Making his final move just before entering the Oita city track and field stadium, Jonathan Kipkorir of Kenya won the 59th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in 2:10:50 today.
“It was good because I won," Kipkorir said. “The (new) course is good but the wind was the problem.”
The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Although his three race sub-2:10 marathon streak was broken, it was his third marathon victory, following triumphs in Venice in 2006 and 2007. Daniel Njenga, who made his challenge just after 40 kilometres, couldn’t match Kipkorir’s surge and finished second six seconds. It was Njenga’s fastest time since the 2007 Tokyo Marathon.
Jeffery Hunt of Australia, a marathon debutante, ran a very smart race and eventually finished third in 2:11:00. Running with the third group initially and keeping a steady even pace, Hunt made his move after 35 kilometres and caught the leaders in the 39th. In a television interview after the race, Keisuke Sawaki, managing director of the Japanese Federation, said that Japanese runners need to learn from Hunt’s race.
Eight runners were together at 40 kilometres (2:04:19), at which point, induced by Ethiopian Chala Lemi’s move to the front to push the pace, Njenga went for the win. With Njenga’s strong surge, the lead pack completely stretched out. Kipkorir and Hunt stayed close and then Kipkorir started to close the gap. He caught Njenga with 1.3Km to go and they ran together, with Hunt in close pursuit. Kipkorir made his final move just before he entered the Oita stadium, and the gap immediately opened between Kipkorir and Njenga.
One other marathon debutante ran well, but it was not Yu Mitsuya as some had hoped, but rather Atsushi Ikawa, who finished fourth in 2:11:04.
“The race after 30K was not as hard as I had expected,” said Ikawa, who is coached by Tadasu Kawano, who coached Takayuki Inubushi to a national Marathon record back in 1999.
The big Japanese marathon hope, Mitsuya, lost contact with the leader after 32 kilometres and finished ninth in 2:13:00. Because the Japanese marathon debut record is 2:08:12, Mitsuya was five minutes slower than everyone had expected.
Toshinari Suwa, who was sixth in the Athens Olympics started to drift behind just beyond the midway point, but did not completely fall apart. He held on to finish tenth with 2:13:17.
Tessema Abshero of Ethiopia, who has a marathon best of 2:08:26, lost contact with the leaders before the 13th kilometre.
Ken Nakamura assisted by Akihiro Onishi for the IAAF
Leading results (updated at 20:30 CET, 7-Feb) -
At the start: Weather: Sunny; Temperature: 7.3C; temperature: 44%, wind 2.1m/s East
1. Jonathan Kipkorir (KEN) 2:10:50
2. Daniel Njenga (KEN) 2:10:55
3. Jeffery Hunt (AUS) 2:11:00
4. Atsushi Ikawa 2:11:04
5. Kenneth Mungara (KEN) 2:11:05
6. Masahi Hayashi 2:11:17
7. Chala Lemi (ETH) 2:11:37
8. Kentaro Nakamoto 2:11:42
9. Yu Mitsuya 2:12:59
10. Toshinari Suwa 2:13:16
15:16 Wilfred Kigen (KEN), pace maker
15:16 Peter Kiprotich (KEN), pace maker
15:16 Jonathan Kipkorir (KEN)
15:16 Kenneth Muranga (KEN)
15:16 Chala Lemi
30:35 (15:20) Wilfred Kigen, pace maker
30:35 Peter Kiprotich, pace maker
30:36 Jonathan Kipkorir
30:36 Kenneth Muranga
30:36 Chala Lemi
46:04 (15:29) Wilfred Kigen, pace maker
46:04 Peter Kiprotich, pace maker
46:04 Ken-ichi Kita
46:05 Jonathan Kipkorir
46:05 Kenneth Muranga
1:01:58 (15:54) Wilfred Kigen
1:01:59 Peter Kiprotich
1:01:59 Satoru Sasaki
1:01:59 Jonathan Kipkorir
1:01:59 Chala Lemi
1:17:17 (15:19) Wilfred Kigen
1:17:18 Chala Lemi
1:17:18 Kenneth Muranga
1:17:18 Jonathan Kipkorir
1:17:18 Makoto Ogura
1:32:45 (15:28) Wilfred Kigen
1:32:45 Daniel Njenga
1:32:46 Atsushi Ikawa
1:32:46 Jonathan Kipkorir
1:32:47 Kenneth Munanga
1:48:22 (15:37) Kenneth Munanga
1:48:22 Chala Lemi
1:48:22 Jonathan Kipkorir
1:48:22 Daniel Njenga
1:48:22 Kentaro Nakamoto
1:48:22 Atsushi Ikawa
2:04:19 (15:57) Chala Lemi
2:04:19 Jonathan Kipkorir
2:04:19 Daniel Njenga
2:04:19 Jeffery Hunt
2:04:19 Kenneth Mungara
2:04:19 Kentaro Nakamoto
2:04:19 Masashi Hayashi
2:04:19 Atsushi Ikawa