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Ashi and Ito Win, Hsieh Breaks Taiwanese National Record at Osaka Half



Held alongside the Osaka International Women's Marathon, the Osaka Half Marathon has continued to grow at the elite level into one of the post-ekiden season's top-tier Japanese half marathons. On the women's side, Maki Ashi (Kyudenko) was just off her best as she won in 1:11:26, opening a lead of over 20 seconds in the first 5 km and going the rest of the way alone. Ayaka Yokose (Yamada Denki) was the only other woman to crack 1:12, 2nd in 1:11:58. Taiwanese national record holder Chien-ho Hsieh spent most of the race in 3rd, but despite getting caught by Madoka Nakano (Noritz) with just over 5 km to go Hsieh pushed on to take almost three minutes off her own national record, landing 4th in 1:12:19.

The men's race saw a deep pack go through halfway on sub-1:02 pace, things slowing slightly before 15 km but no real carnage happening until the final stages. With seven still in contention with just over a kilometer to go it came down to a sprint finish on the track, the group boiling down rapidly over the last lap to a duel between Kazuma Ito (Sumitomo Denki) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki). Ito got the win in 1:02:10, lopping 55 seconds off the Osaka course record set just last year and 24 seconds off his own best.

The 35-year-old Nakamoto, Japan's best championship marathoner with three top ten finishes at the World Championships and one at the Olympics, was right behind him in 1:02:12, taking 17 seconds off his PB set way back in 2009. Due for a duel with longtime rival Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) at April's Boston Marathon, Nakamoto was also 6 seconds under Kawauchi's best for the half marathon.  In 6th, Tsuyoshi Bando (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) ran an excellent 1:02:25, a rare sub-1:03 clocking by a non-Hakone Ekiden university from outside the Kanto Region. The top ten all broke the old course record of 1:03:05, a big jump in depth and quality that lands Osaka just behind next weekend's Marugame Half on Japan's list of key winter races.

Osaka Half Marathon

Osaka, 1/28/18
click here for women's results
click here for men's results

Women
1. Maki Ashi (Kyudenko) - 1:11:26
2. Ayaka Yokose (Yamada Denki) - 1:11:58
3. Madoka Nakano (Noritz) - 1:12:12
4. Chien-Ho Hsieh (Taiwan) - 1:12:19 - NR
5. Nanayo Okamoto (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 1:12:31
6. Ayano Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:13:20
7. Rui Nishida (Sysmex) - 1:13:34
8. Asuka Yamamoto (Osaka Geijutsu Univ.) - 1:13:37
9. Mami Onuki (Sysmex) - 1:14:03
10. Yuki Kanehira (Sysmex) - 1:14:19

Men
1. Kazuma Ito (Sumitomo Denko) - 1:02:10 - CR
2. Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:02:12
3. Ryusei Takahashi (Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:14
4. Koki Tanaka (Kanebo) - 1:02:15
5. Masato Terauchi (Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:23
6. Tsuyoshi Bando (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:25
7. Takuya Fukatsu (Asahi Kasei) - 1:02:29
8. Kazuki Muramoto (Sumitomo Denko) - 1:02:35
9. Masamichi Yasuda (Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:39
10. Yuichiro Nishikawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:42

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

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© 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.

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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
           …