Skip to main content

Aiming for Top 10 at World Championships, Matsumoto Wins Second-Straight Fuji Mountain Race Title

translated by Brett Larner

3980 people ran the July 25 Fuji Mountain Race's 67th edition in its Fifth Stage and Summit divisions. The men's Summit division winner was defending champion Dai Matsumoto (30, Salomon), who took his second-straight title in 2:47:45. Ruth Charlotte Croft (25, New Zealand) won the women's Summit division in 3:11:44.  Sho Matsumoto (28, Nikkei Business) was the men's Fifth Stage winner, with Yumiko Oishi (43) joining him on the podium in the women's race.

In his sixth time running the Fuji Mountain Race Dai Matsumoto was delighted to keep his place on top.  "People were gunning for me this year," he said of the pressure that pushed him to beat his own winning time from last year of 2:49:40.  A native of Gunma prefecture, his experience with mountain running dates back to his time at Maebashi H.S. and Gunma University where he competed in the event at the National Sports Festival.  He currently trains at Mt. Asama and competes as a professional mountain runner in "sky running" races.  His next major goal, he said with a smile, is, "to finish in the top ten at the sky race world championships two years from now."

The New Zealand-born Croft beat the runner-up in the women's Summit division by a commanding margin of more than 17 minutes.  "I wasn't very satisfied with last year's result [9th in 3:52:05]," she said of her motivation to give Mt. Fuji another go.  Based in Nepal for her training, Croft came back to the Fuji Mountain Race after running the Everest Ultra Marathon, where she finished 2nd in the foreign athlete division.  Her strategy of picking up the pace after reaching the Fifth Stage paid off well as she ran away from her competitors to snag the win.  "I'm really happy that I ran better than last year," she said with satisfaction.


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

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…