Skip to main content

London World Championships Marathoners Inoue and Kawauchi Return to Action

World Championships men's marathon team members Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) both lined up in marathons again today, just under two months since representing their country in London. At the first running of the Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon, a new event along the Sendai coastline washed away by the 2011 tsunami, Inoue went out at training run pace for the first half, almost four minutes behind leader Daisuke Hosomori (YKK) before picking up the pace.


The debuting Hosomori faded over the second half, run down by amateur Taiyo Akiyama with 5 km to go and Inoue right after. Inoue made contact with Akiyama near 40 km, but rather than run away with it the 2:08 marathoner ran side-by-side with Akiyama all the way to the finish line, smiling and encouraging him on in home straight. Both crossed the line in 2:23:47, with Akiyama crowned the event's first champ.


Still going strong at age 42, the great Mari Ozaki (Noritz) ran a solo race, hitting halfway in 1:17:25 with a lead of almost three minutes over Azusa Nojiri (Raffine). Ozaki faded over the second half but had enough of a lead to take the win in 2:40:37, Nojiri next across the line in 2:43:05. A great new event designed to bring people in to one of the worst-hit areas of the 2011 disasters and to highlight the region's recovery, the Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon is a welcome addition to the Japanese race calendar with a flat course promising the potential for elite-level times.

Inoue's London teammate Kawauchi ran his first race post-Worlds two weeks ago, winning Norway's BMW Oslo Marathon in 2:15:58. After a half marathon course record win in Hokkaido last weekend he was back for more, running a 2:13:43, a course record by over two minutes, to win the 39th edition of the Betsukai Pilot Marathon. "There was a pretty strong headwind in the first half and I didn't think I could get the course record," he told JRN post-race. "In the second half there was a tailwind, and that helped me get the record." Kawauchi's next marathon will be France's Nice-Cannes Marathon where he plans to go for a sub-2:10 win, followed a week later by a guest run at the local Saitama International Marathon.

text and photos © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) an…

Lemeteki and Aoki Win Shibestu Half

Kenyan Razini Lemeteki (Takushoku Univ.) and relative unknown Nanami Aoki (Iwatani Sangyo) took the top spots in hot and sunny conditions at the Shibetsu Half Marathon in Hokkaido. With Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) doing early frontrunning in the men's race only to fade to a 20th-place finish in 1:06:40 Lemeteki had little competition for the win in 1:03:25. 2017 Shibetsu winner Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) was the top Japanese man at 2nd in 1:03:42, beating MGC Race Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Daichi Kamino (New Balance) and Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) - by 4 seconds and 11 seconds. Other MGC Race qualifiers Masato Imai (Toyota Jidoshokki), Yuji Iwata (MHPS) and Ryo Kiname (MHPS) all struggled, none of them breaking 66 minutes.

Aoki won the women's race easily in 1:15:12 by almost a minute over Mai Nagaoka (Sysmex). MGC Race qualifiers Reia Iwade (Under Armour) and Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) were listed to start but apparently did not run.
33rd Suffolkland Shibets…

Koike Runs Japan's Third Sub-10, Niiya Clears Doha 5000 m Standard - Weekend Track Highlights

Japanese athletes were busy on the track overseas this weekend. At Friday's Stumptown Twilight meet in Portland, indoor mile Asian record holder Nanami Arai (Honda) took 2nd in the men's 1500 m in 3:39.58, his second time this season breaking 3:40. It used to be a rarity to see a Japanese man clear 3:40, something that happened once every couple of years, but so far this season four Japanese men have done it a total of six times. If the distance had even a fraction of the prestige of the Hakone Ekiden, or of that it has in the U.S., there's no doubt there'd be more.

Speaking of distances with prestige, on the first day of London's Muller Anniversary Games Diamond League spectacular Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko) became the third Japanese man to join the sub-10 club, running 9.98 (+0.5 m/s) for 4th in the men's 100 m final. Koike also ran 2nd on the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team, which clocked a season best 37.78 for 2nd despite featuring only two regulars…