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Okayama and Maruichi Win Shibamata 100 km

2022 100 km World Championships gold medalist Haruki Okayama (Comodi Iida) and club runner Akiko Maruichi (GRlab) took the top spots in the Shibamata 100 km ultramarathon in Tokyo, Saitama and Ibaraki. The men's race was set up as an aggressive shot at the first-ever sub-6-hour time, with three pacers leading a group including Okayama, '22 silver medalist Jumpei Yamaguchi (Eldoreso), 5th-placer Guillaume Ruel (France), sub-2:10 marathoner Jo Fukuda (Hoka) and others out at a pace of around 3:34/km. Yamaguchi survived the longest at that pace, holding it until almost 70 km before starting to slow. Okayama, who had fallen off pace after 50 km, passed him not long past 80 km and pushed on to win in 6:23:16.

Yamaguchi, Ruel and Fukuda all DNFd, Fukuda after only 50 km, Ruel after 60 km, and Yamaguchi not making it to 90 km. Having ignored the early fast pace and stuck to a steady 4:00/km, Masato Takahashi (Track Tokyo) was 2nd in 6:43:01. Veteran Hideo Nojo (Mitsui Fudosan) went out at around 3:45/km and held it until almost 40 km before slowing, finishing 3rd just behind Takahashi in 6:43:53. Along with Okayama, Ryoya Takabayashi, Masato Tanaka and Masato Namai all survived the lead group's pace to finish, Takabayashi taking 4th, Tanaka 6th and Namai 7th.

Maruichi was alone from the gun, starting out at around 4:25/km and speeding up at fast as 4:18/km before slowing to finish 8th overall in 7:53:16 for the women's win and improving on her runner-up performance two years ago by over 20 minutes. Aiko Kanematsu (Team Oligol) and Yuka Adachi (Honjo RC) started off together closer to 4:30/km, Kanematsu ending up 2nd in 7:58:27 and Adachi 3rd in 8:40:31. 4th-placer Yuka Seki was the only other woman to go under 10 hours at 9:15:31.

Shibamata 100 km Ultramarathon

Tokyo, Saitama, Ibaraki, 21 May 2023

1. Haruki Okayama (Comodi Iida) - 6:23:16
2. Masato Takahashi (Track Tokyo) - 6:43:01
3. Hideo Nojo (Mitsui Fudosan) - 6:43:53
4. Ryoya Takabayashi - 6:58:42
5. Naoki Kawashima - 7:16:43
6. Masato Tanaka - 7:18:54
7. Masato Namai - 7:28:17
DNF - Jo Fukuda (Hoka)
DNF - Guillaume Ruel (France)
DNF - Jumpei Yamaguchi (Eldoreso)

1. Akiko Maruichi (GRlab) - 7:53:16
2. Aiko Kanematsu (Team Algol) - 7:58:27
3. Yuka Adachi (Honjo RC) - 8:40:31
4. Yuka Seki - 9:15:31

photo © Eldoreso, all rights reserved
text © 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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