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Ito and Mutgaa Win Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

Sunny and unseasonably warm conditions meant slower than usual times at the Nagano Marathon's 19th running.  Racheal Jemutai Mutgaa took the women's race out in 17:55 for the first 5 km,  on track for a low 2:31, with early company from fellow Kenyan Mirriam Wangari and Ethiopian Fantu Eticha. By 10 km Mutgaa was on her own, sailing on unchallenged to win in 2:33:00. Wangari and Eticha stayed together until near 30 km when Eticha launched a surge that put her into 2nd.  Wangari responded and in turn opened on Eticha before 35 km, but by 40 km it had turned around one more time.  Eticha took 2nd in 2:37:10, Wangari 3rd over a minute behind in 2:38:29.  Aki Otagiri (Team Tenmaya) was the top Japanese woman at 4th in 2:41:26.

The men's pack went out comparatively slower, the large lead group running just sub-2:17 pace for the first 5 km before a breakaway surge from Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) and Junichi Shioya (Takigahara SDF Base) got things moving.  Hamasaki and Shioya opened their lead to more than 30 seconds by 20 km, but at halfway Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN) spearheaded a move to catch back up to them.  By 25 km he had overtaken both, while the rest of the chase group remained 15 seconds behind.  At 30 km Bat-Ochir had a 32-second lead over the chase pack led by serial marathoner Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and the debuting Kazuki Onishi (Team Kanebo).  Ito began to close, and just before 40 km he overtook Bat-Ochir for the lead and the win in 2:14:39, just the second Japanese man in Nagano history to take the top spot.  Bat-Ochir faded to 2nd in 2:15:12, with the Koichi Morishita-coached Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) 3rd in 2:15:27.

19th Nagano Marathon
Nagano, 4/16/17
click here for complete results

Women
1. Racheal Jemutai Mutgaa (Kenya) - 2:33:00
2. Fantu Eticha (Ethiopia) - 2:37:10
3. Mirriam Wangari (Kenya) - 2:38:29
4. Aki Otagiri (Japan/Tenmaya) - 2:41:26
5. Mayumi Uchiyama (Japan/Nitori) - 2:44:58

Men
1. Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:14:39
2. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:15:12
3. Yuki Oshikawa (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 2:15:27
4. Kazuki Onishi (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:15:39 - debut
5. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Japan/Nanjo City Hall) - 2:15:49

© 2017 Brett Larner
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