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Workneh Over Shimoda at Beppu-Oita, Preisner Runs 2:08:58 for CAN #2

It's a rare year that there's no wind at all at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, and the field took advantage of it with a pack run that lasted until the very last stage of the race. It really was a race of pure attrition, steady between 2:07:15 and 2:07:30 pace as it shook down from a lead group of over 30 to just 8 by the time the last two pacers stopped at 30 km: Japanese runners Yuta Shimoda (GMO), Hironori Kishimoto (GMO), Tomoki Yoshioka (Kyudenko), Takanori Ogata (Toyota Kyushu) and Yuichi Yasui (Toyota), former Takushoku University captain Workneh Derese (Ethiopia/Hiramatsu Byoin), and internationals Ben Preisner (Canada) and Hicham Laqouahi (Morocco). Their split of 1:30:31 put Preisner 39 seconds up on Cam Levins' 30 km NR and on track for 2:07:19, 51 seconds under the Paris Olympics qualifying time.

Shimoda took over once the pacers were out, a 2:59 for the 31st km enough to get rid of Ogata and Yasui. Yoshioka was next, and just past 32 km Laquoahi dropped too to make it a four-way race up front. Between 34 and 35 km the pace slowed enough that in was clear Preisner would need to turn it around to still have a chance at the Olympic standard, the lead group's 1:45:57 split at 35 km projecting to 2:07:44. Shimoda gestured for Workneh to take over, and even though he did the pace still slacked. Shimoda took over again at 37 km with a hard surge that gapped Kishimoto and Preisner, but Workneh answered and pulled away with what ended up being his winning move, taking almost 3 minutes off his best to win in 2:07:58.

Shimoda held on to 2nd in 2:08:24, with Kishimoto finding a 2:08:38 in himself in his debut for 3rd. Preisner could only watch as the Olympic standard slipped away, but his 2:08:58 PB for 4th was good enough to land him at 2nd in the Canadian record books. Yasui gutted out a 2:09:30 for 5th after dropping off earlier, but maybe the grittiest run came from Laqouahi, who was lying on the road with less than 5 km and staggering when he got back up but still managed a 2:11:42 for 10th. Happy with his victory after struggling with the marathon since his sub-2:11 debut in 2019, Workneh gave his winning interview in fluent Japanese. "I had good altitude training for this, and I'm not surprised that I won," he said.

The Beppu-Oita women's field is always small, and this year only two women were under 2:50. Social media influencer Aoi Makara followed up a couple of recent good half marathons with a 9-minute PB of 2:40:31 for the win. In the T11 class men's race, Shinya Wada took 1:02 off his own WR with a new mark of 2:23:27.

72nd Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon

Beppu, Oita, 4 Feb. 2024

1. Aoi Makara (unattached) - 2:40:31 - PB
2. Rieko Koshi (unattached) - 2:43:40
3. Sonoka Nakayama (unattached) - 2:50:22 - PB

1. Workneh Derese (Ethiopia/Hiramatsu Byoin) - 2:07:58 - PB
2. Yuta Shimoda (GMO) - 2:08:24
3. Hironori Kishimoto (GMO) - 2:08:38 - debut
4. Ben Preisner (Canada) - 2:08:58 - PB
5. Yuichi Yasui (Toyota) - 2:09:30
6. Tomoki Yoshioka (Kyudenko) - 2:10:03 - PB
7. Yuki Muta (Logisteed) - 2:10:28 - debut
8. Takanori Ogata (Toyota Kyushu) 2:10:47 - PB
9. Reo Kuniyuki (SGH) - 2:11:27
10. Hicham Laqouahi (Morocco) - 2:11:42
11. Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:28
12. Shota Saito (JFE Steel) - 2:12:39
13. Akito Terui (Subaru) - 2:13:57
14. Genta Kuramoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 2:14:01 - debut
15. Ryo Osaki (Komori Corp.) - 2:14:18
16. Daigo Tomimura (unattached) - 2:14:50 - PB
17. Yuta Koyama (Toenec) - 2:15:03
18. Kazuma Taira (Kao) - 2:15:10 - PB
19. Kosuke Yamada (Toyota Boshoku) - 2:15:25 - PB
20. Kensuke Yamaguchi (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:15:34 - PB
21. Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:16:23
22. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanji AC) - 2:16:54
23. Shinya Kotabe (Kurosaki Harima) - 2:16:56 - debut
24. Tomohiro Okuyama (unattached) - 2:18:31 - PB
25. Tatsuki Ishii (Track Tokyo) - 2:19:29 - PB
26. Shunpei Oda (Komanechi RC) - 2:19:41
DNF - Aychew Bantie (Ethiopia)
DNF - Mohamed Reda El Aaraby (Morocco)

© 2024 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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