Skip to main content

Dazza Downs Fujimoto For Fukuoka Win



It came down to a race between #1-ranked El Mahjoub Dazza (Morocco) and top Japanese man Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) after 30 km, but the Moroccan proved the stronger as he pulled away to win the Fukuoka International Marathon in 2:07:10.

Japanese men had to run under the national record of 2:05:50 to score the last spot on the 2020 Olympic marathon team. Fujimoto, 2:08 man Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) and ambitious 2:12 guy Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) were the only ones to really give it a go, staying up front in the lead pack with most of the internationals, with Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) laying down the law at the head of the pacer group. A secondary lead group quickly separated off the back of the lead group, with Japan-based Kenyan Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo), 2:09:52 man Jo Fukuda (Nishitetsu), Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) and others cutting back to 2:07 pace. European marathon champ Koen Naert (Belgium) and Pan-Am Games gold medalist Christian Pacheco (Peru) were more conservative, going out with the sub-2:10 pace B-group.

The high pace took its toll up front, with most of the invited internationals falling off and then dropping out to leave just Dazza, Fujimoto, Sato, Ichida and former Takushoku University ekiden captain Workneh Derese (Ethiopia/Hiramatsu Byoin). Ichida, Sato and Derese all fell back on the trip out to the 31.6 km turnaround point, leaving just Dazza and Fujimoto when the pacers stepped off at 30 km. Dazza immediately surged, breaking Fujimoto and running unchallenged for the win in 2:07:10. Fujimoto slowed progressively, almost shuffling down the home straight of the track for 2nd in 2:09:36 after a 1:03:02 first half. Derese dropped Sato, but in the last km he was run down by second group runner Fukuda who took 3rd in 2:10:33 to Derese's 2:10:52 for 4th.

Early caution paid off, as runners from the sub-2:10 third pack took the next four spots led by Natsuki Terada (JR Higashi Nihon), who closed with the fastest split in the field, 6:44, for a 5-minute PB of 2:10:55 and a 5th-place finish. Raymond Kipchumba Choge (Kenya) was the only other athlete from the original front pack to make the top 10, taking 9th in 2:11:38. Taiki Suzuki (Raffine) followed up a solid 3rd-place finish two weeks ago at China's Yiwu International Half Marathon with a 2:12:09 debut for 10th.

Amateur runner Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall), a regular front runner in Fukuoka, survived going with the sub-2:10 this time to take 11th in a major PB of 2:12:44, while Sato faded to 2:14:56 after going through halfway in 1:03:02. Still on sub-2:10 pace at 35 km, Ichida paid heavily for his own 1:03:02 first half as he fell to 29th in 2:19:05. Fan favorite Shitara, twin brother of former national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), fell short of his sub-2:10 goal at 14th in 2:14:31 just ahead of Sato. Apart from Dazza and Choge, the only other invited internationals to finish were Naert and Pacheco, Naert finishing 18th in 2:15:51 and Pacheco 40th in 2:21:15.

The Final Challenge series, the three-race chance for men to replace Osako on the 2020 Olympic team, continues in March with the Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon. The dire crash and burn results today showed just how high a bar it will be to pull off, and that whatever else happens there's really only one person who could do it. But with the Valencia Marathon having quickly surpassed Fukuoka's place on the world calendar and the Osaka Marathon putting on heavy domestic pressure, more than ever before today's race seemed like a relic of times gone by. Dazza's winning time was only just over 30 second faster than Osaka winner Asefa Tefera's, and Osaka had a quality women's race and field of over 30,000 on top of that. What is Fukuoka's route forward to stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape?

73rd Fukuoka International Marathon

Fukuoka, 12/1/19
complete results

1. El Mahjoub Dazza (Morocco) - 2:07:10
2. Taku Fujimoto (Japan/Toyota) - 2:09:36
3. Jo Fukuda (Japan/Nishitetsu) - 2:10:33
4. Workneh Derese (Ethiopia/Hiramatsu Byoin) - 2:10:52 - PB
5. Natsuki Terada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:55 - PB
6. Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:59
7. Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:59
8. Abdi Hakin Ulad (Denmark) - 2:11:03 - PB
9. Raymond Kipchumba Choge (Kenya) - 2:11:38
10. Taiki Suzuki (Japan/Raffine) - 2:12:09 - debut
-----
11. Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall) - 2:12:44 - PB
14. Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:14:31
15. Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:14:56
18. Koen Naert (Belgium) - 2:15:51
23. Hisanori Kitajima (Yasukawa Denki) - 2:17:10
29. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 2:19:05
40. Christian Pacheco (Peru) - 2:21:15
-----
DNF - Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya)
DNF - Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea)
DNF - Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Track Tokyo)
DNF - Abdi Ibrahim Abdo (Bahrain)
DNF - Tsedat Abeje Ayana (Ethiopia)

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Simon Sumida said…
Thanks for the live comments in Twitter and this report. I'll try to watch the race the next few days with the Youtube video you linked. And before they make any changes (date, entry requirements, etc.) I am almost convinced to run it next year...

Most-Read This Week

Discovering the Legend - Tsutomu Akiyama on Finding Wanjiru, Mogusu and More

Tsutomu Akiyama is a key figure in the history of both Japanese running and Olympic marathoning. A senior advisor to Yamanashi Gakuin University's ekiden and track and field programs and one half of the partnership responsible for beginning to bring Kenyans to Japan in the wake of Olympic medalist Douglas Wakiihuri's arrival, Akiyama discovered and has been a mentor to the likes of marathon great Daniel Njenga, World Half Marathon silver medalist Philes Ongori, World Championships marathon medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata, Hakone Ekiden course record breaker Mekubo Mogusu, corporate league star, Gideon Ngatuny, multiple world-level medalist Paul Tanui and Beijing Olympics marathon champion and winner of the legendary 2010 Chicago Marathon, Samuel Wanjiru

In 2010 Akiyama gave JRN a one-on-one interview in which he talked about everything, from the human side of his athletes to problems with foreign agents, from picking a teenaged Wanjiru up at the airport during his first trip to Japan …

T-Minus About 100 Days to a National Record - Hitomi Niiya's Complete Training for Her Half Marathon NR in Houston

At the Jan. 19 Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Hitomi Niiya ran 1:06:38 to break Kayoko Fukushi's 2006-era national record with support from JRN. Former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota, 32, coached Niiya to that record. Over the next three days he is publishing Niiya's complete training diary for the months leading up to Houston. JRN will be publishing them in English with permission.



To people who aren't interested this will just be a list of numbers, but I thought it might help the hardcore track maniacs kill some time if I got Niiya's consent to publish her training diary for the 100 days leading up to Houston. Please do not reproduce this info without permission. You're more than welcome to give these workouts a go (although I can't guarantee you'll survive).

Notes in advance
・Easy jogs were once a day on Friday and Sunday, twice a day on other days.
・Strength training every day except Sunday.
・Daily mileage totaled about 30 km. Friday…

T-Minus About 100 Days to a National Record - Part 2 of Hitomi Niiya's Training for a Half Marathon NR

This weekend coach Masato Yokota is publishing half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya's complete training diary for the 3 months+ leading up to this past January's Aramco Houston Half Marathon where Niiyaran 1:06:38, at that point the fastest time ever by a woman born outside of Kenya or Ethiopia, for the win. This is part two, covering November, 2019. Read part one, October, here.



So how did you like the first month of training? I was really happy to see that so many more people than I expected enjoyed reading about it. I read every question that people left in the replies. At some point I'll answer them all, so if you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Today is the second of three installments of Niiya's training from after the World Championships, covering Oct. 1, 2019 to setting the Japanese national record at the Houston Half on Jan. 19. This covers November's training. Compared to October it gets more and more bru…