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Waseda University 3rd-Year Yota Ifuku Breaks Nobeoka Marathon CR in 2:09:26 Debut

The Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon is the least well-known of the four big Japanese men's marathons in five weeks, traditionally a place for debuts and 2nd-tier talent. And for the second year in a row a debuting Waseda University runner took the top spot this time, Yota Ifuku making history as the first runner ever to break 2:11 in Nobeoka with a 2:09:26 school record for the win.

5th on the Hakone Ekiden's Eighth Stage for Waseda six weeks ago, Ifuku was at the front of the pack of 19 at halfway in an ambitious 1:05:02. Just past 25 km he took off with a 15:10 split to 30 km that put him out front by 28 seconds, then went even faster with a 15:06 to 35 km. With a 38-second negative split Ifuku broke the tape in 2:09:26, one minute 39 seconds under the older CR of 2:11:05 set by Yuichi Washio back in 2006.

6th on Hakone's competitive Second Stage for Toyo University, Ren Umezaki was 2nd in his debut in 2:10:19. Corporate leaguer Takashi Soma (Otsuka Seiyaku) joined Ifuku and Umezaki under the old CR at 3rd in a PB 2:10:46. Results were good far down into the field, with five of the top 15 running PBs and the other 10 all debuting at 2:15:11 or better.

Nobeoka only introduced a women's field in 2015, Saori Sugawa setting the CR of 2:44:40 in 2019. This year amateur Akiko Ogawa just missed bettering that record, running a big 1:15 negative split to win in 2:45:31 off a 1:23:23 first half. The top four were all under 3 hours, with a total of 22 women finishing the race versus 339 men.

62nd Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon

Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 11 Feb. 2024

1. Akiko Ogawa (Koyugun T&F Assoc.) - 2:45:31
2. Reina Hayashida (Asahi Yukizai) - 2:50:57
3. Yuki Tomitaka (Izumo AC) - 2:56:14

1. Yota Ifuku (Waseda Univ.) - 2:09:26 - CR, debut
2. Ren Umezaki (Toyo Univ.) - 2:10:19 - debut
3. Takashi Soma (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:10:46 - PB
4. Tatsuya Sumide (Aichi Seiko) - 2:11:29 - PB
5. Yuya Yamashita (Sunbelx) - 2:11:37 - PB
6. Takeshi Nishida (Toyota) - 2:11:41 - debut
7. Yuya Kawata (Subaru) - 2:12:31 - debut
8. Kira Migita (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:12:32 - debut
9. Shusei Ohashi (Kodaira T&F Assoc.) - 2:12:34 - PB
10. Takuma Takemura (SGH) - 2:12:39 - debut
11. Taisei Kato (Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:58 - debut
12. Suguru Otaguro (Nishi Nippon Tetsudo) - 2:14:18 - debut
13. Atsushi Yamato (Toyota) - 2:14:29 - debut
14. Yuta Suzuki (Yasukawa Denki) - 2:15:06 - debut
15. Kazuto Kawabata (SGH) - 2:15:11 - PB
16. Taiyo Watanabe (Togami Denki) - 2:15:40
17. Yusei Yoshida (Mitsubishi Juko) - 2:17:55
18. Tatsuya Yamamoto (Komori Corp.) - 2:18:22
19. Hiroto Uesugi (Soka Univ.) - 2:18:37 - debut
20. Ryoya Sakurai (JFE Steel) - 2:19:15

© 2024 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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