Skip to main content

Murayama Runs Fastest-Ever Japanese Time on U.S. Soil at United Airlines NYC Half

by Brett Larner
photo courtesy of NYRR

Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) ran the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S. soil to take 5th in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in 1:00:57.  The first alumnus of the Japan Running News-New York Road Runners program to bring top collegiate talent from November's Ageo City Half Marathon to New York to return as a pro, Murayama asserted himself from the gun, ensuring the race got off to an honest start as he led the first 5 km in 14:24.  "The last time I was here the first 5 km was close to 15:00," he told JRN post-race.  "If it starts too slow it affects how you feel later in the race and keeps too many people up front.  I wanted to run comfortably.  I figured that 14:20 would be about right.  It didn't feel too fast, but when I looked around almost nobody was left."

Remaining up front after just the first 2 km were the eventual top six including Murayama, 2017 Marugame Half winner Callum Hawkins (Great Britain), Rio Olympics marathon silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia), defending champ Stephen Sambu (Kenya), Teshome Mekonen (Ethiopia) and Chris Derrick (U.S.A.).  Hawkins challenged Murayama on the steep uphill just past 5 km, but Murayama, a veteran of the Hakone Ekiden's Fifth Stage, maintained his position.  Running the toughest 5 km of the course in 14:22 Murayama still led at 10 km, but as the pack exited Central Park onto the faster 2nd half Hawkins and Lilesa surged to the front.

Murayama and Derrick fell away, with Sambu trailing the top three and Mekonen struggling to hang on.  As the race rolled on it came down to a sprint finish with Lilesa getting away from Hawkins in characteristic Ethiopian style to win in 1:00:04.  Hawkins was next in 1:00:08, just off his winning time from Marugame last month.  Mekonen rounded out the podium 20 seconds later. Murayama closed hard after 20 km, bearing down on defending champ Sambu in the home straight but coming up just short, Sambu 4th in 1:00:55 and Murayama 5th in 1:00:57.  The seventh-fastest Japanese time ever, Murayama took 51 seconds off the fastest Japanese time on U.S. soil, and by breaking 1:01:00 he become just the second Japanese man ever to go sub-61 outside Japan and the second in history to run sub-61 twice in his career.

This year's two collegiate invitees from the Ageo City Half Marathon, Rintaro Takeda (Waseda Univ.) and Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), both struggled relative to their strong 1:01:59 and 1:02:01 top two performances in Ageo last November.  Takeda ran the early part of the race on sub-63 pace, but after exiting Central Park where the pace typically accelerates he slowed progressively, eventually finishing in 1:05:09.  Ueda, coached by his father Masahito Ueda, was in immediate trouble and limped in to a 1:06:13 finish with a possible stress fracture in his shin.  In the women's race, freshly named alternate for the London World Championships marathon squad after a 2:25:44 runner-up finish in Osaka in January, Misato Horie (Team Noritz) ran 1:12:44. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) outkicked Emily Sisson (U.S.A.) for the win in 1:08:21 with Diane Nukuri (Burundi) just missing a PB in 1:09:13 for 3rd.

12th United Airlines NYC Half Marathon
New York, 3/19/17

Men
1. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) - 1:00:04
2. Callum Hawkins (Great Britain) - 1:00:08
3. Teshome Mekonen (Ethiopia) - 1:00:28
4. Stephen Sambu (Kenya) - 1:00:55
5. Kenta Murayama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:00:57
6. Chris Derrick (U.S.A.) - 1:01:12 - PB
7. Noah Droddy (U.S.A.) - 1:01:48 - PB
8. Diego Estrada (U.S.A.) - 1:01:54
9. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 1:02:23
10. Jonny Mellor (Great Britain) - 1:02:23 - PB
-----
22. Rintaro Takeda (Japan/Waseda Univ.) - 1:05:09
25. Kenta Ueda (Japan/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:13

Women
1. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 1:08:19
2. Emily Sisson (U.S.A.) - 1:08:21 - debut
3. Diane Nukuri (Burundi) - 1:09:13
4. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:09:37
5. Amy Cragg (U.S.A.) - 1:09:38
6. Sarah Lahti (Sweden) - 1:09:58 - NR
7. Desi Linden (U.S.A.) - 1:11:05
8. Rachel Cliff (Canada) - 1:12:07 - debut
9. Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 1:12:09
10. Kellys Arias (Colombia) - 1:12:12
-----
13. Misato Horie (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:45

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). With a 1:01:20 at last year's Prague Half debuting Kenyan Eliud Mwangi should also factor into the front end. Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials start…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …