Kazuhiro Maeda, fourth at 5000m in the Asian Games, won the Japanese Corporate Team Half Marathon Championships in the final sprint, while Ongori Philes, a Kenyan who runs for Hokuren, led wire-to-wire and won the women’s division by more than a minute. The race was held in Yamaguchi, Japan on 11 March. This is the Championships 35th year.
Daisuke Daigo took off from the start and passed 1Km in 2:53, followed by a huge pack, some seven seconds behind. Daigo was caught by the chasing pack before 5Km, and the huge pack passed 5Km in 15:04, 10Km in 29:35 and 15Km 44:30. Terukazu Omori, who led the early part of the 10,000m in the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, surged three-times between 16Km and 18Km with the pack catching him on each occasion.
With less than 1Km left in the race, on the road leading up to the entrance to the stadium, Maeda attacked and opened a gap and won in 1:02:10.
“I didn’t think I could win the race because of the presence of a faster runner like Omori. I just tried to follow the pace as long as I can. Winning this race is a great confidence builder for me,” said Maeda after the race. He was followed by Omori, fifth at 10000m in the Asian Games, in 1:02:14.
“The day was quite windy, so the time had suffered. I was hoping to win, but it just did not work out for me. My goal for the year is to win the national championships and run the 10, 000m in the World Championships in Osaka,” said Omori. Twenty-six runners broke 1:03 for the half marathon.
Ongori Philes dominated the women’s race. She took an immediate lead and by 1Km, passed in 3:16, was running completely alone. Philes passed 5Km in 16:32, while a pack of 10 runners (Akane Taira, Akane Wakita, Tomoko Ishii, Miyuki Ando, Aya Manome, Yoshiko Hosokawa, Yoko Miyauchi, Emiko Maki and Kiyoko Shimahara) were 11 seconds behind.
By the time Philes passed 10Km in 32:39, the chasing pack of twelve (since joined by two more runners – Michiko Ogawa and Marie Haga) was 45 seconds behind. Philes continued to extend her lead over the chase pack, passing 15Km in 49:11 (pack was minute and 15 seconds behind) and 20Km in 1:06:08 (pack was minute and 20 seconds behind). Philes won in 1:09:50.
“The final 5Km was little difficult but I am happy to record my personal best,” said Philes. “I want to run the 10,000m in Osaka this summer,” continued Philes. The race for second place came down to a sprint. Akane Taira finished second in 1:10:53, while Yoshimi Ozaki was third in 1:10:54.
Akane Wakita, despite falling at 1Km, finished seventh in her half marathon debut with 1:11:01. Wakita, coached by Yoshio Koide, who coached Naoko Takahashi to the Olympic marathon gold, was the first non-African in the junior race at the 2005 World Cross Country Championships.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Assisted by Akihiro Onishi
Weather: Sunny; temperature 6C; humidity 36%; wind 4.2m/s WestNorth West
1) Kazuhiro Maeda 1:02:10
2) Terukazu Omori 1:02:14
3) Naoto Yoneda 1:02:14
4) Toru Okada 1:02:15
5) Kazuyoshi Shimozato 1:02:16
6) Bekele Gebresadik (ETH) 1:02:17
7) Kazuo Ietani 1:02:18
8) Yoshinori Oda 1:02:19
9) Cyrus Njui (KEN) 1:02:19
10) Kenji Noguchi 1:02:20
5Km 15:04 Daisuke Daigo
10Km 29:35 (14:31) John Kanyi (KEN)
15Km 44:30 (14:55) Bekele Gebresadik (ETH)
20Km 59:14 (14:44) Bekele Gebresadik (ETH)
1) Ongori Philes (KEN) 1:09:50
2) Akane Taira 1:10:53
3) Yoshimi Ozaki 1:10:54
4) Marina Haga 1:10:57
5) Aya Manome 1:10:59
6) Kiyoko Shimahara 1:11:00
7) Akane Wakita 1:11:01
8) Yoko Miyauchi 1:11:06
9) Tomoko Ishii 1:11:34
10) Yoshiko Hosokawa 1:11:45
5Km 16:32 Ongori Philes (KEN)
10Km 32:39 (16:07) Ongori Philes (KEN)
15Km 49:11 (16:32) Ongori Philes (KEN)
20Km 1:06:08(16:57) Ongori Philes (KEN)