Skip to main content

Fujiwara and Okada Win Hokkaido Marathon (updated with video)

by Brett Larner



His career marked by more ups and downs than virtually any other elite marathoner, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) pulled yet another surprise comeback out of nowhere on a week's notice to win the hot and humid Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo on Sunday.  One of only five Japanese men to ever win a marathon outside Japan under 2:10, after a mid-race surge Fujiwara's strategy evoked his course record-setting 2010 Ottawa Marathon win, waiting until the final km before going for a long surge over a group of five including his training partner and 2010 Hokkaido winner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), 2015 Nagano Marathon runner-up Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) and others.  Fujiwara crossed the finish line to claim his second career marathon victory in 2:16:49, one of the slower winning times in recent Hokkaido history but a full 11 seconds over Njui in the final kilometer.

Njui held off Tanigawa, who previously felt the sting of Fujiwara's finishing speed at the 2013 Great North Run half marathon in the U.K., by 3 seconds, 2:17:00 to 2:17:03 with 4th-placer Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) just behind in 2:17:04.  Maybe the only negative from Fujiwara's perspective: earlier the same morning his indie rival Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Australia's Perth City to Surf Marathon in a slightly faster time of 2:16:23.  With a successful marathon behind him Fujiwara now turns his focus to the corporate federation's ~$1 million bonus for a new Japanese national record.

The women's race was clearer-cut, with Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), a training partner of Mai Ito who simultaneously took 7th in the Beijing World Championships women's marathon, easily winning her debut in 2:32:10.  Having made a return to marathoning at March's Seoul International Marathon following her two-year suspension for a positive EPO test at the 2012 Honolulu Marathon, 2006 Hokkaido winner Kaori Yoshida (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) was just over a minute behind in 2:33:14, showing few signs of aging at just 21 seconds off her 2006 winning time.  Corporate leaguer Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) was a close 3rd behind Yoshida in 2:33:20.

Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/30/15 
click here for complete results

Men
1. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 2:16:49
2. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 2:17:00
3. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 2:17:03
4. Hideaki Tamura (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:17:04
5. Yuji Iwata (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 2:17:29
6. Akinori Iida (Honda) - 2:18:22
7. Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business Service) - 2:18:22
8. Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:18:56
9. Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 2:18:58
10. Akiyuki Iwanaga (Kyudenko) - 2:19:12
11. Teppei Suegami (YKK) - 2:19:25
12. Kenta Chiba (Fujitsu) - 2:19:33
13. Yu Chiba (Honda) - 2:20:48
-----
DNF - Ryosuke Fukuyama (Honda)

Women
1. Yui Okada (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:10
2. Kaori Yoshida (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:33:14
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 2:33:20
4. Asami Furuse (Kyocera) - 2:34:12
5. Aki Odagiri (Tenmaya) - 2:35:01
6. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:35:23
7. Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:36:35
8. Yukiko Okuno (Shiseido) - 2:36:46
9. Kana Orino (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:38:02
10. Maya Nishio (Hokuren) - 2:39:05

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…