Fukuoka wasn't the only big race in Japan yesterday. Just south near Kumamoto, the world's #1 10-miler took place in rural Kosa. Primarily a tuneup for the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships, the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race produced two of the fastest Japanese times ever, two national records, and record-setting depth.
Up front, a larger-than-usual contingent of Japan-based Kenyans and top-level Japanese talent including Chicago 2:07:57 man Taku Fujimoto (Toyota), Jakarta Asian Games steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) and others pushed through a 14:10 first 5 km despite warm and humid conditions and a light headwind. The lead pack gradually whittled down to five by 15 km, where John Muritu (Toyota Kyushu), Fujimoto and Cyrus Kingori (SGH Group) attacked at the base of a short downhill.
In the last sprint Muritu got away to take 1st in 45:56, with Fujimoto next in 45:57 and Kingori 3rd in 45:58. Fujimoto's time was one second better than last year's winning time by half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) and landed him at all-time Japanese #4. Following his 10000 m PB last weekend in Hachioji it looks like Fujimoto, a teammate of Fukuoka winner Yuma Hattori (Toyota), has recovered well from his surprise sub-2:08 in Chicago.
Shiojiri and three-time Kosa winner Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) were left behind by the top three's final attack, Karemi taking 4th and Shiojiri 5th in 46:06 to position himself as all-time Japanese #10. Veteran 2:07 marathoner and former Hakone Ekiden uphill king Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) had a surprisingly good day, taking 13 seconds off his 11-year-old PB for 9th in 46:22.
Wrapping up a three-week stint in Japan that saw him run a national record at the Ageo City Half Marathon and a 10000 m season best for the win at the Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, David Nilsson (Sweden) ran in the second pack in hopes of breaking the relatively soft 48:34 national record. As in Ageo running without a watch, Nilsson found himself pulled along through a 14:13 first 5 km and 28:59 split at 10 km. Working together with 2015 3rd-placer Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei), Nilsson pushed through the second half to take almost a minute and a half off the Swedish national record for 22nd in 47:10. Nilsson will compete for Sweden at next weekend's European Cross Country Championships.
Mongolian half marathon and marathon national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (NTN) also set a new national record, running 47:59 for 57th. Kosa this year broke the world records for depth set at the 2015 edition, with 92 men breaking 49 minutes and 114 going under 50. The next three deepest 10-milers in the world this year, Japan's Karatsu 10-Miler, the U.S.A. 10-Mile Championships and the Netherlands' Dam-tot Damloop, had 44, 34 and 25 men under 50 minutes, totaling less than what happened in Kosa.
In the high school boys's 10 km, last year's winner Ryuto Igawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) ran one second faster this time, 29:44, but finished a distant second to winner Simon Kimunge (Tokai Prep Fukuoka H.S.). 16-year-old Masaya Tsurukawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) was 3rd in 29:50. 2016 winner Erika Ikeda (Higo Ginko) returned to the top of the women's 5 km, winning in 16:36 by one second over teammates Eri Sakamoto and Suzuna Takano.
43rd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road RaceKosa, Kumamoto, 12/2/18
Men's 10 Miles
1. John Muritu (Toyota Kyushu) - 45:56
2. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 45:57 - all-time JPN #4
3. Cyrus Kingori (SGH Group) - 45:58
4. Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) - 46:05
5. Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) - 46:06 - all-time JPN #10
6. Daiji Kawai (Toenec) - 46:15
7. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 46:20
8. Shohei Otsuka (Kyudenko) - 46:21
9. Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) - 46:22
10. Kiyoshi Koga (Yasukawa Denki) - 46:26
11. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 46:30
12. Ryosuke Maki (Subaru) - 46:31
13. Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) - 46:38
14. Akito Terui (ND Software) - 46:49
15. Hidekazu Hijikata (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 46:50
16. Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 46:51
17. Shuhei Yamaguchi (Asahi Kasei) - 46:54
18. Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) - 46:56
19. Kohei Futaoka (Chudenko) - 47:02
20. Alex Mwangi (YKK) - 47:08
21. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 47:09
22. David Nilsson (Sweden) - 47:10 - NR
23. Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 47:12
24. Masashi Sakamoto (Toyota Kyushu) - 47:13
25. Enock Omwamba (MHPS) - 47:16
31. Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 47:28
57. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 47:59 - NR
79. Naohiro Yamada (YKK) - 48:28
92. Hikaru Urano (MHPS) - 48:58
104. Tomoki Kawamura (Toyota Boshoku) - 49:29
114. Takaya Arake (Asahi Kasei) - 49:58
DNF - William Malel (Honda)
High School Boys 10 km
1. Simon Kimunge (Tokai Prep Fukuoka H.S.) - 29:19
2. Ryuto Igawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 29:44
3. Masaya Tsurukawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 29:50
4. Ryosuke Yamasaki (Tosu Kogyo H.S.) - 29:54
5. Yuki Irita (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 30:01
Women's 5 km
1. Erika Ikeda (Higo Ginko) - 16:36
2. Eri Sakamoto (Higo Ginko) - 16:37
3. Suzuna Takano (Higo Ginko) - 16:39
4. Mayu Sakaida (Chiharadai H.S.) - 16:45
5. Eriko Otsuka (Canon AC Kyushu) - 17:01
text and photos © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved