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Fujiwara and Nojiri Lead Weekend Marathon Results



With the 22nd typhoon of the season hitting Japan's eastern coast, five of Japan's biggest amateur marathons faced the decision of whether to go ahead as scheduled.

The biggest of them, the third running of the Yokohama Marathon, 10th largest in the world last year with 22,594 finishers, was the only one to cancel, a controversial decision that went out Saturday evening ahead of milder-than-expected conditions on race morning.

With almost 13,000 finishers last year, the Kanazawa Marathon scored a new course record in its third edition as Kazuya Deguchi (Asahi Kasei) won in 2:18:44, the event's first sub-2:20 apart from disqualified Russian Victor Ugarov's 2:17:19 at Kanazawa's first running two years ago. Deguchi ran Kanazawa as a tuneup for December's Fukuoka International Marathon. Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishi Nippon) took eight minutes off the women's course record with a 2:42:24 win.



For the second time in its three runnings to date, local resident Olympian Arata Fujiwara won the 11,000 runner-plus Toyama Marathon, breaking his own course record with a training run-effort 2:16:32. Former sub-2:25 elite Azusa Nojiri (Raffine) had a comeback of sorts to win the women's race, breaking 2:40 for the first time in three years with a 2:38:46 course record.

On the edge of clearing the 10,000 finisher barrier in its first running last year, the Mito Komon Manyu Marathon also saw new course records in both the men's and women's races. Haruki Okayama (Comody Iida) took the men's title in 2:22:57, with Shoko Miyazaki running 2:49:11 to win the women's race.

The smallest of the five with just over 7,500 finishers last year, the Shimada Oikawa Marathon joined the course record rush thanks to a 2:16:33 win in the men's race by Tadashi Suzuki (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), runner-up in the nearby Shizuoka Marathon last March and also Fukuoka-bound. Shiho Katayama won the women's race in 3:01:11. With nine runnings including this year Shimada Oikawa was the oldest of the day's five marathons, all part of the boom set off by the Tokyo Marathon in 2007.

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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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). 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 starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …