Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) won a close pack race to take the 2019 National University Women's Half Marathon title, outkicking Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) by 2 seconds for the win in 1:11:27. With a relatively slow start the lead pack of nearly 20 gradually picked up its pace, splitting faster for every successive 5 km until only Suzuki, Kaseda, Yuka Tagawa (Matsuyama Univ.) and Yukina Ueda (Tsukuba Univ.)were left together at 20 km.
With three spots at stake on the Japanese national team for this summer's World University Games one of them had to lose, and as Suzuki and Kaseda pulled away over the last km the third spot came down to another duel. Tagami proved to have the better finish, taking 3rd in 1:11:35 to Ueda's 1:11:38. Defending World University Games half marathon gold medalist Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) was a DNF, dropping out after 10 km as the pace increased.
Run as part of the Matsue Ladies Half Marathon, the race also included corporate league runners. Nanami Aoki (Iwatani Sangyo) took the top spot among them at 5th overall in 1:11:54. Another corporate runner, Ayari Harada (Daiichi Seimei) won the 10 km in 33:13.
To the north, 2:21:36 marathoner Yuka Ando made her debut in the Wacoal team uniform with a 1:10:34 win at the Niigata Half Marathon. Ando was on her own throughout the race, teammate Kotomi Tsubokura finishing almost 2 minutes back in 2nd in 1:12:29. Hong Kong national record holder Kit Ching Yiu was a distant 3rd in 1:14:49.
In the men's race, a lead pack of nine ran together through 15 km on mid-1:02:30 pace before Komazawa University 3rd-year Keiichiro Otsubo decided to take the race into his own hands. Otsubo took off with a 14:31 split from 15 to 20 km, opening a gap of over 20 seconds on the rest of the lead group and coming onto the track unchallenged for the win in a PB of 1:02:17. Yoshihiro Hiraga (SDF Academy) was 2nd in 1:02:37, with marathoner Yohei Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) winning a sprint finish versus Shintaro Miwa (NTN) for 3rd in 1:02:44.
40th Matsue Ladies Half Marathon22nd National University Women's Half Marathon Championships
Matsue, Shimane, 3/17/19
1. Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:11:27
2. Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:29
3. Yuka Tagawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 1:11:35
4. Yukina Ueda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 1:11:38
5. Nanami Aoki (Iwatani Sangyo) - 1:11:54
6. Miku Daido (Iwatani Sangyo) - 1:12:21
7. Nanayo Okamoto (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 1:12:30
8. Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) - 1:12:38
9. Sara Miyake (Tenmaya) - 1:12:41
10. Chisato Nagai (Osaka Geijutsu Univ.) - 1:12:54
DNF - Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.)
1. Ayari Harada (Daiichi Seimei) - 33:13
2. Mary Shipuko Manela (Hitachi) - 33:46
3. Yuki Udagawa (Sekisui Kagaku) - 33:59
3rd Niigata Half MarathonNiigata, 3/17/19
1. Keiichiro Otsubo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:17
2. Yoshihiro Hiraga (SDF Academy) - 1:02:37
3. Yohei Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:44
4. Shintaro Miwa (NTN) - 1:02:44
5. Keita Sakamoto (Komori Corp.) - 1:03:00
1. Yuka Ando (Wacoal) - 1:10:34
2. Kotomi Tsubokura (Wacoal) - 1:12:29
3. Kit Ching Yiu (Hong Kong) - 1:14:49
4. Natsumi Furukawa (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:15:22
5. Yurika Kubo (Aichi Denki) - 1:18:13
© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved