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Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.

After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed together through 15 km before Lemeteki began to inch away, his departure causing Akasaki, Izumo Ekiden Fifth Stage winner Haruka Onodera (Teikyo Univ.) and police officer Ryota Sato (Tokyo Police Dep't) to pick their pace up and get rid of the others in the lead group.

Lemeteki ran the rest of the race unchallenged to take the win in a PB and school record 1:01:23, just seconds off the course record after the slow opening 2 km. On the short but steep railway underpass between 18 and 19 km Akasaki surged to pull away from Sato and Onodera, taking 2nd in 1:01:46, almost a minute and a half under his PB. Sato outkicked Onodera for 3rd in 1:02:01, surely one of the best performances anywhere in the world by a cop this year, with Onodera just behind in 1:02:03, over two minutes under his previous best.

All of the top four ran PBs in the 2-3 minute range, and the stellar results extended far down the field from there. Excellent conditions, cold with crystal clear sunny skies and a light breeze from the west bringing an early headwind and closing tailwind, helped keep Ageo's overall depth at its historically incredible levels:

1st: 1:01:26
10th: 1:02:54
25th: 1:03:23
50th: 1:03:52
100th: 1:04:35
150th: 1:05:24
200th: 1:06:05
250th: 1:06:56
300th: 1:07:46
350th: 1:08:49
400th: 1:10:08
450th: 1:11:40
500th: 1:13:18

With Ageo serving as a tryout for the biggest university men's race on the year the women's field is typically on a lower level. This year was no exception, with amateur Miki Morita taking the win in 1:20:17.

As the top two Japanese collegiate finishers Akasaki and Onodera earned invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, the first time runners from either Takushoku or Teikyo will have run New York in the nine years of JRN's program bringing Ageo and NYC together. New York Road Runners professional athlete manager Sam Grotewold was in Ageo to present Akasaki and Onodera with their invitations to next year's race along with a camera crew to document the Ageo race for use in next year's NYC broadcast. JRN will accompany both athletes and their coaches to New York to assist the runners in their international debuts.

32nd Ageo City Half Marathon

Ageo, Saitama, 11/17/19

1. Joseph Razini Lemeteki (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:01:23 - PB
2. Akira Akasaki (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:01:46 - PB
3. Ryota Sato (Tokyo Police Dep't) - 1:02:01 - PB
4. Haruka Onodera (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:03 - PB
5. Sakito Matsuzaki (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:11 - debut
6. Kaito Ojima (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:15 - PB
7. Ayumu Kobayashi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:25 - PB
8. Tamaki Fujimoto (Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:46 - PB
9. Tomoki Ichimura (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:53 - debut
10. Keiya Arima (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:54
11. Sora Masuda (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:58 - PB
12. Takumu Une (Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:59 - PB
13. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:01- PB
14. Takeru Toguchi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:03 - PB
15. Manabu Yamada (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:03 - PB
16. Atsushi Kato (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:04 - PB
17. Tomoya Hinohara (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:04 - PB
18. Yuta Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:06 - PB
19. Takuma Ishikawa (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:07 - PB
20. Soma Masuda (Hosei Univ.) - 1:03:10 - PB
21. Tomoya Yoneda (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:10 - PB
22. Taiju Nishikata (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:03:11- PB
23. Chikara Yamano (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:14 - debut
24. Keigo Kurihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:20 - PB
25. Shingo Nakai (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:23 - PB

1. Miki Morita (unattached) - 1:20:17
2. Yoshimi Tanaka (Hiratsuka T&F Assoc.) - 1:20:40
3. Honoka Suzuki (unattached) - 1:21:06

text and photos © 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Eryn said…
Welcome to New York !
CK said…
Those are great photos. "Real" Ageo photos. I've run Ageo and the experience of approaching the orikaishi and seeing the phalanx pouring through in the opposite direction was unforgettable. Tried counting for a while to estimate where I might be but it quickly became apparent that I couldn't count fast enough. For anyone in Japan who hasn't run it yet, you've got to enter at least once.

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