Defending champion Julia Mombi won 2008 Kobe Women’s Half Marathon on Monday 24 November in Kobe, Japan. Her winning time, 1:09:45, is exactly the same as her winning time from last year. Her training-mate, Akane Wakita finished second 12 seconds behind.
“The race was part of the training, but with rain and head wind, it was quite hard after the turn around point. My goal was to win. I did not want to lose against my training mate Akane,” said Mombi after the race. They are both coached by Yoshio Koide, who guided Naoko Takahashi to the Olympic marathon gold.
Mombi pushed the pace from the start, and by 5Km check point (16:21) the lead pack was down to six runners – Mombi, Wakita, Mari Ozaki, Maki Suzawa, Yumiko Hara and Akemi Ozaki. With four of the six falling behind by 6Km, the race turned to a duel between Mombi and Akane Wakita, who was 15th at 10,000m in the 2007 World Championships. Mombi passed 10Km in 32:42 with Wakita in a tow.
“Since we train together all the time, it was almost like a training run,” said Wakita after the race.
At 12.5Km, Wakita moved to the front, and she passed 15Km checkpoint in 49:10 with Mombi just behind her. After turned around point, the runners not only were hampered with the strong headwind, but also by increasing rain. The duel continued until 19.3Km when Mombi made decisive move, which Wakita failed to cover.
“I really wanted win, so I pushed hard,” explained Mombi, and by 20Km (1:06:08 for Mombi), Mombi was 10 seconds ahead of Wakita.
Mombi won by 12 seconds with 1:09:45.
Wakita improved her half marathon personal best to 1:09:57; she broke 1:10 barrier for the first time. Maki Suzawa, half marathon debutante, was third with 1:12:59, more than two minutes behind Mombi and Wakita.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Assisted by Akihiro Onishi in Kobe
Weather: rain; temperature 11.8C, humidity 66%, wind 6.3m/s
1) Julia Mombi (KEN) 1:09:45 (16:21, 32:42, 49:11, 1:06:08)
2) Akane Wakita 1:09:57 (16:22, 32:44, 49:10, 1:06:18)
3) Maki Suzawa 1:12:29
4) Mari Ozaki 1:12:42
5) Mai Kizaki 1:12:58
6) Akemi Ozaki 1:13:39
7) Yumiko Hara 1:13:45
8) Minori Hayakari 1:14:19
9) Satoko Uetani 1:14:23
10) Mika Hikichi 1:14:57