The defending champions, Nephat Kinyanjui of Kenya and Alevtina Ivanova of Russia won the men’s and women’s divisions respectively of the 10th annual Nagano Marathon, on Sunday (20) in Nagano.
The Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
The men’s race came down to a mad dash to the finish and two-time defending champion Kinyanjui won in 2:14:17, the slowest winning time in the history of the race. Kinyanjui, thus became the first three-time winner in the history of the Nagano Olympic Memorial Marathon. Tomohiro Seto in second was credited with same time and two other men finished two seconds behind.
The defending champion Ivanova broke away from Kate Smyth, her final challenger, after the 30Km checkpoint and won by two minutes and twelve seconds with 2:26:39, the third fastest winning time in the history of the event. More significantly, it was the fastest winning time on the current flatter course that starts in Nagano Park and finish in Nagano Olympic Stadium. (Previous course had excessive elevation drops.)
In men’s race, a cautious start
The men’s race started with a moderate pace, passing 5Km in 15:47 (2:13 marathon pace), 10Km in 31:11, and 15Km in 46:39. After passing 20Km in 1:02:34, the lead pack was reduced to ten runners by half way (1:05:56). The first major move was made by Tomohiro Seto, at the 31Km water station to break up the lead pack. Soon Seto was three to four seconds ahead of the chase pack headed by Kinyanjui.
However, Kinyanjui, Yoshiyuki Suetsugu and Gidey Amaha worked their way back and by 32Km the lead pack was back to four runners. Soon Arkadiusz Sowa, Gemechu Woyecha and Feyisa Tusse also joined the leaders leaving seven runners in front. With the seven runners biding their time, the pace remained slow. Still Gemechu Woyecha was dropped from the lead pack before 40Km (2:07:27) leaving six. Sowa and then Suetsugu also lost contact with the leaders before the final stage of the race.
With 200m to go, and with the finish line in sight, Kinyanjui, Seto, Tusse and Amaha started their final sprint, and Kinyanjui, who took the lead for good with 100m went on win with the narrowest margin. Both Kinyanjui and Seto were credited with the same finishing time, 2:14:17.
“I am very happy because of my win,” said Kinyanjui.
“I was confident of my finish,” said Seto, “so I was hoping for a good battle with Kinyanjui, but the surface here was quite soft and I could not sprint as fast as I had hoped. So I am bit disappointed. However, this was the first time I fought for the win at the Marathon distance. I would like to continue to be involved in such a races, and make the World Championships team (next year).”
Two time Olympic medalist Eric Wainaina finished 13th with 2:18:18.
PB for Ivanova
In the women’s race, only seven runners were left in front pack by 5Km (17:39, for a 2:29 pace). Although Kidist Teka was dropped from the lead pack before 10Km, six runners stayed together through the half (1:14:40) and 25Km (1:28:04).
However, in the next kilometre four runners were dropped from the lead pack and thus the race turned into two-women race between Ivanova and Smyth. They ran together for a while, but after passing the 30Km checkpoint, Ivanova surged and left Smyth behind. By 35Km, Ivanova, who covered 30 to 35Km in 17:04, was 27 seconds ahead. Dorota Gruca was another minute and 45 seconds behind.
Ivanova ran even faster between 35 to 40Km (16:48 for this 5Km) and by 40Km, she was minute and 44 seconds ahead of Smyth. Ivanova continued to expand her lead and won comfortably with 2:26:39, a personal best by more than a minute. Her previous Marathon best was 2:27:48 when she won in Nagano last year.
Smyth finished second in 2:28:51, nearly a five minute improvement from her previous career best of 2:33:39 from the 2006 Chicago Marathon. Gruca finished third in 2:31:54, while Miyuki Ando finished fourth in 2:34:25. Former world record holder Tegla Loroupe finished 12th in 2:49:15.
Ken Nakamura assisted by Akihiro Onishi for the IAAF
Weather: Cloudy; temperature 14C, humidity 63%, Wind 1.0m/s East
1. Nephat Kinyanjui (KEN) 2:14:17
2. Tomohiro Seto (JPN) 2:14:17
3. Fayisa Tusse (ETH) 2:14:19
4. Gidey Amaha (ETH) 2:14:19
5. Yoshiyuki Suetsugu (JPN) 2:14:31
6. Arkadiusz Sowa (POL) 2:14:39
7. Tekeste Kebede (ETH) 2:15:21
8. Gemechu Woyecha (ETH) 2:15:27
13. Eric Wainaina (KEN) 2:18:18
17) Alberto Chaica (POL) 2:23:10
5Km - Feyisa Tusse - 15:47
10Km - Masaru Takamizawa - 31:11 (15:24)
15Km - Nephat Kinyanjui - 46:39 (15:28)
20Km - Tekeste Kebede - 1:02:34 (15:55)
Half - Arkadiusz Sowa - 1:05:56
25Km - Nephat Kinyanjui - 1:18:23 (15:49)
30Km - Arkadiusz Sowa - 1:34:55 (16:32)
35Km - Nephat Kinyanjui - 1:50:58 (16:03)
40Km - Tomohiro Seto - 2:07:27 (16:29)
1. Alevtina Ivanova (RUS) 2:26:39
2. Kate Smyth (AUS) 2:28:51
3. Dorota Gruca (POL) 2:31:54
4. Miyuki Ando (JPN) 2:34:25
5. Asnakech Mengistu (ETH) 2:37:02
6. Mai Tagami (JPN) 2:38:43
12. Tegla Loroupe (KEN) 2:49:15
5Km - Miyuki Ando - 17:39
10Km - Asnakech Mengistu - 35:17 (17:38)
15Km - Kate Smyth - 53:11 (17:54)
20Km - Kate Smyth - 1:10:54 (17:43)
Half - Kate Smyth - 1:14:40
25Km - Kate Smyth - 1:28:04 (17:10)
30Km - Alevtina Ivanova - 1:45:28 (17:24)
35Km - Alevtina Ivanova - 2:02:32 (17:04)
40Km - Alevtina Ivanova - 2:19:20 (16:48)