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Njenga and Shimahara win Hokkaido Marathon

 

By Ken Nakamura

By running away from their competitions soon after 10Km into the race, Daniel Njenga and Kiyoko Shimahara won the men and women’s division of 2009 Hokkaido Marathon, respectively.  “I am very happy to win the race.  After 20Km, my right leg was hurting, so I was wondering if I will be able to continue the race or not.  So I am very happy that I was able to pull off the victory,” said Daniel Njenga, Kenyan living in Japan and runs for corporate sponsored team Yakult.  Former world junior record holder at 3000mSC, has the marathon best of 2:06:16 recorded in the 2002 Chicago Marathon. Shimahara, the winner of the women’s race said, “I am relieved because I was able to win the marathon (because she announced earlier that she hope to win the race).  I was planning to run with a good pace from the start, which I was able to do, so if someone comes from behind, I say so be it. However, I was in good shape, so I wanted to have good results.”  During the race she was talking with her coach, who ran along the course for a few hundred meters on the side walk. “Yes, I had some problems during the race, so I asked for his advice,” explained Shimahara after the race.  Shimahara, 2006 Asian Games’ silver medalist at the marathon, was sixth at the 2007 World Championships.    

 

How the race unfolded:

 

More than 8000 runners started the Hokkaido marathon at 12:10PM on Sunday August 30 in Sapporo, city of 1.9 million in the northern island of Hokkaido.  Hokkaido marathon is one of the few races in Japan, in which both elites and non elites, men and women all run together in a single race. 

 

 Men’s race:

 

Laban Kagika broke away from the lead pack after 7Km, but 1.5Km later he was absorbed by the chase pack.  Nearing 10Km, Masaru Takamizawa, defending champion started to lead the race.  However, after 10Km checkpoint, Daniel Njenga moved into front and started to push the pace. He covered 10 to 11Km in 2:52 and 11 to 12Km in 2:54, thus stretching the lead pack. He continued to run each Km under 3 minutes and after 13.5Km into the race, Njenga completely broke away from his competitions. Njenga passed 15Km in 45:42.   By 20Km, Njenga led the chase pack of three (Tagami, Kobayashi, Kagika) by 31 seconds.  Although by 25Km, the gap had decreased to 27 seconds, it held steady during the crucial stage of the race.  At 30Km, Laban Kagika was 28 seconds behind Njenga, who has started to grimace a lot.  However, the gap between them stayed pretty much the same.  Before 40Km, marathon debutante Ryo Yamamoto, moved up along side of Kagika, but the gap to Njenga was still 37 seconds.  Although, the gap between Njenga and the chase pack started to close rapidly in the closing Km, Njenga held on and won with 2:12:03, while Yamamoto was seven seconds back in second place, followed by Kagika with another 14 seconds. 

 

Women’s Race:

Kiyoko Shimahara led almost from the start, followed by Akemi Ozaki, an older sister of the World Championships silver medalist, Yoshimi Ozaki.  Kaori Yoshida was running third.  Shimahara passed 5Km in 16:54, and 10Km in 33:28 and soon, starting around 12Km, she broken away from Akemi Ozaki.  By 20Km, Shimahara was 43 seconds ahead of Ozaki.  Although she started to slow down in the final miles of the race, her position in the front was never threatened and Shimahara won with the record time 2:25:10.  The previous record was 2:25:46 by Masako Chiba in 2005. 

 

Weather:

Cloudy; Temperature: 21.2C, Humidity: 65%, wind East 0.5m/s

 

Results:

  Men

      1)  Daniel Njenga (KEN)  2:12:03

      2)  Ryo  Yamamoto  2:12:10

      3)  Laban Kagika  (KEN)  2:12:24

      4)  Masaru Takamizawa  2:13:05

      5)  Seiji Kobayashi  2:13:27 

      6)  Chiharu Takada   2:14:34

      7)  Shingo  Sato  2:14:35   

      8)  Isamu Sueyoshi  2:14:37

      9)  Yoshiyuki Suetsugu   2:14:51 

    10)  Yuichi Washio  2:15:32 

    11)  Yuzo Onishi  2:15:34 

    12)  Norio Kamijyo  2:15:53 

    13)  Toyoshi  Ishige  2:16:01 

    14)  Tomoya Simizu  2:16:34

    15)   Yoshichika Yamada  2:16:47 

    16)   Toshinari Suwa  2:17:04 

     

Women

1)     Kiyoko Shimahara  2:25:10

2)     Akemi Ozaki   2:27:23   

3)     Satoko Uetani  2:33:55

4)     Nami Tani  2:33:59

5)    Misuzu Okamoto  2:34:12

6)    Chinami Fukaminato  2:34:16 

7)    Mizuho Nasukawa   2:34:17

8)    Chihiro Tanaka  2:35:15 

9)    Nozomi Iijima  2:36:46 

10) Aki Fujikawa  2:37:25 

11) Kaori Yoshida  2:37:33

12) Burezafu Takele (sp?) (ETH)  2:40:28

13)  Naoko Sakamoto  2:40:43 

 

 



 


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