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Kamulu Breaks Sanyo Ladies Half Marathon Course Record

Japan-based Kenyan Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) outran defending champion Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) and three of Japan's best upcoming young talents to cut 13 seconds off the course record as she won the 36th edition of the Sanyo Ladies Road Race half marathon.

Kamulu, Ohara and 2017 national cross country champion Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) set off near 1:08-flat pace, a time no Japanese woman has cleared in almost 12 years. Behind them, Rio Olympian Miyuki Uehara and the debuting Azusa Sumi (Univ. Ent.) went at a more conservative pace while keeping the leaders in sight. After 5 km Kamulu through in a surge to drop her Japanese competition, going through 10 km in 32-flat and pushing on alone to finish in 1:08:04, a new course record and a PB by well over a minute and a half.


Behind her, Ohara and Ichiyama fought to keep it on sub-1:09 pace. Ohara began to fade, and as Ichiyama pulled away Uehara and Sumi began to come up from behind. Uehara, who memorably frontran her way to the 5000 m final in Rio, surged hard to get rid of Sumi, passing Ohara and then Ichiyama on the last lap of the track to take 2nd in 1:09:13. Ichiyama was right behind in 1:09:14. Behind them, Sumi likewise caught Ohara on the track to take 4th in a solid debut of 1:09:21. Ohara was only 9 seconds off her PB in 1:09:26, but as the 4th Japanese woman her chances of being picked up for the 2018 Valencia World Half Marathon Championships team look slim.

Further back, Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) took 13th in a PB of 1:11:29, the fastest time this year by a British woman. Camille Buscomb (New Zealand) dropped out partway through the race.

The half marathon has been a major area of weakness for Japanese woman in recent years, with none under 1:09 since 2013 and a sub-1:10 time almost a surprise at this point. With four women under 1:09:30, three of them young runners making the all-time Japanese top 25 in their first serious half marathons, it was a welcome positive note on which to end a mostly disappointing year.


The 10 km division also saw good debuts by several young athletes. 19-year-old Japan-based Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Toto) won her first road 10 km easily in 32:03. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) took 2nd in a PB of 32:27, with debuting Daiichi Seimei teammates Kanami Sagayama, 19, and Himawari Yuda, 20, both just clearing 33 minutes for 3rd and 4th.

36th Sanyo Ladies Road Race

Okayama, 12/23/17
click here for complete results

Half Marathon
1. Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) - 1:08:04 - CR, PB
2. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) - 1:09:13 - PB
3. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 1:09:14 - PB
4. Azusa Sumi (Universal Entertainment) - 1:09:21 - debut
5. Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 1:09:26
6. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 1:10:11 - debut
7. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) - 1:10:22 - PB
8. Akane Sekino (Imabari Zosen) - 1:10:28 - PB
9. Reia Iwade (Dome) - 1:10:35
10. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 1:10:36
-----
13. Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) - 1:11:29 - PB
DNF - Camille Buscomb (New Zealand)

10 km
1. Shuru Bulo (Toto) - 32:03 - debut
2. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 32:27 - PB
3. Kanami Sagayama (Daiichi Seimei) - 32:52 - debut
4. Himawari Yuda (Daiichi Seimei) - 32:56 - debut
5. Wakana Itsuki (Kyudenko) - 33:01 - PB

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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Race Entries

Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

Launched in September, 2015, Runnet Japan is an English-language branch of Runnet, Japan's dominant online entry service, catering to the international community.  The number of races offered on Runnet Japan is still limited but constantly expanding.

Other entry services like Sports Entry, TecNet and the new Sportsnavi Do still offer only Ja…