All smiles - Nephat Kinyanjui takes a narrow victory in the Nagano Marathon (Kazutaka Eguchi(Agence SHOT)) © Copyright
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Kinyanjui successfully defends in Nagano

Defending champion Nephat Kinyanjui of Kenya won the ninth annual Nagano Marathon in 2:13:32 to become the second male runner - after two-time Olympic medalist Eric Wainaina - to win the Nagano Marathon twice, while Russian Alevtina Ivanova won the women’s race in 2:27:49.

Kinyanjui prevails in a sprint finish – Men’s race

Kinyanjui outsprinted Georgiy Andreyev to become the first man to successfully defend the title, while Andreyev who was credited with the same time, repeated his finish position from last year.

A pack of seventeen runners passed 3Km in 9:47 and 5Km in 15:39, before Shin-ichi Watanabe picked up the pace after six kilometres, covering 8Km to 9Km split in 3:02.  Toshinari Takaoka, running the Marathon as part of his training - perhaps in an attempt to run an even pace - fell somewhat behind the lead pack and out of contention.16 runners passed 10 kilometres in 31:21 while Takaoka, who was 15 seconds behind at 10Km, caught up with the leaders five kilometres later (47:36).

The lead pack was reduced to ten runners by the 20km point, with another dropping by the 27th, when eight remained at 30 kilometres - Tariku Aboset, Moges Taye, Norio Kamijyo, Andreyev, Takaoka, Shimelis Mola, Yohei Sato and Kazutaka Enoki. 

With one kilometer remaining Kinyanjui, Kimijyo and Andreyev were left in the battle for the win: Kimijyo fell back as the trio entered the Olympic Stadium while Kinyanjui outkicked Andreyev for the second consecutive year over the final 200 metres.

 “I would like to thank race director and all the staff who made this race possible,” said Kinyanjui. “I hope we see each other next year again in Nagano.”

“The going got little tougher near and end of the race and I could not keep up with the pace,” said Takaoka, who finished seventh in 2:15.00. 

Third time a charm for Ivanova - Women’s race

Women’s winner Alevtina Ivanova, who finished second in his race in 2003 and fourth in 2004, had a much easier time, winning by more than a minute over Ethiopian Dire Tune.

The race began with a much smaller lead pack, with just six runners at the front after five kilometres (17:28). Romanian Lidia Simon lost contact soon after the half, when just a trio – Ivanova, Tune and Lyubov Morgunova – remained.

But in the 37th kilometer Ivanova made her decisive move and built an insurmountable lead by the 40th kilometre en route to her 2:27:49 victory., with Tune and Morgunova next well back in second and third respectively.

Ken Nakamura with assistance by Akihiro Onishi for the IAAF

Leading Results:
Weather:  Sunny, temperature 13C, humidity 50%
MEN - (JPN unless otherwise noted) 
1)  Nephat Kinyanjui (KEN)   2:13:32
2)  Georgiy Andreyev (RUS)   2:13:32
3)  Norio Kamijyo   2:13:37
4)  Yohei Sato    2:14:13
5)  Kazutaka Enoki    2:14:19
6)  Moges Taye  (ETH)  2:14:25
7)  Toshinari Takaoka    2:15:00
8)  Shimelis Mola (ETH)   2:15:57
9)  Kazunari Yoshitomi   2:17:19
10) Tomokazu Sakamoto   2:20:38

5Km   15:39   Norio Kamijyo
10Km   31:21 (15:42)  Shin-ichi Watanabe
15Km   47:36   (16:15)  Norio Kamijyo
20Km   1:03:14 (15:38) Georgiy Andreyev
Half   1:06:37   Georgiy Andreyev
25Km   1:18:56 (15:42) Norio Kamijyo
30Km   1:34:51 (15:55) Tariku Aboset
35Km  1:51:06   (16:15) Norio Kamijyo  
40Km   2:06:59 (15:53) Nephat Kinyanjui 
Finish  2:13:32   (6:33) Nephat Kinyanjui

1)  Alevtina Ivanova (RUS)   2:27:49
2)  Dire Tune  (ETH)   2:28:59
3)  Lyubov Morgunova (RUS)  2:29:34
4)  Lidia Simon (ROM) 2:34:48
5)  Asnakech Mengistu (ETH)  2:37:39
6)  Chikako Ogushi   2:39:38
7)  Yoshimi Hoshino  2:40:04
8)  Chihiro Tanaka  2:40:40
9)  Mai Tagami  2:43:03
10) Hiroko Sho  2:43:49

5Km 17:28   Asnakech Mengistu
10Km 34:51 (17:23)  Lidia Simon
15Km 52:27 (17:36)  Lidia Simon
20Km 1:10:16  (17:49) Alevtina Ivanova
Half  1:14:04  Alevtina Ivanova
25Km 1:27:37 (17:21) Dire Tune
30Km 1:45:15 (17:38) Alevtina Ivanova
35Km 2:02:50 (17:35) Alevtina Ivanova
40Km 2:19:59 (17:09) Alevtina Ivanova
Finish   2:27:49 (7:50) Alevtina Ivanova