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Kebaso and Matsumoto Win Shibetsu Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With the demise of the Sapporo International Half Marathon, Hokkaido's Shibetsu Half Marathon has taken on a bigger role as a major domestic summer half marathon, especially for members of Japanese national teams for international championships.  Despite generally hot conditions and the apparent cutting of the elite women's 10 km this year, both the women's and men's races featured solid fields.

Kenyan Winfredah Kebaso, the main support of the fledgling Nitori corporate women's team, easily took the win in 1:12:36 over Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), one of the three Japanese women in the marathon at next month's Beijing World Championships.  Ito was a distant 2nd behind Kebaso in 1:14:47 but had little trouble holding off teammate Yui Okada, 3rd in 1:15:13.  Runners from the Noritz corporate team featured prominently, taking 4 of the top 10 places, while Nitori's Remi Nakazato continued her comeback from a cancer diagnosis last November, taking 7th in 1:16:53.  Mei Matsuyama (Meijo Univ.) was the top collegiate at 9th in 1:18:13.

The Toyota men's corporate team dominated the men's race with 3 of the top 4 places and 4 inside the top 10.  Toyota's Kenta Matsumoto took the win in 1:03:56, a rare sub-1:04 in Shibetsu, with teammate Tsubasa Hayakawa outrunning Masaki Ito (Team Konica Minolta) by 5 seconds for 2nd in 1:04:20.  2014 Asian Games marathon silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi HPS) took 5th in 1:04:41, with Rei Omori (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) taking top collegiate honors with a 1:05:23 for 9th.

29th Shibetsu Half Marathon
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/26/15
click here for complete results

Women
1. Winfredah Kebaso (Kenya/Nitori) - 1:12:36
2. Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:14:47
3. Yui Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:15:13
4. Ai Inoue (Noritz) - 1:15:34
5. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz) - 1:16:14
6. Mari Ozaki (Noritz) - 1:16:39
7. Remi Nakazato (Nitori) - 1:16:53
8. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 1:17:38
9. Mei Matsuyama (Meijo Univ.) - 1:18:13
10. Madoka Nakano (Noritz) - 1:18:32

Men
1. Kenta Matsumoto (Toyota) - 1:03:56
2. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) - 1:04:20
3. Masaki Ito (Konica Minolta) - 1:04:25
4. Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) - 1:04:39
5. Kohei Matsumura (Mitsubishi HPS) - 1:04:41
6. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu (Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:05:12
7. Natsuki Terada (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:05:12
8. Minato Oishi (Toyota) - 1:05:17
9. Rei Omori (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:23
10. Tomoyuki Morita (Kanebo) - 1:05:38

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
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Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
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Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
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June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
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