Skip to main content

Suzuki 1:01:36 CR to Win National University Half Marathon Title

by Brett Larner
video by Ekiden News


Quickly rising to the top of university men's distance running this season with a 58:43 3rd-place finish at October's Hakone Ekiden qualifier 20 km and a 1:07:17 win on the 23.2 km Hakone Ekiden Second Stage, Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) ran the biggest race of his career to date with a course record-breaking 1:01:36 win at the 2017 National University Men's Half Marathon Championships in western Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park.

1:01:25 man Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) took the race out at sub-61 pace, but after a 29:08 split at 10 km Suzuki got down to work.  Pushing the second half and pulling away alone, he became the first man to break 62 minutes at the National University Half, the deepest half marathon in the world with 265 finishers sub-66 in 2015.  Suzuki's finishing time of 1:01:36 made him the 7th-fastest Japanese-born university man ever over the half marathon distance.



Kudo held on to 2nd in 1:02:15, leading teammates Kei Katanishi and Fuminori Shimo to take 2nd through 4th.  Taisei Hashizume of 2017 Hakone Ekiden champ Aoyama Gakuin University took 5th in a PB of 1:02:46.  Being the primary selection race for Japan's 2017 World University Games half marathon team, National University Half top three Suzuki, Kudo and Katanishi were named team members, with Shimo named alternate. Having swept the medals at the 2015 Games, expectations are high for this year's team.  In the more immediate future, Suzuki will be part of a JAAF marathon development camp later this month in New Zealand.


Further south in Kumamoto, London World Championships marathon team hopeful Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) celebrated his 30th birthday at the Kanaguri Half Tamana Half Marathon.  A large lead pack running right on 3:00 / km stayed together almost the entire race, six or seven men still in contention with 1 km to go.  In the final sprint the Koichi Morishita-coached Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) got the win in 1:03:18 a step ahead of Komazawa graduate Kohei Futaoka (Team Chudenko).  Kawauchi was 3rd in 1:03:19, his best time since the November, 2015 Ageo City Half Marathon. Coming as the first race of his 30s and just hours before the near-confirmation of his place on the London World Championships marathon team, it was the best birthday present he could have asked for.


The 10 km races in Tamana saw stellar high school performances on both sides.  In the women's race two high schoolers broke 33 minutes, with Miku Moribayashi (Isahaya H.S.) getting the win in her debut over the 10 km distance in 32:54 over pros Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) and Yuma Adachi (Team Kyocera) and fellow high schooler Yuko Matsumoto (Omuta H.S.).  Kosei Tanaka (Kobayashi H.S.) won the high school boys' race in 29:50, runner-up Takaki Iwamuro (Omuta H.S.) also going sub-30 in 29:52.

20th National University Men's Half Marathon Championships
Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, Tokyo, 3/5/17

1. Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:01:36 - CR, PB
2. Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:15
3. Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:34
4. Fuminori Shimo (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:36 - PB
5. Taisei Hashizume (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:46 - PB
6. Kazuto Kawabata (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:47
7. Sho Nagato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:52
8. Shuji Yamamoto (Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:56 - PB
9. Homare Morita (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:02
10. Ryoji Tatezawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:14 - debut
11. Riki Nakanishi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:17 - PB
12. Issei Iwasa (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:19 - PB
13. Fuuma Kato (Asia Univ.) - 1:03:22 - PB
14. Akira Aizawa (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:33
15. Kazuya Azegami (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:03:34 - PB
16. Junnosuke Matsuo (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:36
17. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:40
18. Akira Akasaki (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:03:41 - PB
19. Chihaya Kasuga (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:42
20. Yuji Onoda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:42 - PB
21. Noriki Kumagai (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:46 - PB
22. Ryuya Kajitani (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:48 - PB
23. Kazuma Kubo (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:48 - PB
24. Noritoshi Hara (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:03:49
25. Shoma Yamamoto (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:03:50 - PB


68th Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon
Tamana, Kumamoto, 3/5/17

Men's Half Marathon
1. Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:18
2. Kohei Futaoka (Chudenko) - 1:03:18 - PB
3. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:19
4. Naoya Takahashi (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:03:22
5. Hiroki Horiai (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:32 - PB

Women's 10 km
1. Miku Moribayashi (Isahaya H.S.) - 32:54 - debut
2. Yuka Miyazaki (Kyudenko) - 32:56
3. Yuma Adachi (Kyocera) - 32:58 - PB
4. Yuko Matsumoto (Omuta H.S.) - 32:58 - debut
5. Eijia Miyagi (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 33:05 - PB

High School Boys' 10 km
1. Kosei Tanaka (Kobayashi H.S.) - 29:50 - PB
2. Takaki Iwamuro (Omuta H.S.) - 29:52
3. Taiju Ando (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 30:00 - PB

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

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…

Hattori Becomes Third-Straight Japanese Men's Sydney Marathon Winner

Following within 24 hours of Yuki Kawauchi's win at the BMW Oslo Marathon and Yuta Shitara's national record at the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon, Shota Hattori (Honda) made it an overseas hat trick for men from Japan's Saitama prefecture when he won the Sydney Marathon in 2:15:16. Having debuted at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon with a 2:14:19 for 2nd, Hattori outlasted Ethiopian Werkuneh Seyoum Aboye, Kenyan Sammy Kigen Korir (Kenya) and compatriot Ryoma Takeuchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) to become the third-straight Japanese men's Sydney champ, winning by a margin of 20 seconds over Aboye.

Congratulations to Shota Hattori, male winner of the Blackmores Marathon – with a time of 02:15:16. #SydneyRunningFestivalpic.twitter.com/R47w8TCG2X — SydneyRunFestival (@officialbsrf) September 17, 2017
No Japanese women made the podium in the marathon, but in the accompanying half marathon both the men's and women's races saw Japanese runners-up. In the men's …

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …