Takami Ominami winning the 2002 Rotterdam Marathon (Rikujyou Kyogi Magazine (Track and Field Magazine)) © Copyright
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Ominami wins Nagoya Women's Marathon; Khannouchi wins Kyoto Half

Takami Ominami who had the fastest personal best (2:23:43) in the field ran away from her last challenger at 25Km, and won today’s 2003 Nagoya Women's Marathon in 2:25:03.

It was Ominami fourth attempt to win the race, having finished fifth in 1999, third in 2000 and second in 2001. She predicting a 2:21 time before the race, unfortunately strong swirling winds slowed her.

It was a second consecutive marathon win for Ominami, having been victorious in Rotterdam in 2002, and because her winning time today was sub 2:26, she was automatically selected for the Japanese 2003 World Championships Marathon team.  

The prevailing wind during the first two thirds of the race was a head wind, and at the front Simona Staicu and Natalya Berkut pushed the pace, which immediately turned into a race of attrition.

Ten runners passed 5Km in 16:58, however, the pack did not include one of the favourites, 41 years old Irina Bogacheva - who was to make a late recovery.

By 15Km only five runners - Staicu, Berkut, Takami Ominami, Yasuko Hashimoto and Risa Hagiwara - were left in the lead pack, with the one major Japanese casualty being Haruko Okamoto who was left behind at 13Km.

Both pace setters were gone by 20Km. First Staicu fell behind at 16Km followed by Berkut at 20Km. After the pacers left the race, Ominami started to push the pace. She led Yasuko Hashimoto and marathon debutante Risa Hagiwara at the half way point, which was passed in 1:12:13.

Because Nagoya's course is generally conducive to a faster second half, there was still hope for the fast time. Unfortunately the tail wind which was expected to help the runners in the last third of the race never materialized.

As Ominami increased the pace at 24Km, Hashimoto and Hagiwara lost contact with her in succession, and by 26Km Ominami was completely alone. Ominami continued to push the pace; she covered the 10Km from 20Km to 30Km in 33:44 (16:54, 16:50). By 30Km Hagiwara - who is coached by Sachiko Yamashita, 1991 Worlds silver medallist - was a distant second.

Ominami continue to push the pace despite the strong swirling wind but started to slow down in the last 5Km. Yet, she still won by over three minutes in 2:25:03.

Three minutes later, Risa Hagiwara entered the Mizuho stadium in second place with Bogacheva in hot pursuit but the Japanese had enough strength to secure second place on her marathon debut.

“Because I trained alone in Kunming China, I am used to running alone. I was hoping to set a new personal best, but the wind was too strong,” confirmed the winner.  
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Additional credits - Tatsuo Terada and Akihiro Onishi 

10C 32% humidity

1) Takami Ominami  2:25:03
2) Risa Hagiwara  2:28:14       Debut
3) Irina Bogacheva (KGZ) 2:28:17
4) Eri Amou  2:28:57 
5) Yasuko Hashimoto  2:29:37 
6) Li Helan (CHN)  2:30:04
7) Wang Hongxia (CHN)  2:31:19
8) Yukari Komatsu  2:31:28 

5Km     16:58
10Km    34:10  (17:12)
15Km    51:13  (17:02)
20Km    1:08:26  (17:13)
Half    1:12:13 
25Km    1:25:20  (16:54) 
30Km    1:42:10  (16:50) 
35Km    1:59:10  (17:00)
40Km    2:17:09  (17:59) 
Finish  2:25:03

Takaoka and Noguchi win Japan corporate team Half Marathon championships in Yamaguchi

9 March 2003 - Toshinari Takaoka, a triple Asian record holder (5000m, 10000m and marathon), won the Japan corporate team Half Marathon championships in Yamaguchi, with the meet record time of 1:01:07.

Looking back at the race Takaoka said: "It was quite a cold day. The weather was also quite strange. It rained on part of the course, followed by sunshine, and then the rain came back again. The race started slow, despite the tail wind during the first half. (Kenta) Oshima and (Kazuyuki) Maeda pushed the pace and we passed 5Km in 14:50. Uchitomi and (Hatsuo) Kitada tried to break away, but their effort was unsuccessful.”

”Just before 10Km (29:14), Maeda surged to open the gap on us. At 12Km he had about a 10 seconds lead on us, but at that point (Takayuki) Matsumiya (pending 30Km World record holder) started to chase the leader, so I went with him leaving the pack behind.  A kilometre later we caught Maeda and then left him behind. Then at 14.8Km, I surged to leave Matsumiya behind.  From there I ran alone. I passed 15Km in 43:44 and 20Km in 57:57 and finished in the course record time of 61:07.”

”The time was better than expected because the first half was quite slow and I did not think such a time was possible. With the better weather I probably could have run faster.”

Toshinari Takaoka concluded by saying, “although when I had to miss Oume 30Km (in February) I was bit concerned, but overall it has been a good road race season for me.”

Mizuki Noguchi won the women's division in the record time, 1:08:29. The pack of five - Noguchi, Hiromi Ominami (twin sister of Takami Ominami who won Nagoya Women's Marathon), Takako Kotarida, Kiyomi Ogawa and Hiromi Fujii - passed 5Km in 16:30. With a sub-16 minutes 5Km pace (15:50) between 5Km and 10Km, Fujii (at 7Km), Ogawa (at 8Km) and Ominami (at 9Km) lost contact with the leaders in succession, leaving Noguchi and Kotorida at the lead.

”The race reminded me of Osaka,” said Noguchi who clashed with Naoko Sakamoto in January's Osaka Ladies Marathon.  As in Osaka, Noguchi prevailed at the end leaving Kotorida at 16Km, and won in the course record time of 1:08:28. "I was hoping to better the course record, so I was happy although it was a little short of my personal best."

1) Toshinari Takaoka  1:01:07   course record
2) Takayuki Matsumiya  1:01:34
3) Kenta Oshima   1:01:48
4) Kazuyuki Maeda 1:01:49
5) Kazushi Hara 1:01:52
6) Hatsuo Kitada 1:02:11

1) Mizuki Noguchi 1:08:29  course record
2) Takako Kotorida 1:08:35
3) Hiromi Ominami 1:09:41
4) Guixia Zheng  (CHN) 1:10:21
5) Fumi Murata  1:10:21
6) Mika Okunaga 1:10:21

Khalid Khannouchi and Adrian Fernandez win Kyoto Half marathon 

9 March 2003 - After surging just before 20Km Khalid Khannouchi won the Kyoto Half Marathon in 1:02:15.  Khannouchi said after the race, “it was my first race in the snow, but I always train to win at any kind of weather, so I am happy with the win.”
On the women's side Adriana Fernandez of Mexico ran alone from 5Km and won in 1:09:28.  "It was my first race in the snow, so I am happy with the win. I am disappointed that I could not set a personal best but I would like to thank the people of Kyoto who lined up along the course.” 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Additional credits - Akihiro Onishi and Toshinari Takaoka.