Skip to main content

Kariuki Sets Okukuma Half Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

In a period that sees many of Japan's long-standing small elite races folding or changing to mass-participation formats the Okukuma Road Race, launched in 2013 in one of the most conservative areas of southern Japan, is something of a throwback, a small race of around 100 men with an accompanying high school boys' 10 km and women restricted to 5 km because, well, that's how they roll in Kumamoto.

In its third edition, Kyushu-based Kenyan John Kariuki (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) led the top four at the Okukuma Half Marathon under last year's course record for the win in a new record of 1:03:16.  Essentially unchallenged, Kariuki had a lead of around 10 seconds at 10 km and held that margin to win by 13 seconds over London Olympics marathoner Ryo Yamamoto (SGH Group) with Shun Inoura, an alternate for Komazawa University's Hakone Ekiden runner-up team, another 3 seconds back in 1:03:32.

Still recovering from a sprained ankle a few weeks back, Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was 9th in 1:04:44 after running the early part of the race with Yamamoto.

Results were less noteworthy at the 39th edition of the Chiba Marine Half Marathon east of Tokyo.  Yuki Iwasaki (Sekino Reform) took a close men's race over Shota Yamada (Chiba T&F Assoc.) in 1:06:16 to 1:06:17, while Kyoko Koyama led a Juntendo University sweep of the top four places in the women's race in 1:18:40.  The best result in Chiba came in the women's 10 km, where Chiaki Morikawa (Starts) won in 34:28.

3rd Okukuma Road Race
Kumagun, Kumamoto, 1/18/15
complete results coming shortly

Men's Half Marathon
1. John Kariuki (Kenya/Daichi Kogyo Univ.) - 1:03:16 - CR
2. Ryo Yamamoto (SGH Group) - 1:03:29 (CR)
3. Shun Inoura (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:32 (CR)
4. Rei Hashimoto (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:35 (CR)
5. Daisuke Watanabe (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:37
6. Naoki Hasegawa (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:41
7. Shun Yamamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:43
8. Ryusei Yoshinaga (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:55
9. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:44
10. Kenichi Kawano (Kurosaki Harima) - 1:04:50

H.S. Boys' 10 km
1. Satoshi Nakao (Chiharadai H.S.)

Women's 5 km
1. Yuki Yokoishi (Shiraishi H.S.) - 16:42

39th Chiba Marine Half Marathon
Chiba, 1/18/15
complete results coming eventually

Women's Half Marathon
1. Kyoko Koyama (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:18:40
2. Saori Imamura (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:19:56
3. Miki Kobayashi (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:20:07

Men's Half Marathon
1. Yuki Iwasaki (Sekino Reform) - 1:06:16
2. Shota Yamada (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 1:06:17
3. Yatsuya Itagaki (JP Post) - 1:06:31

Women's 10 km
1. Chiaki Morikawa (Starts) - 34:28

Men's 10 km
1. Jun Sugimura (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 31:41

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

National Corporate Track and Field Championships Entry Lists and Streaming

Japan's never-ending outdoor track season rolls on this weekend with its last major meet, the 69th edition of the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Nagai Stadium. Running Friday through Sunday, the entry lists are heavy on members of the Tokyo Olympic team including men's 20 km race walk silver medalist Koki Ikeda  and bronze medalist Toshikazu Yamanishi , and three of the four members of Japan's 4x100 m relay team, national record holder Ryota Yamagata , Shuhei Tada , and Yuki Koike . The meet will be streamed live on the organizers' Youtube channel , with streaming scheduled for 17:00~19:00 local time Friday, 13:20~19:00 Saturday, and 13:10~18:00 Sunday. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Berlin Marathon Japanese Results

This year's Berlin Marathon field included three good Japanese men. Hidekazu Hijikata  (Honda), 2nd at February's Lake Biwa Marathon in 2:06:26, went out in the 2nd pack that included eventual runner-up Bethwel Yegon  (Yegon). Hitting halfway on national record pace just 15 seconds off his half marathon PB in 1:02:17, by 25 km Hijikata was in free-fall. his 5 km splits going from the 14-min range to 15, to 16, and finally to 17:11. He ultimately finished 9th in 2:11:47. Kazuki Muramoto  (Sumitomo Denko) and Taku Fujimoto  (Toyota) were initially in the same group with Yegon and Hijikata but only lasted 10 km before backing off together. Muramoto, 11th in Lake Biwa in 2:07:36, dropped further back, but after getting caught by top German Philipp Pflieger  he tacked on and regained ground. With 3 km to go he passed Fujimoto, the 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner, finishing 14th in 2:14:11. Fujimoto was 15th in 2:14:18, 43 seconds up on Pflieger. © 2021 Brett Larner, al

Weekend(s) Track Roundup

Track time trial meets are a fact of life in the Japanese system, running all the way through the fall up to championship ekiden season in December. And with the conservative response to the pandemic in Japan in terms of road race cancelation, that's gone even longer, pretty much through the end of the academic and fiscal year in March. But this weekend did have the last major full track meet of the season, the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. But before we get to that, last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama produced one major result that has to be mentioned. With Saturday's usual program of everything except men's 5000 m moving to the public holiday on Monday, Joseph Lemeteki Razini  (Takushoku Univ.) took two seconds off the Japanese 10000 m collegiate record, winning in 27:25.65 over Jonathan Ndiku  (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Ledama Kisaisa  (Kanebo). The previous record of 27:27.64 was set by