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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.

As the top two Japanese collegiate finishers Tsubura and Akahoshi earned invitations to next March's United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, the 7th and 8th Komazawa runners to win invites since the JRN-mediated program began in 2012 and the third time that Komazawa has filled both slots. New York Road Runners director of professional athletes Sam Grotewold was in Ageo to present Tsubura and Akahoshi their invitations.

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.

sub-62: 4
sub-63: 22
sub-64: 73
sub-65: 124
sub-66: 176

In the women's race, Taiwanese marathon NR holder and 2017 winner Chun-Yu Tsao was back for her fourth Ageo in a tune-up for next month's Taipei Marathon. Tsao dropped a PB 1:13:31 to win for the 2nd time, 3:40 up on 2nd-placer Natsumi Kuroda (GRlab Kanto). Post-race she told JRN, "Next time, the NR!" That'll take another 1:13 to better Chien-ho Hsieh's 1:12:19 from the 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

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Rigajags said…
If even komazawa's depth runners run like this they can definitely be optimistic about Hakone.
I wonder if they are hitting form a bit too early though and if they can maintain It.

Gotta say there have been positive signs from other universitarie too:
Koku Gakuin had very good showings and that is impressive as their regulars are good.
Hosei, Juntendo and Chuo also had good performance.
Juntendo can be happy as Koki Asai and Ebisawa are 2nd years and they put in solid performances.
If they can repeat those performances then they have a shot at filling in instead of a couple of usually weak spots at Hakone (last year they lost over 3 minutes just on the first leg) and can help taking over for next year as some important 4 years regular will move on and Yoshioka comes in.

Can't wait for Hachijoji meeting now, usually times are fast there.

Great call back to Matsunaga last spring, how fin were those final 800 against Miura haha.

anonymous said…
The link to the Ageo City Half Marathon does not work.

Can you please fix it?

Brett Larner said…
It seems to work fine on this end. Maybe try a different browser.
anonymous said…
I''ve used Google Chrome, Firefox and Edge and still get this message
when trying to acces the Ageo City Half-Marathon results:

You don't have permission to access this resource.

Perhaps you could post on the site deeper results like all results sub 64 minutes?
Brett Larner said…
No problems at all when I check the link. The problem seems to be on your end.
Anonymous said…
I stumbled across this article while looking into the Ageo City Half-Marathon. I get the same issue when I try to open any of the pages on their official website even when I just go from google search results, so it might depend on where someone's accessing from (I'm in the EU), or something like that.

Anyway, thank you for the informative blog.
Brett Larner said…
I don't encounter this problem, so I'm not sure what it might be.

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