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

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…