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Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazami bested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.

Trying to stay with Kazami, high-volume marathoner Hayasaka dropped Gyoba after 75 km to take 2nd in 6:20:49. Gyoba, an editor for Japan's largest running magazine, lasted for 3rd in 6:22:55. Coming up from the second group after having been more than 3 minutes behind Gyoba at 90 km, Hideaki Yamauchi ran down Yoshiki Kawauchi, younger brother of Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi, for 4th in 6:23:49, with Kawauchi breaking his PB by almost 14 minutes in 6:28:35 for 5th. 2016-17 winner including a near-miss on the world record last year in 6:14:18, Tatsuya Itagaki took 7th in 6:40:46. Kazami, Hayasaka and Gyoba all stand to be named to Japan's national team for this year's 100 km World Championships in Croatia.

In the women's race, most of the lead pack trailed behind 2013 Lake Saroma winner Mai Fujisawa, Fujisawa splitting 3:10:03 at the marathon point and 3:45:26 at 50 km to the pack's 3:11:34 and 3:47:17. But ahead of her, national-level triathlete Konoka Azumi was trying to make the race her own, hitting the marathon in 3:09:37 and 50 km in 3:45:23. Fujisawa reeled her in, pushing on unchallenged to win in 7:37:56, but Azumi's effort was enough for 2nd in 7:47:07. Aiko Kanematsu was the first runner from the chase pack to make it across the line, taking 3rd in 7:49:18 to seal up a spot on the World Championships team.

33rd Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon

Hokkaido, 6/24/18
click any name for official splits and results

Men
1. Nao Kazami - 6:09:14 - WR
2. Koji Hayasaka - 6:20:49
3. Takehiko Gyoba - 6:22:55
4. Hideaki Yamauchi - 6:23:49
5. Yoshiki Kawauchi - 6:28:35

Women
1. Mai Fujisawa - 7:37:56
2. Konoka Azumi - 7:47:07
3. Aiko Kanematsu - 7:49:18
4. Yuko Kusunose - 7:55:19
5. Tomomi Nakashima - 8:01:20

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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