Masako Chiba, Mizuki Noguchi and Naoko Sakamoto (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 30 August 2004 – Sapporo, Japan

Chiba takes 2:26 win in Hokkaido Marathon

Sapporo, JapanMasako Chiba, won the 2004 Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo on Sunday August 28. Chiba, the marathon bronze medallist at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, completed the course in a near record time of 2:26:50. 

For Chiba, who was a reserve for the Athens Olympic marathon team, it was her second win at the Hokkaido Marathon, having won the 2001 edition. 

The race started at 12:10pm in unseasonably cool weather and the pack of twelve women including Chiba passed 5Km in 17:41. The pack was reduced to eight runners by 10Km and as the race progressed, by 20Km (1:09:56), the women’s lead pack was down to five runners – Masako Chiba, Eri Okubo, Irina Timofeyeva (RUS), Mai Tagami and Zebenay Moges (ETH). 

After Timofeyeva lost contact with the leaders, four runners stayed together until 27Km at which point Moges was the next runner to lose contact with the leaders. “I did not mean to surge, but when I saw other runners falling behind, I knew it was the time to pick up the pace,” said Chiba, who ran the 5Km segment between 25Km to 30Km in 17:14.  And thus she was soon running alone.  Chiba ran the next 5Km in 17:16, followed by 17:03 for the 5Km between 35Km to 40Km.

Although Chiba won by nearly three minutes, she fell short of the record 2:26:11 recorded by Chika Horie in 2002.  “I felt that fans cheering me on from the sidewalk turned the strong head wind into the tail wind,” said Chiba.

Kagika takes men’s win

On the men’s side, Laban Kagika, a Kenyan who lives in Japan and runs for corporate team, JFE, won in 2:12:20.  After a huge pack of around 25 runners passed 15Km in 46:52, invited runner Frederick Cherono of Kenya surged ahead to string out the leaders.

Out of the chasing pack emerged Kagika and Degene Guta of Ethiopia who attempted to cover Cherono’s move and they were able to stay within the striking distance.  Four kilometres later, at 19Km, they caught up, and the three Africans passed 20Km together in 1:01:24.

The 5Km split from 15Km to 20Km, 14:32, was the fastest of the race.  Three continued to run together until 29Km, at which point Kagika, surged away from Guta and Cherono.  At 30Km, Kagika was 8 seconds ahead of Guta and Cherono.  With every step Kagika increased his lead over the second place, and won by more than two minutes in 2:12:20.

The winner was 4th in 2001 Fukuoka Marathon and 5th in 2003 Tokyo Marathon, about his move commented “if I went with the flow, the time would have been slow.”

“Now that Athens Olympic is over, it is time to start thinking about Beijing,” concluded Kagika who hopes to be running in the Olympics in four years time.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
With the assistance from Akihiro Onishi

Weather at the start: 17.5C, 80% humidity


1)  Laban Kagika (KEN)   2:12:20
2)  Takahiro Kitagawa  2:14:48
3)   Masayuki Satouchi  2:14:55
4)   Akihiro Oshikiri   2:15:09
5)   Frederick Cherono (KEN)  2:15:20
6)   Hiroyuki Fujii  2:15:40
7)   Yoshiteru Morishita  2:16:00
8)   Tetsuo Nishimura  2:16:33 

5Km 15:51
10Km 31:17 (15:26)
15Km 46:52 (15:35)
20Km 1:01:24 (14:32)
25Km 1:17:17 (15:53)
30Km 1:33:10 (15:53)
35Km 1:48:44 (15:34)
40Km 2:04:52 (16:08)
Finish  2:12:20 (7:28)

1) Masako Chiba  2:26:50
2) Mai Tagami  2:29:43
3) Elzbieta Jarosz (POL)  2:35:38
4) Hiromi Nakayama  2:35:46
5) Aki Negoro  2:37:51
6) Masayo Kobayashi  2:39:06
7) Tomoko Kai  2:40:52
8) Junko Kumagai  2:40:56

5Km 17:41
10Km 34:50 (17:09)
15Km 52:18 (17:28)
20Km 1:09:56 (17:38)
25Km 1:27:41 (17:45)
30Km 1:44:55 (17:14)
35Km 2:02:11 (17:16)
40Km 2:19:14 (17:03)
Finish 2:26:50 (7:36)