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Japan Dominates IAU 100 km World Championships

The Japanese men and women dominated the 2018 IAU 100 km World Championships in Sveti Martin na Muri, Crotia on Saturday, winning both team gold medals and the individual men's gold and silver and women's bronze medals.

Finishing in the inverse order they did at June's historic Lake Saroma 100 km, the men went 1-2-4-6, Lake Saroma 4th placer and defending world champion Hideaki Yamauchi winning the race outright in 6:28:05 and Lake Saroma 3rd-placer Takehiro Gyoba taking silver in 6:32:51. Two-time Comrades Marathon champ Bongmusa Mthembu of South Africa, 2nd to Yamauchi last time out, was the only non-Japanese athlete to make the men's podium, beating Lake Saroma runner-up Koji Hayasaka by just over two minutes to take bronze in 6:33:47 to Hayasaka's 6:36:05. All three scoring Japanese men broke 4:00/km to give the men's an incredible score of 19:37:01, nearly an hour faster than the silver-earning South Africa team. Germany had the distinction of taking the team bronze medal without putting a single man in the top ten overall.

The only Japanese man not to win a medal or score for the team was world record-setting Lake Saroma winner Nao Kazami. In what has to be a first, Kazami was involved in a three-way sprint finish for 5th, getting the better of 3-time world champion Giorgio Calcaterra of Italy by 5 seconds but clocking the same time as American Geoff Burns. Both Kazami and Burns were timed at 6:42:30, but Burns took the 5th spot as Kazami fell to the ground in 6th. The American men were shut out of the medals, 3 and 1/2 minutes behind Germany in 4th.

Like the men the Japanese women put all four team members into the top six to win the team gold medal. Home soil champ Nikolina Sustic and German Nele Alder-Baerens were in a different league, running 7:20:34 and 7:22:41 to take the individual gold and silver medals. Lake Saroma winner Mai Fujisawa was far back in 7:39:07 for bronze, spearheading the tight team finish that saw Japan's next two, Mikiko Ota and Aiko Kanematsu, finish within 6 minutes of her in 4th and 5th. Yuko Kusunose was another 4 and 1/2 minutes back in 6th. As in the men's race the Japanese women's winning team time of 23:03:50 was nearly an hour faster than runner-up South Africa, with the Croatian women doing their country proud with team bronze.

2018 IAU 100 km World Championships

Sveti Martin na Muri, Croatia, 9/8/18
complete results
1. Hideaki Yamauchi (Japan) - 6:28:05
2. Takehiro Gyoba (Japan) - 6:32:51
3. Bongmusa Mthembu (South Africa) - 6:33:47
4. Koji Hayasaka (Japan) - 6:36:05
5. Geoff Burns (U.S.A.) - 6:42:30
6. Nao Kazami (Japan) - 6:42:30
7. Giorgio Calcaterra (Italy) - 6:42:35
8. Anthony Clark (Great Britain) - 6:43:22
9. Fritjof Fagerlund (Sweden) - 6:44:53
10. Elow Olsson (Sweden) - 6:46:03

Team Results
1. Japan - 19:37:01
2. South Africa - 20:33:49
3. Germany - 21:02:12
4. U.S.A. - 21:05:41
5. Spain - 21:06:49

1. Nikolina Sustic (Croatia) - 7:20:34
2. Nele Alder-Baerens (Germany) - 7:22:41
3. Mai Fujisawa (Japan) - 7:39:07
4. Mikiko Ota (Japan) - 7:39:45
5. Aiko Kanematsu (Japan) - 7:44:58
6. Yuko Kusunose (Japan) - 7:49:33
7. Salome Cooper (South Africa) - 7:51:13
8. Noora Honkala (Finland) - 7:52:04
9. Kajsa Berg (Sweden) - 7:52:39
10. Leonie Ton (Netherlands) - 7:54:44

Team Results
1. Japan - 23:03:50
2. South Africa - 23:56:44
3. Croatia - 24:13:57

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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