Mulwa Breaks Ageo City Half Marathon Record, Tsubura and Akahoshi NYC-Bound, Wong Cracks Hong Kong NR
The world's deepest half marathon returned after a 3-year absence Sunday in Ageo, Saitama. In its 35th anniversary year the Ageo City Half Marathon debuted a tweaked new World Athletics-certified course that moved its starting point onto the road outside the stadium traditionally used for its start and finish.
Boniface Mulwa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) took off from the massive main pack after a leisurely 14:48 opening 5 km, pursued at first by national record holder Yusuke Ogura and Kensuke Tsubura of this season's Izumo and National University Ekiden course record breaker Komazawa University. But Mulwa's sub-14 split from there to 10 km was too much for them, and he ran the rest of the way complete alone out front.
Ageo's first sub-61 clocking looked to be in the works, but after a short stretch of undulations leading to 15 km Mulwa slowed just enough to miss that and let the chase group start to come back into sight of him. With a kick on the last lap of the track he managed to hang on just enough to clip 2 seconds off Ageo's old event record, winning in a PB 1:01:17.
Ogura was next in 1:01:48, winning a 3-way sprint finish again Tsubura and former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage winner Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo). Tsubura's Komazawa teammate Yuto Akahoshi was 4th in 1:02:00, holding off Rei Matsunaga (Hosei Univ.), who had a classic race at May's Kanto Regionals where he had tried to outrun 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura to win the 5000 m final.
Head coach Hiroaki Oyagi was at the entrance to the stadium at the finish shouting encouragement to them, yelling out to Akahoshi, "Two tickets! Two tickets! Watch out for the guy coming up behind you!" Along with their PBs, Komazawa's Taiyo Yasuhara, Hibiki Aogaki and Yushin Akatsu all ran sub-63 PBs to make the top 25, exactly what Komazawa needed to position itself to score its first-ever triple crown of ekiden season titles.
Matsunaga missed out on an NYC invitation by 3 seconds, 5th in a 1:02:03 debut with teammate Shunta Uchida close behind in a 1:02:12 PB for 6th. 19 of the top 25 ran PBs, an indication of how good the cold and cloudy conditions were. Further down the field, Hong Kong national record holder Wan-Chun Wong took 26 seconds off his own record with a new mark of 1:04:30, adding to Ageo's history of national records from around the world.
Depth at Ageo was as impressive as always. Across the university and open men's divisions counts were the 3rd-deepest in the race's history.
2018 Osaka Half Marathon.
35th Ageo City Half Marathon
Ageo, Saitama, 20 Nov. 2022
1. Chun-Yu Tsao (Taiwan) - 1:13:31 - PB
2. Natsumi Kuroda (GRlab Kanto) - 1:17:11 - PB
3. Aoi Makara (unattached) - 1:17:41 - PB
4. Nagisa Goda (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 1:18:43
5. Momoka Nishijima (GRlab Kanto) - 1:18:59
1. Boniface Mulwa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:17 - CR, PB
2. Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) - 1:01:48
3. Kensuke Tsubura (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:51 - PB
4. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo) - 1:01:56
5. Yuto Akahoshi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:00 - PB
6. Rei Matsunaga (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:03 - debut
7. Shunta Uchida (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:12 - PB
8. Ryotaro Tomita (Suzuki) - 1:02:12 - PB
9. Koki Asai (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:02:13 - PB
10. Genta Tsuru (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:15 - PB
11. Taiyo Yasuhara (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:25 - PB
12. Goki Takayama (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:27 - PB
13. Kodai Miyaoka (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:28 - PB
14. Takumi Sukegawa (Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:36 - PB
15. Kengo Sakamoto (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:38 - PB
16. Yusuke Taino (Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:39 - PB
17. Kenshin Ebisawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:02:43 - PB
18. Hibiki Aogaki (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:44 - PB
19. Ryota Sato (Tokyo Police Dept.) - 1:02:45
20. Yota Ifuku (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:50 - PB
21. Hirotsugu Yoshikawa (Yakult) - 1:02:50
22. Yushin Akatsu (Komazawa Univ) - 1:02:53 - PB
23. Luka Musembi (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 1:03:02
24. Fumiya Kimura (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:04 - PB
25. Shota Nishiwaki (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:05
50. Sho Fukuda (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:29
75. Yusuke Nishimaki (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:03
99. Wan-Chun Wong (Hong Kong) - 1:04:30 - NR
100. Ryota Seki (Tokyo Police Dept.) - 1:04:31
125. Kiwamu Suzuki (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:05:01
150. Keijiro Ishikawa (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:05:33
175. Shion Nishinaka (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 1:05:58
text and photos © 2022 Brett Larner, all rights reserved