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Ten Men Under 1:01, Five Women Under 1:10 at National Corporate Half Marathon Championships

Before last weekend only eight Japanese men had ever gone under 1:01 in the half marathon on record-legal courses, with another four on the old downhill Tokyo Half course. At last Sunday's Marugame Half four did it, two who had done it before and two who went under the national record in the first time clearing 1:01. At today's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships eight more did it, equalling all of Japanese history in the course of eight days and the previous record-legal history in a single race.

Not too much question why, but the racing was still good. Kenyan James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) earned the win, 16 seconds ahead of the pack at 5 km in 14:33 and only going faster from there to his 1:00:27 finish. The main pack had a leisurely 14:49 opening 5 km before getting it in gear, dropping to 14:17 for the next 5 km and getting down as fast as 14:12 splits between 15 and 20 km. Kiyoshi Koga (Yasukawa Denki) was the first Japanese man across the line, dropping Kenyan Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) and twelve other Japanese men to take 2nd overall in 1:00:49.

Hiroki Suzuki (YKK) was 3rd in 1:00:50, with the top ten all clearing 1:01 and the next four within 5 seconds of it. The twelve Japanese men in the top 14 all made the all-time Japanese top 25. Marugame last week set new records for number of finishers under 62 minutes, 63 minutes and 64 minutes. Today's race crushed all of them, with 46 men breaking 62, 71 under 63, and 86 clearing 64. What could March's National University Men's Half Marathon Championships possible bring?

The women's National Championships were divided in two, a 10 km division and a half marathon. The 10 km was mostly notable for its splits, with 26 of the 31 women in the race jogging a 17:35 first half and then blasting a 15:43 second half. Momoka Kawaguchi (Toyota Jidoshokki) won by a stride over Misaki Hayashida (Kyudenko) in 33:18, with Reina Hashino (Hitachi) 3rd in 33:26.

The women's half wasn't as crazily deep as the men's, but was still solid quality for a Japanese race. After a modest 16:46 opening 5 km a lead group of nine separated, going through 10 km skimming just under 1:10 pace in 33:09. The pack thinned to seven by 15 km before things really got moving, and with one km to go it was the proven Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) side-by-side with Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) with unknown Kaena Takeyama (Daihatsu) right behind.

A teammate of Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda, Takeyama had the gears to get the win, kicking away on the track with 200 m to go to break the tape in 1:09:12 to Tsutsui's 1:09:14, Ikemitsu close behind for 3rd in 1:09:16. All three of them made it into the all-time Japanese top 25. Juri Ichikawa (Yamada Denki) and Ikumi Fukura (Otsuka Seiyaku) also broke 1:10, with the next five under 1:11 and the top 20 all under 1:12. As the most neglected of the major long distances for Japanese women, the depth of the results were encouraging, whatever the boost from the footwear. Now they just need to incorporate the distance into the National Corporate Women's Ekiden to give them parity with the men and the same kind of leg up in marathon-directed development.

48th National Corporate Half Marathon Championships

Yamaguchi, 2/9/20
complete results

Women's Half Marathon
1. Kaena Takeyama (Daihatsu) - 1:09:12
2. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 1:09:14
3. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) - 1:09:16
4. Juri Ichikawa (Yamada Denki) - 1:09:55
5. Ikumi Fukura (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:09:58
6. Nao Yamamoto (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:10:04
7. Maki Izumida (Daiichi Seimei) - 1:10:13
8. Mao Uesugi (Starts) - 1:10:17
9. Wakana Itsuki (Kyudenko) - 1:10:39
10. Natsumi Matsushita (Tenmaya) - 1:10:50
11. Toshika Tamura (Hitachi) - 1:11:13
12. Kanako Takemoto (Daihatsu) - 1:11:25
13. Chiharu Suzuki (Hitachi) - 1:11:28
14. Nana Sato (Starts) - 1:11:36
15. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 1:11:37
20. Miki Hirai (Higo Ginko) - 1:11:53
29. Yuma Adachi (Kyocera) - 1:12:52
35. Ai Ikemoto (Daihatsu) - 1:13:58
37. Yomogi Akasaka (Starts) - 1:14:36
DNF - Yuka Hori (Panasonic)
DNF - Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz)
DNF - Yuki Maehata (Otsuka Seiyaku)

Women's 10 km
1. Momoka Kawaguchi (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 33:18
2. Misaki Hayashida (Kyudenko) - 33:19
3. Reina Hashino (Hitachi) - 33:26
4. Nagisa Shimotabira (Daihatsu) - 33:29
5. Shuri Ogasawara (Denso) - 33:30
6. Rina Miyata (Kyudenko) - 33:33
7. Mei Kanemaru (Miyazaki Ginko) - 33:41
8. Hina Kawakita (Denso) - 33:44
9. Rika Ichihara (Miyazaki Ginko) - 33:50
10. Sumire Honda (Juhachi Ginko) - 33:51

Men's Half Marathon
1. James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) - 1:00:27
2. Kiyoshi Koga (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:00:49
3. Hiroki Suzuki (YKK) - 1:00:50
4. Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) - 1:00:53
5. Shin Kimura (Honda) - 1:00:54
6. Yusuke Nishiyama (Toyota) - 1:00:55
7. Jun Nobuto (Mazda) - 1:00:56
8. Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) - 1:00:57
9. Masashi Nonaka (Osaka Gas) - 1:00:58
10. Daisuke Horiai (Yakult) - 1:00:59
11. Ryota Sato (Tokyo Police Dep't) - 1:01:01
12. Yusuke Baba (Komori Corp.) - 1:01:02
13. Noritoshi Hara (Honda) - 1:01:03
14. Daisuke Hosomori (YKK) - 1:01:05
15. Naoki Koyama (Honda) - 1:01:08
16. Tsubasa Ichiyama (Saitama Ika Univ. Group) - 1:01:14
17. Tsuyoshi Bando (Osaka Gas) - 1:01:18
18. Tatsuya Oike (Toyota Boshoku) - 1:01:23
19. Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 1:01:26
20. Takumi Kiyotani (Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:27
21. Kenta Uchida (Saitama Ika Univ. Group) - 1:01:37
22. Yusuke Osumi (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:01:41
23. Naoki Aiba (Chudenko) - 1:01:42
24. Koki Yoshioka (Chuo Hatsujo) - 1:01:42
25. Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) - 1:01:45
46. Hiroki Tsujiyoko (Osaka Gas) - 1:01:58
71. Chihiro Fujie (Press Kogyo) - 1:02:59
86. Kansuke Morihashi (Raffine) - 1:03:55
95. Ayumu Hisaibaru (Kurosaki Harima) - 1:04:55
105. Eikichi Kazaoka (JFE Steel) - 1:05:56
DNF - Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu)

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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