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Maina's half marathon win in Nagoya highlights busy week in Japan

marathons, an ekiden and a distance track meet, it was a busy week in Japanese athletics. Here are some key highlights:

Julius over Simon in the battle of the Mainas - Nagoya Half Marathon

Julius Maina took a narrow win over Simon Maina at the Nagoya Half-Marathon on Thursday (24), winning by just one second in 1:01:43. Simon Maina, who set the course record of 1:00:48 in 2000, led during the race’s early stages, reaching 10Km in 29:12. Only Japanese Takeshi Hamano and Kensuke Takahashi, along with Julius Maina, staying in contention from a distance. By 20Km, Julius Maina was two seconds behind, before unleashing his superior kick.

While the men’s contest was fiercely fought, Mie Ueda completely dominated the women's.  By the time she reached 5Km (16:45), she was already 18 seconds ahead of eventual runner-up Tomoe Yokoyama.  Ueda continued to extend her lead en route to her 1:11:39, well ahead of Yokoyama’s 1:12:16. The course record, 1:08:28, was set by reigning Olympic Marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi in 2001.

Comfortable victory for Hayakari in Kobe Women’s Half-Marathon
Minori Hayakari was the comfortable victor at the Kobe Women's Half-Marathon, clocking 1:12:27.

Five invited runners - Hayakari, Kei Terada, Rika Tabashi, Kayoko Obata and Junko Akagi - formed the lead pack early on, but Hayakari, the Asian record holder in the 3000m Steeplechase, began to pull away in the seventh kilometre, gradually building an insurmountable lead. Kei Terada was a distant second, 53 seconds back in 1:13:20.

"I didn't think I can win today,” Hayakari said. “All I was hoping for was to run a strong race."  Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi was a guest of honor but she did not compete. 


Led by Eri Sato’s 32:14 10Km leg, Meijyo University won the 23rd Women’s Collegiate Ekiden Championships in Sendai on Sunday (27). Meijyo, took top honors after finishing second, third and second over the last three years, covered the six-stage 39Km course in 2:08:54. Ritsumeikan University (2:09:35) was scond.

Takeshi Makabe’s 28:28.48 win in the 10,000m was the highlight of the Nihon Sports SciencesUniversity Distance Meeting on 26 November. Makebe, a teammate of Toshinari Takaoka, won by more than five seconds over Takamasa Uchida (28:33.96).

Ken Nakamura and Akihiro Onishi (Kobe) for the IAAF

Leading Results:

Nagoya Half Marathon
Men -
1. Julius Maina (KEN) 1:01:43
2. Simon Maina (KEN) 1:01:44
3. Kensuke Takahashi 1:01:54
4. Munehiro Sugaya 1:02:22
5. Takeshi Hamano 1:02:24
6. Kenjiro Jitsui 1:02:30

Women -
1. Mie Ueda  1:11:39
2. Tomoe Yokoyama  1:12:16
3. Kaoru Nishi 1:13:05   

Kobe Women's Half Marathon:
1. Minori Hayakari  1:12:27
2. Kei Terada  1:13:20
3. Rika Tabashi  1:13:32
4. Kayoko Obata  1:14:18
5. Junko Akagi  1:17:55