Daniel Njenga, winning the 2007 Tokyo Marathon. He was second at the 2011 and 2010 editions of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon (Kazutaka Eguchi/Agence SHOT) © Copyright
General News Sapporo, Japan

Njenga and Shimahara win Hokkaido Marathon

By running away from their competitors just 10Km into the race, Daniel Njenga and Kiyoko Shimahara won their respective divisions of the 2009 Hokkaido Marathon on Sunday.

Njenga, a Kenyan based in Japan, clocked 2:12:03 and Shimahara 2:25:10.

Men’s race – After early break, Njenga hangs on

Laban Kagika broke away from the lead pack after seven kilometres, but just one-and-a half kilometres later was absorbed by the chase pack.  Nearing 10Km, Masaru Takamizawa, the defending champion, took his turn with the lead. However, after the 10Km checkpoint, Njenga moved into front and began to push the pace. He covered 10 to 11Km in 2:52 and 11 to 12Km in 2:54, thus stretching the lead pack. He continued to run each kilometre under three minutes and after 13.5 kilometres, Njenga had completely broken away from his competitions.

Njenga passed 15Km in 45:42 and by 20 kilometres, Njenga led a chase pack of three (Tagami, Seiji Kobayashi, Kagika) by 31 seconds.  Although the gap had decreased to 27 seconds five kilometres later, it held steady during the crucial stage of the race.  At 30Km, Kagika was 28 seconds behind Njenga, who has began to grimace a lot.  However, the gap between them stayed pretty much the same.  Before 40Km, Marathon debutante Ryo Yamamoto moved up along side of Kagika, but the gap to Njenga was still 37 seconds.  Although the gap between Njenga and the chase pack started to close rapidly in the closing kilometre, Njenga held on to win with 2:12:03, Yamamoto seven seconds behind followed by Kagika who was another 14 seconds behind. 

“I am very happy to win the race,” said Njenga. “After 20Km, my right leg was hurting, so I was wondering if I would be able to continue the race or not. So I am very happy that I was able to pull off the victory.”

Women’s Race - Shimahara takes down course record

Shimahara led almost from the start, followed by Akemi Ozaki, a sister of the World Championships silver medallist, Yoshimi Ozaki, with Kaori Yoshida running third. Shimahara passed 5Km in 16:54, and 10Km in 33:28 and soon, starting around 12Km, she broken away from Ozaki. 

By 20Km, Shimahara was 43 seconds ahead, and although she started to slow down in the waning miles, her position at the front was never threatened. She reached the line in a course record time of 2:25:10, bettering the previous standard of 2:25:46 set by Masako Chiba in 2005.

 “I was planning to run with a good pace from the start, which I was able to do, so if someone comes from behind, I say, so be it,” Shimahara said. “However, I was in good shape, so I wanted to have good results.”  During the race she was talking with her coach, who ran along the course for a few hundred meters on the side walk. “Yes, I had some problems during the race, so I asked for his advice,” she said.

More than 8000 runners started the race at 12:10PM in Sapporo, a city of 1.9 million on the northern island of Hokkaido. The Hokkaido Marathon is one of the few races in Japan in which both elites and non-elites, men and women, all run together in a single race. 

Ken Nakamura assisted by Akihiro Onishi for the IAAF

Leading Results -
Weather: Temperature: 21.2C, Humidity: 65%, wind East 0.5m/s

 1. Daniel Njenga (KEN)  2:12:03
 2. Ryo  Yamamoto        2:12:10
 3. Laban Kagika         2:12:24
 4. Masaru Takamizawa    2:13:05
 5. Seiji Kobayashi      2:13:27 
 6. Chiharu Takada       2:14:34
 7. Shingo Sato          2:14:35  
 8. Isamu Sueyoshi       2:14:37

5Km - 15:45    Ken-ichiro Kawazu
10Km - 31:00  (15:15)   Shin-ichi Watanabe
15Km - 45:42  (14:42)    Daniel Njenga
20Km - 1:00:46 (15:04)   Daniel Njenga
Half - 1:04:11     Daniel Njenga
25Km - 1:16:13  (15:27)  Daniel Njenga
30Km - 1:31:51  (15:38)  Daniel Njenga
35Km - 1:48:00   (16:09)  Daniel Njenga
40Km - 2:04:47   (16:47)   Daniel Njenga
Finish - 2:12:03   (7:16)   Daniel Njenga 

 1. Kiyoko Shimahara    2:25:10
 2. Akemi Ozaki         2:27:23 [corrected]  
 3. Satoko Uetani       2:33:55
 4. Nami Tani           2:33:59
 5. Misuzu Okamoto      2:34:12
 6. Chinami Fukaminato  2:34:16 
 7. Mizuho Nasukawa     2:34:17
 8. Chihiro Tanaka      2:35:15 
 9. Nozomi Iijima       2:36:46 
10. Aki Fujikawa        2:37:25 
11. Kaori Yoshida       2:37:33

5Km - 16:54 Kiyoko Shimahara 
10Km - 33:28 (16:44)   Shimahara
15Km - 50:21 (16:53)    Shimahara 
20Km - 1:07:19 (16:58)   Shimahara
Half - 1:11:02  Shimahara
25Km - 1:24:25  (17:06)  Shimahara
30Km - 1:42:01   (17:36)  Shimahara
35Km - 1:59:43   (17:42)  Shimahara
40Km - 2:17:24  (17:41)  Shimahara
Finish - 2:25:10   (7:46)  Shimahara