Skip to main content

Matsumoto and Abe Win Sendai International Half Marathon


In a race that came down to an uphill battle near 20 km, Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) emerged on top of a lead pack of five to win the men's race at the 28th Sendai International Half Marathon. Matsumoto outkicked Rio Olympics marathon team member Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) on the track to take the win in 1:03:05, the fastest winning time by a Japanese man in Sendai history. Sasaki returned from the injury that kept him out of March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marahton to finish 2nd in 1:03:10, holding off collegiate runners Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) and Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.).

Defending champion Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) suffered some sort of injury in the late going, shuffling down the home straight and almost walking across the finish line to take 5th in 1:03:39. Just behind him, 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) nicked 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) at the line after sitting on Kawauchi the entire race, both clocking 1:03:41 but Noguchi taking 6th. Kawauchi's friend and rival Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) was 24th in 1:05:15, the first time he has ever lost to Kawauchi over the half marathon distance.


Like the men's race the women's race came down to the final uphill to the track. Fresh off a win in the 10000 m at last month's Hyogo Relay Carnival, Yukari Abe (Shimamura) had the gears to get away from a lead group of five, her winning time of 1:12:16 the slowest since 2010. Shiori Morita (Panasonic), twin sister of 2018 Marugame Half runner-up Kaori Morita (Pansonic), was next in 1:12:23. 2018 Osaka Half winner Maki Ashi (Kyudenko) recovered from a DNF at the Boston Marathon to take 3rd in 1:12:32 just ahead of talented marathoner Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) and 10000 m collegiate national record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Daihatsu). Last year's winner Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) finished 11th.

28th Sendai International Half Marathon

Sendai, Miyagi, 5/13/18
click here for complete results

Men
1. Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) - 1:03:05
2. Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:10
3. Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:17
4. Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:23
5. Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) - 1:03:39
6. Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) - 1:03:41
7. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:41
8. Takumi Kiyotani (Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:03:43
9. Masao Kizu (DeNA) - 1:03:44
10. Natsuki Terada (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:03:46

Women
1. Yukari Abe (Shimamura) - 1:12:16
2. Shiori Morita (Panasonic) - 1:12:23
3. Maki Ashi (Kyudenko) - 1:12:32
4. Hanami Sekine (Japan Post) - 1:12:42
5. Hikari Yoshimoto (Daihatsu) - 1:12:48
6. Reia Iwade (Under Armor) - 1:13:11
7. Yuko Watanabe (Edion) - 1:13:52
8. Chiharu Suzuki (Hitachi) - 1:14:22
9. Hiroko Miyauchi (Hokuren) - 1:14:23
10. Reno Okura (Hokuren)- 1:14:31

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
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
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…