Hiroaki Takeda, who was tenth last year in this race, won today’s 2004 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in 2:12:02. It was his ninth marathon and the biggest win of his life.
The race started under nearly ideal weather conditions without noticeable wind, which is quite rare in Beppu. The two designated pacemakers, Lee Troop of Australia and the defending champion Samson Ramadhani of Tanzania, led the lead pack to an excellent early pace, clocking around 15:20 for the each 5km until 30km, exactly what was planned before the race.
The first major casualty of the race was Hiroshi Miki, a 2:08 marathon runner. Miki who was running his first marathon in nearly three years lost contact with the leader after only 10km and dropped out at 17Km. At 20km, the lead pack consists of 14 runners, which was reduced to 12 runners by the halfway (approximately 1:04:35). The race of attrition continued and at 23km, the eventual winner Takeda also fell behind the leader but kept going at his own pace.
By 25km, six runners were left in front. They were Takashi Tokunaga, Takashi Matsuyama, Masami Soeta, and Joseph Kahugu, along with two pacemakers, Troop and Ramadhani. At 26km Troop dropped out leaving Ramadhani as the sole pacemaker. About the same time Matsuyama also fell behind the lead pack. In the next 5Km Soeta (at 27km), Kahugu (at 29km) and Tokunaga (at 31km) fell off the pace in succession leaving Ramadhani, the designated pacemaker, alone in front.
At 35km, Kahugu, Tokunaga and Takeda lagged the leader Ramadhani by 34 seconds, 42 seconds and 60 seconds respectively. Yet, the race was far from being over. There were more lead changes in store. Takeda was slowly coming back. First, at 35.9km, Takeda passed Tokunaga to move into third. A kilometre later he passed Kahugu to move into second.
Then finally at 39.6km, the pacemaker Ramadhani dropped out, thus leaving Takeda, who later said, “I did not think I could win the race. It was a strange feeling when the leader dropped out with less than 3km to go,” into the first place by default. Takeda went on to win by a minute and 40 seconds, while Tokunaga who passed Kahugu at 39.9km finished second. “I did not know that I moved into second. I thought I was third,” said Tokunaga who was quite happy with his second place but that a stsitich to his side had bothered him.
“I am satisfied with nearly four minutes improvement of the personal best,” said Takeda who concluded, “It was the best marathon of my career.”
Next year’s edition has designated as one of the qualifying races for the World Championships in Helsinki so much deeper field is expected.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
with assistance from Akihiro Onishi
Weather at the start 11.2C, humidity 54%, NNW wind 1.7m/s
1) Hiroaki Takeda 2:12:02
2) Takashi Tokunaga 2:13:42
3) Chai Jiahua (CHN) 2:14:57
4) Yuichi Washio 2:15:28
5) Jonathan Wyatt (NZL) 2:15:43
6) Joseph Kafugu (KEN) 2:16:10
7) Wu Wen Chien (TPE) 2:16:15
8) Hiromitsu Fukuhara 2:16:59…
19) John Nada Saya (TAN) 2:21:08
22) Andre Ramos (BRA) 2:24:16
5Km 15:16 Troop
10Km 30:31 (15:15) Troop
15Km 45:51 (15:20) Troop
20Km 1:01:13 (15:22) Troop
25Km 1:16:22 (15:09) Troop
30Km 1:31:46 (15:24) Ramadhani
35Km 1:47:22 (15:36) Ramadhani
40Km 2:04:43 (17:21) Takeda
Finish 2:12:02 (7:19) Takeda
Splits for Takeda
5Km 15:18 2 seconds behind the leader
10Km 30:33 (15:15) 2 seconds behind the leader
15Km 45:52 (15:19) 1 second behind the leader
20Km 1:01:17 (15:25) 4 seconds behind the leader
25Km 1:16:43 (15:26) 21 seconds behind the leader
30Km 1:32:25 (15:42) 39 seconds behind the leader
35Km 1:48:22 (15:57) 60 seconds behind the leader
40Km 2:04:43 (16:21) leader
Finish 2:12:02 (7:19) leader