Skip to main content

Ndirangu and Numata Win National Corporate Half Marathon, Kikuchi Just Misses National Record in 1:00:32

by Brett Larner

A week after winning a muddy Chiba XC, Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) was back for his half marathon debut at the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships.  The successor to 2015 Kenyan national XC champion Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) at Hiroshima's Sera H.S., Ndirangu sat near the rear of the lead pack through a relatively conservative 14:29 opening split on the 30 m uphill first 5 km.  As the downhill started Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta), the top non-African at last year's World Half Marathon Championships who ran an all-time Japanese #5 1:00:57 two weeks ago in Marugame, began to push the pace, covering the next 5 km in 14:19.  Ndirangu temporarily lost contact with the lead group in Kikuchi's wake but came back in a hurry, surging at 11 km to go to the front and break up the pack.

Initially only Kikuchi and his teammate Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta), who likewise ran a PB 1:01:20 in Marugame two weeks ago, followed, but when they were joined by Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) Shitara lost touch.  Kikuchi went back to the front at 13 km, aggressively pushing toward Atsushi Sato's 1:00:25 national record.  At 18 km Charles Ndirangu attacked again, pulling away from Kikuchi and Macharia and cruising on to a solid 1:00:18 course record win in his debut.  43 seconds behind Sato's NR pace at 10 km, at 20 km Kikuchi exactly tied Sato's 57:24 split, incidentally becoming the co-national record holder at that distance, but almost staggering as he and Macharia hit the track.  He briefly rallied to go into 2nd, but Macharia went by for the runner-up spot in 1:00:30, a PB by nearly 2 1/2 minutes.

Kikuchi was just behind in 1:00:32, breaking the course record along with the two Ndirangu's but 7 seconds short of Sato's national record.  His time put him at all-time Japanese #3 and together with his time from Marugame made him the first Japanese man ever to break 61 minutes twice.  Combined with becoming the co-holder of the 20 km national record it wasn't a bad day, and the aggressive front-running Kikuchi showed marked him as one of the best of the new generation of under-25 Japanese making their way up the ranks.

Shitara held on for 5th in 1:01:12 to become all-time Japanese #10.  Four other Japanese men broke 62 minutes for the first time, Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) debuting in 1:01:31.  Previous course record holder Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), formerly all-time Japanese #4 at 1:00:53, had his first good race since a 2:11:50 debut at last year's Tokyo Marathon at age 22, running 1:02:18 for 11th.  A total of 27 men broke 1:03.

The women's half marathon likewise didn't see things get moving until after 10 km.  Under-20 marathon national record holder Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) did most of the leading up to 10 km, running just under 70 minute pace before former Ritsumeikan University star Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) dropped a 16:16 split through 15 km to open up a solo lead that she held all the way to the win in a PB 1:09:27.  Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was the only one to go after her, running a 3-second PB of 1:09:57 for 2nd.  Unable to follow the change in pace, Iwade rounded out the podium in 1:10:13.

36 years old next month, 10000 m and former marathon national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) was a surprise 6th in 1:11:00, her best time since 2008.  Looking relatively lean after altitude training on her old grounds in Kunming, China in preparation for next month's Nagoya Women's Marathon, Shibui hung back after Numata starting pushing, far back from the leaders at the turnaround but picking them off one at a time on the trip back to move up to 6th.

For the fifth year the women's field was divided between the half marathon and 10 km, with many of the younger names that might have taken on longer distances in older times opting for the 10 km.  A lead group of ten went through halfway in a leisurely 16:39, only slightly faster than the half marathoners' opening 5 km split, before things got moving.  Last year's runner-up Yuika Mori (Team Yamada Denki) burned off the competition with a 15:47 second half, crossing the finish line in a course record 32:26 PB.  Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) was 3 seconds back in a major PB of 32:29, getting there just ahead of Mori's teammate Sakiho Tsutsui (Team Yamada Denki) who made an excellent road 10 km debut in 32:30.

National Corporate Half Marathon and 10 km Championships
Yamaguchi, 2/15/15
click here for complete results

Men's Half Marathon
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:00:18 - debut, CR
2. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:30 - PB (CR)
3. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:00:32 - PB (CR)
4. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:01:05
5. Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:01:12 - PB
6. Shota Hattori (Team Honda) - 1:01:25 - PB
7. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:29
8. Taku Fujimoto (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 1:01:31 - debut
9. Yuji Osuda (Team Mazda) - 1:01:40 - PB
10. Kenta Matsumoto (Team Toyota) - 1:01:55 - PB
11. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 1:02:18
12. Keita Baba (Team Honda) - 1:02:23 - PB
13. Shuji Matsuo (Team Chudenko) - 1:02:25 - PB
14. Shusei Ohashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:27 - PB
15. Kenta Kitazawa (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:02:32 - PB
16. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:02:36
17. Kazuyoshi Shimozato (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:02:44
18. Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:45 - PB
19. Masaru Aoki (Team Kanebo) - 1:02:45 - PB
20. Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 1:02:45 - PB
21. Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team NTN) - 1:02:47
22. Ryotaro Otani (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:48 - PB
23. Ryuji Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:48 - PB
24. Norihiro Komatsu (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:49 - PB
25. Kenta Matsubara (Team Toyota) - 1:02:50 - PB

Women's Half Marathon
1. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:09:27 - PB
2. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:09:57 - PB
3. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 1:10:13
4. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 1:10:43
5. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 1:10:57
6. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:11:00
7. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:11:11 - PB
8. Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 1:11:28
9. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 1:11:48
10. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 1:11:53 - PB

Women's 10 km
1. Yuika Mori (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:26 - CR, PB
2. Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) - 32:29 - PB
3. Sakiho Tsutsui (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:30 - debut
4. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Denso) - 32:38 - PB
5. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:41 - PB
6. Nami Hashimoto (Team Denso) - 32:45 - debut
7. Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) - 33:05 - PB
8. Ai Utsunomiya (Team Miyazaki Ginko) - 33:11 - PB
9. Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) - 33:16
10. Eri Hashimoto (Team Shimamura) - 33:20 - PB

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Great to see Yoko Shibui back in the top ten in a big race. The commentator mentioned that her coach said she's in the best shape she's been in for 4 or 5 years. It's also great that she hasn't followed the typical Japanese trend of early retirement.

That Hattori guy from Honda is amazing. His body doesn't look like a runner's, his form is weird, but he runs a 1:01:25. He's just a tough little guy.

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Men's Marathon Rout - JAAF Executives Announce Resignation

http://www.nikkansports.com/olympic/rio2016/athletics/news/1698472.html

translated by Brett Larner

In the Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon on Aug. 21, Satoru Sasaki (30) was the top Japanese man at 16th in 2:13:57.  Suehiro Ishikawa (36) was 36th, with Hisanori Kitajima (31) placing 94th.

At the end of athletics competition Japan's total was two medals and two top eight finishes, a total exceeding the JAAF's target one medal but falling short of its goal of five top eight finishes.  JAAF strengthening committee chairman Kazunori Asaba (55) announced that he intends to resign his position following the Rio Olympics.  Strengthening committee vice-chairman Katsumi Sakai (56) and director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh (63) are also expected to join the exodus of resignations.  Japanese athletics will be forced to make a fresh start before the Tokyo Olympics.

Kawauchi Wins BMW Oslo Marathon in Fastest Time Since 1986

Running his first race of any distance since finishing 9th at last month's London World Championships, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Saturday's BMW Oslo Marathon in the fastest time in Oslo since before he was born.

Pre-race Kawauchi's goal was to take a shot at the 2:12:58 Norwegian all-comers record, the fastest time ever run on Norwegian soil. With a new two-loop course featuring a pair of tough hills interspersed by a flat seaside section on each loop his game plan was to try to run 3:10/km until midway through the second lap, then try to push it on the climb and descent of the last hill to make up whatever seconds he needed.

15 km into the first lap he was 10 seconds ahead of schedule in 47:20 and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place, but the steep hill starting a kilometer later took its toll and by 20 km he was 24 seconds behind.  Over the second lap the strong sunlight and warmer than usual temperatures and the two weeks he took off after London also began …