Breaking away from the field just four kilometres into the race, pre-race favourite Matthew Kisorio collected a convincing win at the 66th annual Kagawa-Marugame Half Marathon on Sunday (5).
Although he covered the first 5Km and 14:02 and 10Km in 28:01, on course to break this IAAF Silver Label Road Race’s course record of 59:48, the Kenyan began to slow after 15Km and finished in 1:00:02, less than 15 seconds off the course record.
“My goal today was to break one hour but because I was running alone for most of the race, I missed my goal by two seconds,” Kisorio said. Next up for the 22-year-old? “I will go back to Kenya to train for the Boston Marathon.”
After Kisorio broke away, three Kenyans – Daniel Gitau, Jacob Wanjuki and Benjamin Gandu - formed the chase pack, and at the end finished second, third and fourth, respectively.
The race for the first Japanese was contested further back. Yusuke Takabayashi, Shinobu Kubota, Mamoru Hirano and the two-time champion Mekubo Mogusu of Kenya were running as a pack 15 seconds behind the main group at 10Km. They ran together through 15Km but before 20Km Hirano fell behind, while Arata Fujiwara came from behind to join Takabayashi, Kubota and Mogusu. At the end Takabayashi won the race for the first Japanese with 1:01:31 in fifth place overall, ahead of Fujiwara in sixth and Kubota in seventh. Mogusu, who used to live in Japan, faded to tenth.
Japanese runners who are preparing for upcoming Tokyo Marathon, an Olympic Marathon qualifying race, ran this race as a part of their preparation. Fujiwara was sixth with personal best of 1:01:34, more than a 40 second improvement of his personal best, while Yuki Iwai was 22nd with 1:01:58, more than a minute better than his previous best, and Yuki Kawauchi was 27th with 1:02:18, an improvement of more than 20 seconds. Both Fujiwara and Kawauchi may be ready to improve their marathon personal best in Tokyo. “I was able to set personal best as planned, so I feel good about running the Tokyo Marathon. I want to run 2:07 in Tokyo to qualify for the Olympic team,” Kawauchi said. Iwai, a sub-28:00 10,000m runner, is making his marathon debut.
In the women’s race Tiki Gelana broke away after 5Km and won the race by nearly two minutes in 1:08:48. As expected, Gelana set a huge personal best, which stood at 1:10:22 until this morning. Meanwhile, a race of attrition was in progress in the large chase pack behind the Ethiopian. By 20Km the chase pack was reduced to Kaoru Nagao, Sayo Nomura, Misato Horie and Mai Ito, and eventually, they finished second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively. First four finishers all set personal bests. Although the Tokyo Marathon is not an Olympic qualifying race for women, Nagao will be running the race in three weeks’ time and may be ready to improve her Marathon personal best.
Ken Nakamura with assistance from Akihiro Onishi for the IAAF
Leading Results (All athletes JPN unless otherwise indicated):
1. Matthew Kisorio (KEN) 1:00:02 (14:02, 28:01, 42:18, 56:57)
2. Daniel Gitau (KEN) 1:01:01 PB
3. Jacob Wanjuki (KEN) 1:01:02 PB
4. Benjamin Gandu (KEN) 1:01:06 PB
5. Yusuke Takabayashi 1:01:31 PB
6. Arata Fujiwara 1:01:34 PB
7. Shinobu Kubota 1:01:38
8. Shota Yamaguchi 1:01:42
9. Daisuke Shimizu 1:01:44
10. Mekubo Mogusu (KEN) 1:01:44
22. Yuki Iwai 1:01:58
27. Yuki Kawauchi 1:02:18 PB
1. Tiki Gelana (ETH) 1:08:48 (16:26, 32:47, 49:10, 1:05:25) PB
2. Kaoru Nagao 1:10:32 PB
3. Sayo Nomura 1:10:34 PB
4. Misato Horie 1:10:37 PB
5. Mai Ito 1:10:39
6. Hiroko Miyauchi 1:10:48
7. Megumi Seike 1:11:40
8. Yoshiko Fujinaga 1:11:45
9. Noriko Higuchi 1:11:51
10. Rika Shintaku 1:11:52
11. Kumi Ogura 1:12:18