Skip to main content

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon



2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near 12 km Kariuki began to pull away from Wambui, a replay of their battle at last month's world record-setting Yosenkai 20 km. There was no clean break, just a gradual edging away that went all the way to the finish.

Kariuki kicked in to crack the course record, beating Ethiopian Bekele Gebretsadik's 2006 mark of 1:01:26 with a new PB by over a  minute and becoming the first Kenyan to win Ageo in six years. Wambui was next in 1:01:37, the third-fastest time in event history in his half marathon debut.

Behind them, little happened in the chase pack of over 20, the pace slowing beyond 3:00/km as the tension built. Running after 2:15 marathons the two previous weekends, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), a regular every year at Ageo, struggled to hang on to the rear of the pack, and when Katanishi threw down his move on the corner into the long last 3 km straight Kawauchi was gone.


Katanishi dropped the competition to take 3rd in 1:03:00, the first time in eight years a Japanese collegiate hasn't gone under 63 in Ageo. His teammate Shogo Ise stayed with Haruki Ono of 2017 National University Ekiden champion Kanagawa University and the Tokai trio of Seki, Shun Yuzawa and Yuichiro Nishikawa until the track, getting away from them on the last corner to take 4th in 1:03:10, a PB by over 30 seconds.

For their efforts Katanishi and Ise scored the New York Road Runners' pair of invitations for the top two Japanese collegiate runners at Ageo to race next March's United Airlines NYC Half. Seki was 5th in 1:03:12, the third year in a row a Tokai runner has just missed out on the NYC invite.

Kawauchi took 17th in 1:03:35, an impressive performance given his last two weeks but one that left him disappointed ahead of next month's Fukuoka International Marathon. "I wasn't feeling good at all," he told JRN post-race. "I have to get things together in time for Fukuoka."

Ageo's women's race doesn't feature the same depth as its men's race, but in the last few years it has become something of a magnet for top runners from elsewhere in Asia. Chun Yu Tsao narrowly outran Japanese amateur Yuna Terashima to become the first Taiwanese winner in Ageo history, finishing just off the Taiwanese national record in 1:15:51.

It's been ten years since I first ran Ageo, a mind-blowing race I wrote about in JRN's first hit article. Since then word has spread about the magic that the organizers of what would otherwise be an ordinary local race are working, with Singapore and Hong Kong national records set on its course and the NYC invite that JRN initiated having produced runners who went on to make Japanese World Championships and Olympic teams and, in Yuta Shitara, the first university man to make the trip from Ageo to New York, a Japanese national record-setter. I'm honored to have gone from being just another amateur participant to a part of one of the world's great road races. Congratulations to the organizing committee on its first 30 years, and on to the next 30.

30th Ageo City Half Marathon

Ageo, Saitama, 11/19/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 1:01:25 - CR, PB
2. Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) - 1:01:37 - debut
3. Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:00
4. Shogo Ise (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:10 - PB
5. Hayato Seki (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:12 - debut
6. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:12
7. Haruki Ono (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:03:15 - PB
8. Yuichiro Nishikawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:16 - PB
9. Fuminori Shimo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:19
10. Shigeki Fujiwara (Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:22 - PB
11. Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:23 - PB
12. Yasuyuki Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:28 - PB
13. Hideaki Sumiyoshi (Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:03:31
14. Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:32 - PB
15. Rintaro Takata (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:32
16. Reiri Nakashima (Tokai Univ.) 1:03:34
17. Hironao Akizawa (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:03:35 - PB
18. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:35
19. Ryoga Asai (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:37 - debut
20. Shuhei Moriya (Yamagata City Hall) - 1:03:42 - PB
21. Shunsuke Imanishi (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:42 - PB
22. Kenta Uchida (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:42
23. Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:43 - PB
24. Masaki Takamoto (Komazawa Univ) - 1:03:44
25. Daisuke Horiai (Komazawa Univ) - 1:03:53
-----
50. Shota Tanaka (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:04:39 - PB
75. Kenta Usui (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:08 - debut
100. Yasuto Naka (Jobu Univ.) - 1:05:32 - PB
125. Shohei Narita (Saitama Namekawa RC) - 1:05:54
150. Terumichi Yoshimi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:26

Women
1. Chun Yu Tsao (Taiwan) - 1:15:51 - PB
2. Yuna Terashima (unattached) - 1:16:16 - debut
3. Yukie Nagata (Raffine) - 1:20:20

text and photos © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Matt said…
Great writeup and great event. As always impeccably organized. Shame it was too windy for really fast times across the board. The local university showing was strong though. Left me (first half in Japan) speechless.
Paco said…
Thanks for the info! It's amazing how hard is for not japanese speakers to find information about such an amazing race. By the way, is there a way to see the full results? Thanks!
Brett Larner said…
Yes, there is a link to the full results in the article. All in Japanese, though.

Glad you enjoyed it, Matt.

Most-Read This Week

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…