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Hawkins and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Takeshita Over Muiru in Kanagawa

by Brett Larner

Having lost his 1:00:24 Scottish national record after the Great Scottish Run was announced earlier this week to have been almost 150 m short, Callum Hawkins was out to prove he had done it for real when he lined up at today's Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon.  Against a field including sub-60 man Kenneth Kipkemoi of Kenya and a group of Japanese athletes aiming for the 1:00:25 Japanese national record led by 5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) and 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), Hawkins went to the front from the gun and never relented.

After a relatively slow 14:20 opening 5 km, the next 5 km went by in 14:07 and shook the lead group down to ten including Hawkins, Kipkemoi, Kenyan Joel Mwaura of 2016 National High School Ekiden champion Kurashiki H.S., Osako and three other Japanese men.  The 28:27 split at 10 km was hot, on pace for 1:00:01 and new national records for both Scotland and Japan. Hawkins and Kenyan Abraham Kipyatich began to pull away on the return trip, 16 seconds ahead as the pair hit 15 km in 42:37 and a shot at sub-60 in the cards.

At 15 km Hawkins attacked, dropping Kipyatich to race the clock.  On 1:00:02 pace at 20 km in 56:55, he bore down in the home straight and saluted as he crossed the finish line in 1:00:00, just short of a sub-60 but a new national record that surpassed his annulled Great Scottish Run mark and more than demonstrated his true quality.  As British Olympian Aly Dixon tweeted post-race:

Behind Hawkins, Kazuki Tamura of 2017 Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University was the first Japanese man to fall off national record pace.  Yuta Shitara (Team Honda), in training for his marathon debut in Tokyo later this month, was next, leaving Osako and former Aoyama Gakuin uphill specialist Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta) to duke it out. Running with Mwaura and Ethiopian national record holder Atsedu Tsegay, Kamino dropped Osako in the final kilometers.  The pace had slowed outside range of national record range, leaving sub-61 as a goal.  Running down Kipyatich, Tsegay and Mwaura got there, Mwaura's 1:00:59 one of the fastest-ever junior marks.  Kamino took 5th in 1:01:04, a new PB that tied him for all-time Japanese #8.

Osako, Shitara and Tamura all ran new sub-62 PBs, Shitara's 1:01:19 making his Tokyo debut all the more tantalizing and Tamura's 1:01:56 redemption for his Hakone Ekiden breakdown.  Also due to debut in Tokyo, Takashi Ichida overtook Murayama to become the top finisher from 2017 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei at 11th in 1:02:23.

In the women's race, defending champion and Rio Olympics marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain went out hard, splitting 15:35 for the first 5 km and 31:37 at 10 km.  Well on track to take the 1:07:26 course record held by Japan's Kayoko Fukushi, on the return trip Kirwa began to fade.  At 15 km she was almost dead even with Fukushi's pace, and when she slowed further over the last 5 km it was gone.  Kirwa came into the stadium to win unchallenged in 1:08:07, one second slower than her winning time last year and just three seconds off the Bahraini national record.

Like Kirwa, American Amy Cragg spent the entire race without female competition, on track for 1:08:15 at 10 km and running almost evenly to finish 2nd in a PB of 1:08:27.  Her training partner Shalane Flanagan was a DNS for the second time.  Making her half marathon debut, Japan's Riko Matsuzaki was 3rd in 1:11:04, just outkicking last year's #1-ranked Japanese woman in the half marathon, Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren), after running the entire race together.

Marugame wasn't the only high-level half marathon of the day.  At Yokohama's Kanagawa Half Marathon, Toyo University third-year Kazuki Takeshita took 1st in a photo-finish with Kenyan Muthoni Muiru (Soka Univ.), both clocked at a course record 1:02:41.  The top seven all cleared the old 1:03:01 course record held by Aoyama Gakuin fourth-year Tadashi Isshiki, including Isshiki himself.  Having run a 2:28:10 marathon in training on Wednesday earlier this week in preparation for the Tokyo Marathon, Isshiki was 6th in 1:02:58.  His teammate Yuki Nakamura, debuting in Tokyo and having done the same Feb. 1 workout as Isshiki, took 11th in 1:03:10.  Even further to the north in Ibaraki, Futoshi Ebisawa (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) won the Moriya Half Marathon 1:04:39 by nearly a minute.  Chuo Gakuin athletes took four of the top five positions.

71st Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Marugame, Kagawa, 2/5/17
click here for complete results and splits

1. Callum Hawkins (Great Britain) - 1:00:00 - NR
2. Atsedu Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 1:00:58
3. Joel Mwaura (Kenya/Kurashiki H.S.) - 1:00:59 - PB
4. Abraham Kipyatich (Kenya) - 1:01:00
5. Daichi Kamino (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:01:04 - PB
6. Suguru Osako (Japan/Nike Oregon Project) - 1:01:13 - PB
7. Yuta Shitara (Japan/Honda) - 1:01:19 - PB
8. Kenneth Kipkemoi (Kenya) - 1:01:27
9. Kazuki Tamura (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:56 - PB
10. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:02:07 - debut
11. Takashi Ichida (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:02:23
12. Kazuto Kawabata (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:23 - debut
13. Yuki Oshikawa (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:24 - PB
14. Kei Katanishi (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:31
15. Kenya Sonota (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:32

1. Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:07
2. Amy Cragg (U.S.A.) - 1:08:27 - PB
3. Riko Matsuzaki (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:11:04 - debut
4. Miho Shimizu (Japan/Hokuren) - 1:11:07
5. Chikako Mori (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:11:40 - debut
6. Eri Hayakawa (Japan/Toto) - 1:11:43
7. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 1:12:30
8. Moeno Nakamura (Japan/Univ. Ent.) - 1:13:35
9. Ami Utsunomiya (Japan/Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:13:39 - PB
10. Miharu Shimokado (Japan/Shimamura) - 1:13:41
DNS - Shalane Flanagan (U.S.A.)

39th Kanagawa Half Marathon
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 2/5/17

1. Kazuki Takeshita (Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:41 - CR
2. Muiru Muthoni (Kenya/Soka Univ.) - 1:02:41
3. Homare Morita (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:46
4. Taisei Hashizume (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:56
5. Toshiya Sato (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:56
6. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:58
7. Shuichiro Kondo (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:59
8. Hiroki Koga (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:02
9. Aritaka Kajiwara (Atsugi T&F Assoc.) - 1:03:05
10. Shun Yuzawa (Tokai Univ.) - 1:03:07

33rd Moriya Half Marathon
Moriya, Ibaraki, 2/5/17

1. Futoshi Ebisawa (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:39
2. Keiya Arima (Chuo Gakuin Univ) - 1:05:27
3. Masanori Sumida (Nittai Univ.) - 1:05:34
4. Naoki Kamaya (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:37
5. Yasuyuki Sunaga (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:46

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


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