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Nageeye and Saina Win Marugame Half, Suzuki 1:07:55 Debut for All-Time Japanese #3



It was one of those magical Marugame days when everything, almost everything, went right, when despite an uphill second half everyone, almost everyone, ran a PB they'll probably never touch again. Defending Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon winner Betsy Saina (Kenya) taking over a minute off her best to beat the debuting Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) to the line 1:07:49 to 1:07:55, Suzuki's time landing her at all-time #3 on the Japanese charts. 41-year-old 3rd-placer Sinead Diver (Australia) running a masters' world record 1:08:55. And more down the line.

And on the men's side, Abdi Nageeye (Netherlands) knocking almost two minutes off his best to outrun former Ageo City Half Marathon course record holder Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) over the last 5 km for a national record 1:00:24 to Kariuki's 1:00:43 PB. 3rd-placer Jack Rayner (Australia) narrowly holding off a fast-closing pack of five Japanese collegiate and corporate men in 1:01:36 with all five behind him finishing in 1:01:45 to 1:01:46. Two other Japanese men under 62, with Rayner's compatriot Joel Tobin-White (Australia) just missing out in a major PB of 1:02:03. Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu), twin brother of national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), having his best run in about three years with a 1:02:04 right behind Tobin-White. And more down the line.

Not everything was perfect. Domestic favorite Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), a sub-61 man self-assessed in PB shape with a last shot at making the 2020 Olympic marathon trials a month away in Tokyo, tripped early on and was trampled, staggering to his feet a few seconds later and limping but soon dropping out. 2:08 Olympic trials qualifier Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) likewise out in the early going after a fall of his own. But overall Marugame, where the 2012 running was the deepest half marathon in history with 76 men under 1:04, delivered again on what it does best, and with nine university men breaking under 1:03 led by Aoyama Gakuin University teammates Takato Suzuki and Keita Yoshida in 1:01:45 and 1:01:46, there's bound to be still more down the line.

Aoyama Gakuin runners were also heavily represented at Yokohama's Kanagawa Marathon, but the top spot unexpectedly went to Kei Tsuboi (Hosei Univ.), who ran most of the race in a breakaway trio with AGU's Yuya Yoshida and Takayuki Iida before breaking away late in the race to win in 1:03:40. Yoshida was next in 1:03:53 with Iida rounding out the top three in 1:04:01. Farther north in Ibaraki, members of the Chuo Gakuin University team went 1-2 at the Moriya Half Marathon, with CGU's Daichi Takasago 1st in 1:05:12. Overseas, Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) won the Surf City Half Marathon in 1:03:00 with Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) 2nd in 1:03:01.

Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon

Marugame, Kagawa, 2/3/19
complete results

Women
1. Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 1:07:49 - PB
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan/Japan Post) - 1:07:55 - debut
3. Sinead Diver (Australia) - 1:08:55 - PB
4. Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) - 1:09:46 - PB
5. Rachel Cliff (Canada) - 1:10:28
6. Mao Ichiyama (Japan/Wacoal) - 1:10:43
7. Rui Aoyama (Japan/Univ. Ent.) - 1:12:38
8. Mei Matsuyama (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:54 - PB
9. Yuko Mizuguchi (Japan/Denso) - 1:13:07
10. Keiko Nogami (Japan/Sysmex) - 1:13:28

Men
1. Abdi Nageeye (Netherlands) - 1:00:24 - NR
2. Simon Kariuki (Kenya/Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 1:00:43 - PB
3. Jack Rayner (Australia) - 1:01:36
4. Takato Suzuki (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:45 - PB
5. Masao Kizu (Japan/Kanebo) - 1:01:45 - PB
6. Keita Yoshida (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:46 - debut
7. Gen Hachisuka (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:01:46 - PB
8. Takuya Fujikawa (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:46 - PB
9. Yuta Takahashi (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:01:52 - PB
10. Ryu Takaku (Japan/Yakult) - 1:01:58 - PB
11. Joel Tobin-White (Australia) - 1:02:03 - PB
12. Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:02:04
13. Akihiro Gunji (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:07 - PB
14. Yuta Shimoda (Japan/GMO) - 1:02:08 - PB
15. Tsukasa Koyama (Japan/Subaru) - 1:02:09 - PB
16. Yuma Higashi (Kyudenko) - 1:02:11 - debut
17. Atsumi Ashiwa (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:12 - PB
18. Wataru Ueno (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:15 - PB
19. Shohei Kurata (Japan/GMO) - 1:02:15 - PB
20. Tadashi Isshiki (Japan/GMO) - 1:02:15
21. Kota Fujiki (Japan/Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:17 - PB
22. Sota Hoshi (Japan/Fujitsu) - 1:02:23
23. Taisei Nakamura (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:24 - PB
24. Toshinori Watanabe (Japan/GMO) - 1:02:24 - PB
25. Naoki Saita (Japan/NTN) - 1:02:25 - PB
-----
DNF - Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya)
DNF - Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya)
DNF - Kenta Murayama (Japan/Asahi Kasei)
DNF - Yuki Sato (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin)

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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