Ugandan Jackson Kiprop and Ethiopian Meskerem Hunde won Sunday's 21st edition of the Nagano Marathon. Running a steady and well-paced race that went out near 2:10:30 pace and sped up slightly to a 1:04:58 halfway split, Kiprop wore down the competition until there were only four left at 30 km. Ethiopian Deresa Geleta stayed with him until the very end, but Kiprop had the finish in him to open 3 seconds on Geleta to become Nagano's first-ever Ugandan winner in 2:10:39.
Geleta's 2:10:42 was good for a PB, with Japan's Naoya Sakuda (JR Higashi Nihon) also dropping a big PB of 2:11:21 for 3rd over Kenyan Alfred Kering. #1-ranked Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin) was one of the first to drop off Kiprop's early pace but rallied late in the race to take 5th in 2:14:35, his best performance since a stress fracture following his breakthrough in Tokyo last year.
Hunde pulled off an equally evenly-paced run to win the women's race, projected to run 2:33:44 after 5 km and ending up with a 2:33:32. With every 5 km that passed another competitor dropped off the lead group until only fellow Ethiopian Kebene Chala was left at 40 km. Not waiting as late as Kiprop, Hunde went for a long surge to drop Chala, opening 14 seconds by the time she crossed the finish line.
Pre-race favorite Valentine Kipketer was 3rd in 2:35:03 nearly a minute ahead of another Kenyan, Pauline Wangui. In the absence of #1-ranked Japanese woman Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead), the unsponsored Yumiko Kinoshita took the top Japanese spot at 5th in 2:36:28.
21st Nagano MarathonNagano, 4/21/19
1. Jackson Kiprop (Uganda) - 2:10:39
2. Derese Geleta (Ethiopia) - 2:10:42 - PB
3. Naoya Sakuda (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:21 - PB
4. Alfred Kering (Kenya) - 2:12:45
5. Asuka Tanaka (Japan/Hiramatsu Byoin) - 2:14:35
6. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Kanebo) - 2:14:41 - debut
7. Tadashi Suzuki (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:14:49
8. Hiromasa Fukushima (Japan/Press Kogyo) - 2:14:56
9. Ezekiel Jafary (Tanzania) - 2:15:13
10. Yuta Inage (Japan/Press Kogyo) - 2:15:24
1. Meskerem Hunde (Ethiopia) - 2:33:32 - PB
2. Kebene Chala (Ethiopia) - 2:33:46
3. Valentine Kipketer (Kenya) - 2:35:03
4. Pauline Wangui (Kenya) - 2:36:02
5. Yumiko Kinoshita (Japan) - 2:36:28
6. Kasumi Yoshida (Japan/Nitori) - 2:37:14
7. Honoka Yuzawa (Japan) - 2:39:05
8. Aki Odagiri (Japan) - 2:39:49
9. Seika Iwamura (Japan) - 2:51:13
10. Tizita Terecha (Ethiopia) - 2:52:58
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