Skip to main content

Yoshimatsu 2nd in Harmony Geneva Marathon


Recording what may have been the only negative split in the entire field on a hot day illuminated by piercing sunshine, Japan's Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) ran down half the Harmony Geneva Marathon elite women's field in the last 15 km of the race to take 2nd in 2:39:30.

Running with support from JRN, Yoshimatsu and 2017 Osaka Marathon runner-up Mitsuko Ino (Team R2), a late addition to the field a week before the race after another athlete scratched, fell off the African quartet of Ruth Waithera (Kenya), Fekadu Amelework (Ethiopia), Lema Alemitu (Ethiopia) and Berha Lemelem (Ethiopia) in the first few km. Running her marathon debut, Waithera made an early break to drop the Ethiopian trio. The Japanese pair worked together through the first half but were over three minutes behind the leaders at the halfway mark.

From there Yoshimatsu went to work on the course's long downhill stretch along the French border, dropping Ino and overtaking Lemelem. The remaining trio were still over a kilometer away as she headed for the steeper downhill the final lakeside kilometers, but as Yoshimatsu accelerated toward central Geneva first a fading Waithera and then Alemitu came back into sight. Amelework stopped the clock first in 2:38:05, but Yoshimatsu was close behind. Splitting 1:21:32 at halfway, Yoshimatsu's final finish time gave her a second half of 1:17:58, no small feat given the tough conditions.

Behind her Ino struggled in the heat but maintained position, overtaking Lemelem for 5th just before Lemelem dropped out and holding that spot all the way to a 2:48:18 finish. "Hot weather kills me," she said post-race. "I have to find a really cold race to run later in the year."

Most of the men ended up feeling exactly the same way. The opening 2:08 pace was too hot for 2:10:13 man Asuka Tanaka (Yutori RC), who sat back in 8th with first-timer James Kiplagat (Kenya) in hopes that the lead pack would fracture later in the race. Which it did, piece by piece, shaking down by halfway to a duel between defending champ William Yegon (Kenya) and 2:08 man Joseph Aperumoi (Kenya).

Yegon tried to push the gentler downhill slopes early in the first half to keep things on sub-2:10 pace, but along the lakeside he slowed, particularly after Aperumoi dropped way. His win was never in question, though, a 2:12:10 good enough to give him a second-straight Geneva title. Aperumoi faded to 2:13:54 for 2nd, with only two other runners clearing 2:20. Farther back, Tanaka experienced some internal problems and had to stop in a toilet at 28 km. Even so he got back on track well enough to run down two people in the last 5 km, picking up 6th in his international marathon debut despite a 2:26:29 finishing time.

14th Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef

Geneva, Switzerland, 5/6/18
click here for complete results

Women
1. Fekadu Amelework (Ethiopia) - 2:38:05
2. Hisae Yoshimatsu (Japan) -2:39:30
3. Lema Alemitu (Ethiopia) - 2:43:01
4. Ruth Waithera (Kenya) - 2:45:01
5. Mitsuko Ino (Japan) - 2:48:18
6. Anna Nasik (Poland) - 2:58:31

Men
1. William Yegon (Kenya) - 2:12:10
2. Joseph Aperumoi (Kenya) - 2:13:54
3. Wycliff Biwott (Kenya) - 2:17:40
4. Saji Abdelkabir (Morocco) - 2:19:42
5. Wilfred Murgor (Kenya) - 2:25:27
6. Asuka Tanaka (Japan) - 2:26:29

text and photos © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…

Shiroyama's 8.40 m Jump Leads Four National Records at Athlete Night Games in Fukui

Held in the stadium where Japan saw its first-ever sub-10 clocking for 100 m, Saturday's new Athlete Night Games in Fukui meet produced four national records highlighted by an incredible men's long jump competition. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) opened with a jump of 8.32 m +1.6 m/s that shattered the national record dating way back in 1992 by 7 cm. Hibika Tsuha (Toyo Univ.) followed him with a jump of 8.21 m + 2.0 m/s that put him into the all-time Japanese top three, then bettered that with an 8.23 m +0.6 m/s.



Out of nowhere, Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) knocked them both back in the record books on his third jump with a new national record of 8.40 m +1.5 m/s, the #2 mark in the world so far this year and only his second time clearing 8 m with a legal wind. Japanese fans were quick to compare the trio's results to this season's Diamond League meets.

DL Shanghai
🥇8m24🥈8m16🥉8m14
DL Lausanne
🥇8m32🥈8m19🥉8m13
DL London
🥇8m37🥈8m32🥉8m11
DL Fukui
🥇8m40🥈8m32🥉8m23 htt…