18 March 2012Half Marathon debutante Chihiro Miyawaki won the men’s division of All Japan Corporate Team Half Marathon championships with the course record of 1:00:53 on Sunday (18) in Yamaguchi.
“I was determined to stay with the Kenyan runners,” said Miyawaki, who surged away from Kenyan Jacob Wanjuki as they entered stadium and kept pulling away as they circled the track.” I thought I can win if I am in the leading group coming into the stadium.”
For the 20-year-old Miyawaki, it was the third fastest Half Marathon time by a Japanese as well as the Japanese record for a debut over the distance. He also became the first Japanese to win this event in five years. Miyawaki is the hottest distance runner in Japan right now, having also recorded 27:41.57 (sixth fastest Japanese) for 10,000m last November. Both 10,000m times and half marathon time are faster than the Japanese Collegiate record, although he decided not to attend college and runs instead for Toyota Motors.
Tomomi Tanaka won the women’s division clocking 1:09:47. Tanaka was a training partner for Yoshimi Ozaki as Ozaki prepared for last Sunday’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon. After Ozaki made the Olympic Marathon team, the squad’s coach Sachiko Yamashita wrote on twitter, “I hope Ozaki’s training partner runs well in Yamaguchi.” And Tanaka delivered.
The race was the qualifying race for the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships which will be held in Kavarna, Bulgaria, on 6 October and thus Miyawaki and Tanaka are expected to be selected for the Japanese team.
How the race unfolded:
A total of 210 runners started the race in rainy weather. The first kilometre was covered in 2:54, but before the 5Km (14:32) mark, the lead pack was reduced to just three – Wanjuki, Miyawaki and Masato Kihara. The trio continued to pull away from the chase pack of four runners and passed 10Km in 28:57 and 15Km in 43:23, faster than the split times for a course record. Just before 19Km, Miyawaki surged leaving Kihara behind, but Wanjiku stayed with Miyawaki. The two passed 20Km in 57:50. They came into the stadium together but as soon as Miyawaki hit the track he surged away from Wanjuki and won with a course record.
Five minutes after the men started the race 57 women began theirs, covering the first kilometre in 3:28. At 5Km (16:56), the lead pack included almost 20 runners, but before the 9Km marker the pack was reduced to four: Ai Igarashi, Yuka Tokuda, Rei Ohara and Tomomi Tanaka. The quartet covered 10Km in 33:19, but after 13Km Tanaka broke away from the other three. Running all alone Tanaka passed 15Km in 49:40 and 20Km in 1:06:11 and won by nearly a minute.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Weather: rain; temperature: 11.5C; humidity: 92%
1. Chihiro Miyawaki 1:00:53
2. Jacob Wanjiuki (KEN) 1:00:59
3. Masato Kihara 1:01:15
4. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu 1:02:17
5. Takehiro Arakawa 1:02:18
6. Sota Hoshi 1:02:20
7. Dishon Karukawa (KEN) 1:02:36
8. Ryo Matsumoto 1:02:36
1. Tomomi Tanaka 1:09:47
2. Yuka Tokuda 1:10:40
3. Ai Igarashi 1:10:48
4. Rei Ohara 1:11:02
5. Shino Saito 1:11:10
6. Chihiro Takatou 1:11:23
7. Asami Kato 1:11:32
8. Hiroko Shoi 1:11:50