Skip to main content

Collegiate 5000 m and 10000 m National Champion Omwamba Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

by Brett Larner

Alongside the Fukuoka International Marathon, Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu hosted another major road race on Sunday, the Kumamoto Kosa 10 Mile Road Race.  The world's most competitive 10-miler by a wide margin, Kosa plays an important role for the coaches of Japan's corporate teams in helping them refine their lineups for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships.  Kosa has long been dominated by Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), who has won six times since 2003 and holds the course record of 44:51 but opted for a marathon debut in Fukuoka this year.  Despite the advantages of having Africans in the race to keep things fast among the predominantly Japanese field Kosa employs a strange format with any non-Japanese entrants segregated together in an "International Division" and given a one-minute head start.  The winner of the all-Japanese division is typically reported as the winner by the Japanese media, with only passing mention of any Africans who may have run faster.

This year Yamanashi Gakuin University first-year Enock Omwamba of Kenya, the 2012 national university 5000 and 10000 m champion and unstoppable on the fall ekiden circuit, had the honor.  Continuing his winning ways, Omwamba, along with corporate runner Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) one of only two non-Japanese in the race, soloed his way to a 46:25.  A minute later the Japanese field started.  Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Toyota Boshoku), one of the many members of the Tepco corporate team to quit and go elsewhere following last year's Fukushima disasters, was the first Japanese athlete across the line, outrunning freshly-minuted sub-28 man Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) in 46:26 to 46:31.

Shiiya was only 1 second slower than Omwamba, and both Shiiya and Hasegawa were faster than Mwangi's 46:38.  The next three Japanese men were all within 10 seconds of Mwangi, raising the question of whether everyone in the front end of the field might have run faster, or whether it might have at least been a more exciting race, if they had all been running head to head.  Omwamba and Mwangi were clearly in range ability-wise, so it is difficult to see what Shiiya, Hasegawa and the other Japanese athletes gained by not being allowed to race them even if it is not hard to see what race organizers in the conservative area may have gained.

2012 Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race
Kosa, Kumamoto, 12/2/12
click here for complete results

1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 46:25
2. Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 46:26
3. Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) - 46:31
4. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 46:38
5. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 46:40
6. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 46:43
7. Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 46:46
8. Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) - 46:53
9. Ryuji Okada (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 46:55
10. Masamichi Yasuda (Team Aichi Seiko) - 47:01

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

1500 m Olympian Assefa Wins Nagoya, 22-Year-Old Sekine 2:23:07 Debut

Two-time 1500 m Olympian Meskerem Assefa (Ethiopia) ran down favorite Valary Jemeli (Kenya) with 4 km to go to win the 2018 Nagoya Women's Marathon, with the home town crowd wowed by the debut of the latest next big thing, 22-year-old Hanami Sekine (Japan Post).

Supported by three pacers, a lead pack of seven including Assefa, Jemeli, Sekine, Ethiopian Bahraini Merima Mohamed, Saitama International Marathon winner Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) and top-ranked Japanese women Reia Iwade (Dome) and Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) went through halfway in a decent 1:11:32. This proved too hot for a few of the past next big things to have run well in Nagoya the last few years, as Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu), 2:22:48 in Nagoya three years ago, and Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), 2:23:47 last year, were off the back of the pack in the first 10 km.

By 25 km Cheyech, Ohara and Iwade joined them off the back, leaving only Sekine in contention with the African trio of Jemeli, Assefa and Mohammed. Sekine, a…

Japan Dominates Asian Cross Country Championships

Japan dominated the 14th Asian Cross Country Championships Thursday in Guiyang, China, winning all four team gold medals to hold the hosts China back to silver in every race.

Japan's only individual gold came in the Junior Women's race, one of its usual areas of strength. Yuna Wada led a Japanese sweep of the top four positions to win the 6 km race in 20:43 with scoring teammates Ririka Hironaka and Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu just behind.

Wada Yuna of Japan wins Junior Women’s 6km cross country race of 14th Asian Cross Country Championship . Japan also won Team championship — Asian Athletics (@asianathletics) March 15, 2018
With the meet also serving as China's National Championships Chinese athletes won the individual gold in the other three races, Dan Li, Cairen Suolong and Jianhua Peng all showing better closing speed to beat their Japanese rivals by 3~4 seconds. Li won the Senior Women's 8 km by 3 seconds over Japan's Yukari Abe, leadi…