Skip to main content

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In Prague both Shitara and his coach Satoshi Ogawa told JRN that he planned to run "marathon pace," 3:00/km, ahead of a planned shot at 2:07 in Berlin. Finding himself right behind eventual women's winner Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya), Shitara ratcheted up the pace and ended up as the top Japanese finisher in 28:55.

A week later and he was way faster, going through 10 km just off the Japanese NR in 28:10 and rocking steady to beat all the other next-generation Hakone stars transitioning to life in the longer distances, Suguru Osako (NOP), Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), his twin brother Keita Shitara (Saitama T&F Assoc.) and others, to Sato's antique 1:00:25 mark.

Surely that's faster than his planned pace in Berlin. It has to be a confidence builder, but it''s almost equally surely too much a week and a day out from a hard marathon. After Tokyo Shitara said he would definitely go with the leaders next time. Ogawa told JRN in Prague that compared to Tokyo Shitara's stamina is far improved now. As wiser people have said, it's such a fine line between brilliant and stupid. If he gets away with it in Berlin, Shitara and his coach are geniuses. If not....well, he still set the half marathon national record, so it's not exactly stupid.

Considering the possible outcomes, Shitara's fellow Saitama native Yuki Kawauchi told JRN, "The only thing you can say for sure is that he's definitely, 100%, going to go with the lead group." If Shitara does and makes it to 30 km alongside Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia), Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) and Wilson Kipsang (Kenya), one way or the other he'll be in for a hell of a last 12 km.


Usti nad Labem Half Marathon

Czech Republic, 9/16/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Barselius Kipyego (Kenya) - 59:14
2. Josphat Tanui (Kenya) - 59:22
3. Ismail Juma (Tanzania) - 59:30 - NR
4. Wilfred Kimitei (Kenya) - 1:00:12
5. Philip Tarbei (Kenya) - 1:00:13
6. Aziz Lahbabi (Morocco) - 1:00:15
7. Solomon Yego (Kenya) - 1:00:16
8. Yuta Shitara (Japan/Honda) - 1:00:17 - NR
9. Isaac Langat (Kenya) - 1:00:25
10. Kenneth Keter (Kenya) - 1:01:05

Women
1. Violah Jepchumba (Bahrain) - 1:06:06 - NR
2. Nancy Kiprop (Kenya) - 1:07:22
3. Lucy Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 1:07:23
4. Stacy Ndiwa (Kenya) - 1:09:09
5. Yvonne Jelagat (Kenya) - 1:10:25

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kawauchi Wins Nasu Shiobara Half Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (31, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who in April became the first Japanese man in 31 years to win the Boston Matathon, ran the 13th edition of the Nasu Shiobara Half Marathon November 3rd in Nasu Shiobara, Tochigi. 1700 people took part in the 2 km, 5 km and half marathon divisions starting and finishing in Kuroiso Sports Park in Kami-Atsusaki.

Running the half as a special guest, Kawauchi commented, "During the race I got serious." Dropping the rest of the field, he crossed the finish line 1st in 1:05:03. His nearest competition, Takashi Mino, 25, finished in 1:07:58. Triathlete Naomi Washizu, 35, won the women's race in 1:17:19.

source article:
https://www.sankei.com/sports/news/181103/spo1811030007-n1.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…