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

Nikkan Sports Reports Olympic Ticket Lottery Success Rate of 2.95% Within Company

The Nikkan Sports newspaper company conducted a survey of its employees' success rate at scoring tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the ticket lottery drawing following the announcement of the lottery's results on June 20. Including the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field, gymnastics, tennis, badminton, baseball, softball and medal sessions in other major sports, out of the 1288 sessions for which Nikkan employees applied they won tickets to a total of 38 sessions. The success rate among survey respondents was just 2.95%, an indication of how hard it was to get tickets to Japan's home soil Olympics.

Translator's note: Of the 28 sessions I applied for I won tickets to three, two in athletics and one in archery. Including only medal sessions, I got tickets to two of the 22 to which I applied, both in athletics. Interestingly, one of the ones I didn't get was stadium seating for the men's marathon finish, showing what a hot ticket that is going be.

A…

17-Year-Old Ryuji Miura Breaks 3000 m Steeplechase High School Record in World-Leading Time

At the Kinki Region High School Track and Field Championships Saturday in Osaka’s Nagai Stadium, 17-year-old Ryuji Miura of Rakunan H.S. took down one of the oldest records in Japanese athletics, breaking the 30-year-old 3000 m steeplechase high school record by 5 seconds to win in 8:39.49.

Running in heavy rain after clocking the fastest time in the qualifying rounds, Miura went straight to the front in the final and was on his own within 200 m. From the start the record was in reach as he went through 1000 m in 2:49 and 2000 m in 5:43, building up a lead of about 200 m over the rest of the field.

Miura’s final time of 8:39.49 was the fastest in the world this year by an U18 athlete and 6th-best among U20 men, a new Japanese U18 record and all-time #2 for the U20 category. He came short of the outright Japanese high school record of 8:19.21 held by future marathon great Daniel Njenga, but took 5 seconds off the Japanese citizen high school record of 8:44.77 set back in 1989 by futu…

National Track and Field Championships Preview - Middle and Long Distance

The 2019 National Track and Field Championships start Thursday. With the 10000 m having been held last month in hopes of maximizing people's chances of hitting the standards for the Doha World Championships instead of doubling in the 5000 m, from 800 m to 5000 m, including the 3000 m steeplechase, the only event that has people already with the Doha standard set to toe the starting line is the women's 5000 m. It's also the only event that has African pacers lined up. Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki TC), Tomoka Kimura (Shiseido) and Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) have all cleared the 15:22 Doha standard inside the window, and if any of them wins she'll be named to the team. Others will have to wait until September for the JAAF's final decision. 10000 m national champion Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) is the one who could ruin it for them, not holding the standard but having run 15:10.91 last year. Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) and Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) s…