Skip to main content

With Hokkaido Marathon Wins Murasawa and Maeda Become First to Qualify for 2020 Olympic Trials Race

Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin) and Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) became the first athletes to qualify for the new MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials event, clearing the JAAF's hoops with PB runs in heat to win the 2017 Hokkaido Marathon.

One of the most popular runners to come out of the current boom in university men's ekiden running, Murasawa had an unsuccessful marathon debut at Lake Biwa in March, up front until late but fading to 28th in 2:17:51. This time he stayed in the front pack through the slow opening going, ignoring a move by Shingo Igarahi (Josai Univ. Coaching Staff) and Kenichi Jiromaru (Raffine Coaching Staff) around the halfway point that put them over 30 seconds ahead.

Part of a group of five who set off in pursuit at 30 km, Murasawa moved into the top spot just before 40 km and held it all the way to the finish to win in 2:14:48. As the first race at which Japanese men could qualify for the JAAF's new single-trial 2020 Olympic selection event Hokkaido's winner had to go sub-2:15:00 to earn his place, and with Murasawa clearing that standard his place in the winter 2019-20 MGC trials race is assured.


The women's race saw a pack of four head out together just under 2:28:00 pace, well clear of the 2:32:00 time standard for the winner to make the MGC Race qualifying cut. Just past 25 km Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) make a break for it, opening a lead of over 20 seconds by 30 km, but it was a little too  much too soon. Maeda, like Murasawa running her second marathon after a so-so debut earlier this year, quickly reeled her in and took over, opening a 20-second-plus lead of her own by 35 km and never looking back.

With a 2:28:48 PB for the win, a rare sub-2:30 clocking in Hokkaido, Maeda easily cleared the MGC Race qualifying standard, joining Murasawa as the first to enter the ranks of what is expected to be a small field of 10~20 men and women each in the official trials race for what is bound to be one of the toughest and highest pressure teams to make at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


31st Hokkaido Marathon

Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/27/17

Women
1. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) - 2:28:48 - PB
2. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 2:30:11
3. Hanae Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 2:32:16
4. Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 2:34:04
5. Kaho Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 2:34:45 - debut
6. Yurie Doi (Fujitsu) - 2:36:28 - PB
7. Mami Onuki (Sysmex) - 2:37:15 - debut
8. Chika Ihara (Higo Ginko) - 2:38:47 - debut
9. Mai Nagaoka (Sysmex) - 2:41:15 - PB
10. Sakie Arai (Higo Ginko) - 2:42:31
-----
DNF - Miharu Shimokado (Nitori)

Men
1. Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:14:48 - PB
2. Taiki Yoshimura (Asahi Kasei) - 2:15:04
3. Jo Fukuda (Nishitetsu) - 2:15:11 - PB
4. Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) - 2:15:21
5. Shingo Igarashi (Josai Univ Coaching Staff) - 2:15:41
6. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) - 2:16:18
7. Masanori Sakai (Kyudenko) - 2:16:26
8. Kenta Kitazawa (Yachiyo Kogyo) - 2:16:52 - PB
9. Kansuke Morihashi (Raffine) - 2:17:35
10.  Masaharu Amano (NTN) - 2:17:48 - debut

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…