.

Not quite as big a surprise but still a large one, track specialist Azusa Sumi (Team Universal Entertainment) is scheduled to make her 30 km debut in Ome.  6 km cross-country races aside, the 20-year-old Sumi has only raced longer than 5 km four times in her career, two of them this month.  At the Jan. 15 National Women's Ekiden she ran 32:38 for 7th on the 10.0 km anchor stage. A week later she won the 11.7 km Kita-Kyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden anchor stage in 36:36.  Sumi seems to be doing better as the distance increases, but it's a big jump from where she is to 30 km.  Her competition for the win comes from last year's 5th-placer Ami Utsunomiya (Canon AC Kyushu) and 1:15:40 half marathoner Yumi Kozasa (Team Wacoal).

51st Ome 30 km and 10 km Road Race
30 km Elite Field Highlights
Ome, Tokyo, 2/19/17
click here for complete field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Men
Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:31:37 (Ome 30 km 2016)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:31:46 (Ome 30 km 2016)
Ryo Kuchimachi (Toyo Univ.) - 1:33:40 (Kumanichi 30 km 2016)
Daichi Kamino (Konica Minolta) - 1:01:21 (Marugame Half 2015)
Norihide Fujimori (Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:04:45 (Hakodate Half 2016)
Zach Hine (U.S.A.) - 1:04:48 (Omaha Half 2014)
Daisuke Doi (Hosei Univ.) - 1:00:43 (Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km 2016)

Women
Ami Utsunomiya (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:48:10 (Ome 30 km 2016)
Yumi Kozasa (Wacoal) - 1:15:40 (Sanyo Ladies Half 2016)
Azusa Sumi (Univ. Ent.) - 15:17.62 (Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet 5000 m, 2015)

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …

Kipsang Talking Loud and Aga Mumbling Bold - Tokyo Marathon Preview

After stepping up to the big leagues last year with course records in the 2:03 and 2:19 range, the Tokyo Marathon hopes to go one better this year. Men's course record setter Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) is back, stepping up from a 2:03:50 prediction for Tokyo in January to a 2:02:50 world record prediction at Friday's pre-race press conference. In the unmentioned absence of women's course record breaker Sarah Chepchirchir the top-ranked woman is Ruti Aga (Ethiopia), coming in hot off a 1:06:39 win last month in Houston and turning heads at the press conference with a boldly mumbled 2:18:00 prediction.

Management for both Kipsang and Aga were skeptical to JRN of their athletes' predictions, people from each camp saying times two minutes slower would be more likely, one minute slower in a best-case scenario. But whatever the prediction, Kipsang was clear to fellow past champs Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) and Dickson Chumba (Kenya) about one thing: he wants a more conservative fi…

Kenyans Kabuu, Jemeli and Cheyech Lead Nagoya Women's Marathon Field

The Nagoya Women's Marathon is the largest women-only marathon in the world, one with a long history as an elite race and adapting to the times with a mass-participation field of 20,000. The last few years it has seen a series of dynamic, high-level performances by top Japanese women, from Sairi Maeda's 2:22:48 in 2015 to the 2:23:19 to 2:23:20 sprint finish battle between Tomomi Tanaka and Rei Ohara in 2016 to Yuka Ando's stellar 2:21:36 debut and teammate Mao Kiyota's 2:23:47 breakthrough last year.

Maeda, Ohara and Kiyota all return this year to face the Kenyan trio of Lucy Kabuu, Valary Jemeli and Flomena Cheyech Daniel. Kabuu went to high school in Japan before moving on to the big leagues, but she hasn't finished a marathon since her 2:20:21 in Dubai 2015. Cheyech also used to be based in Japan as is a familiar face here, winning the last two Saitama International Marathons. Jemeli is making her Japanese debut, and with a 2:21:57 win in Prague and a 2:20:53 …