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Weekend Half Marathon Roundup


Along with the National Cross-Country Championships and Tokyo Marathon, the weekend saw competitive half marathons across the country and nearby in South Korea.

Yuta Shimoda of four-time Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University turned the fastest time of the weekend with a 1:03:20 win at the Kashima Yutoku Road Race half marathon, beating sometime training partner Aritaka Kajiwara (Hiramatsu Byoin) by 35 seconds.

A week after his course record-breaking win at the Kitakyushu Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the local Fukaya City Half Marathon in Saitama in 1:04:26, beating corporate leaguer Rui Watanabe (Shindengen) by 29 seconds. Amateur Tomomi Sawahata (Sawahatters) scored yet another road race win in 1:15:42, the fastest time of the weekend by a Japanese woman.

At the 40th anniversary running of the Inuyama Yomiuri Half Marathon, Toyo University first-year Ryoga Asai won in 1:04:44. Eri Watanabe (Aichi Denki) took the women's race in 1:16:30.

Across the seas in South Korea, former Konica Minolta runner Samuel Kariuki (Kenya) took 10 seconds off the course record to win the Gyeonggi International Half Marathon in 1:02:30. Japan's Kohei Nakajima (Josai Univ.) led the second pack to take 4th overall in 1:04:33 in a sprint finish against South Korea's Jae Hoon Kim and Mongolian Dambadarjaa Gantulga.

67th Kashima Yutoku Road Race

Kashima, Saga 2/25/18

Men's Half Marathon
1. Yuta Shimoda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:20
2. Aritaka Kajiwara (Hiramatsu Byoin) - 1:03:55
3. Ryosuke Nara (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:04:00
4. Shun Sadakata (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:39
5. Ayumu Tsutsumi (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 1:05:26
6. Tomoya Kaneko (Nihon Univ.) - 1:05:42

Women's Half Marathon
1. Natsumi Morino 1:22:13

Men's 10 km
1. Ryuichi Hashimoto 29:45

Women's 10 km
1. Misa Kanda 34:43

12th Fukaya City Half Marathon

Fukaya, Saitama 2/25/18

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:26
2. Rui Watanabe (Shindengen) - 1:04:55

Women
1. Tomomi Sawahata (Sawahatters) - 1:15:42

40th Inuyama Yomiuri Half Marathon

Inuyama, Aichi 2/25/18

Men
1. Ryoga Asai (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:44

Women
1. Eri Watanabe (Aichi Denki) - 1:16:30

Men's 10 km
1. Hayate Takeuchi (NTN) - 30:03

Women's 10 km
1. Honoka Sugiura (Chukyo Univ.) - 34:10

Gyeonggi International Half Marathon

Suwon, South Korea 2/25/18

Men
1. Samuel Kariuki (KEN) 1:02:30 - CR
2. Abebe Negewo Degefe (ETH) 1:02:39
3. Brahom Oukhouya (MAR) 1:02:47
4. Kohei Nakajima (JPN) 1:04:33
5. Jae Hoon Kim (KOR) 1:04:34
6. Dambadarjaa Gantulga (MGL) 1:04:36

photo © Shingo Igarashi, all rights reserved
text © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

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
           …