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Kajitani Wins National University Men's Half Marathon, Mwaka Takes Tamana

Sunday morning featured two big half marathons in Tokyo and Kyushu, both impacted by an unseasonal heat wave that swept the country over the weekend. At the National University Men's Half Marathon in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park, Ryuya Kajitani (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) timed a break perfectly to win his first national title in 1:03:20. Hanging back in a secondary pack as rivals Takeshi Nishida (Tokai Univ.) and Shogo Ise (Komazawa Univ.) duked it out up front through most of the race, Kajitani went to the front with 5 km to go. Ise tried to match him but fell behind and ended up 2nd in 1:03:31, Nishida another 5 seconds back in 1:03:36 for 3rd. Four-time Hakone champ Aoyama Gakuin placed three runners in the top ten without running any of its A-list men, a sign that depth was down overall from some of the record-breaking mass finishes in recent years.


Far to the south, Japan-based Kenyan Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) soloed a 1:02:52 win at the Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon near Kumamoto. Out alone from the early phase, Mwaka's main competition came from Toyo University grad Yuma Hattori (Toyota) who closed late in the race but couldn't catch Mwaka up. Hattori took 2nd in 1:03:06, nearly caught in a sprint finish by Shin Kimura (Honda), a training partner of new marathon NR holder Yuta Shitara. Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) struggled in the heat and finished 12th in 1:04:49.


National University Men's Half Marathon

Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, Tokyo, 3/4/18
click here for complete results

1. Ryuya Kajitani (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:20
2. Shogo Ise (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:31
3. Takeshi Nishida (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:36
4. Kazuki Noda (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:03:43
5. Kosuke Yamada (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:45
6. Yusuke Baba (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:03:45
7. Ryuichi Hashimoto (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:03:46
8. Atsuto Shimanuki (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:53
9. Yohei Komatsu (Tokai Univ.) - 1:04:05
10. Yuya Yoshida (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:09

Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon

Tamana, Kumamoto, 3/4/18
click here for complete results

1. Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:52
2. Yuma Hattori (Toyota) - 1:03:06
3. Shin Kimura (Honda) - 1:03:07
4. Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:19
5. Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:20
6. Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:21
7. Ryo Saito (Asahi Kasei0 - 1:04:07
8. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) - 1:04:08
9. Daiki Kubota (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:04:39
10. Takayuki Hamaguchi (Kyudenko) - 1:04:42
11. Ryosuke Maki (Subaru) - 1:04:45
12. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:49

text, photo and video © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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