[Arrs] All JPN Corporate team Half Marathon Championships

KKenNakamura2 at cs.com KKenNakamura2 at cs.com
Sun Mar 16 13:06:07 PDT 2008

Yukiko Akaba wins All JPN Corporate team Half Marathon Championships in 
record time 

Yukiko Akaba won the 2008 All JPN Corporate team Half Marathon Championships 
on Sunday with 1:08:11, thus breaking the course record time, 1:08:29, 
established by the defending Olympic Marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi in 2003. 
Actually Noguchi was invited to run this half marathon race in Yamaguchi. However, 
she had to curtail her training due to skin rash recently, thus forcing her to 
change her race plan. With Noguchi out, the race was expected to be fought 
between two Hokuren track team teammates, Philes Ongori and Yukiko Akaba. Ongori 
won the 2008 Marugame Half Marathon with the personal best of 1:07:57 on 
February 3, while Akaba recorded 10000m best of 31:23.27 last December.  

The actual race turned into one-woman show very early in its stage. After the 
first Km was covered in 3:12, by 1.5Km into the race the lead pack was 
reduced to six runners - Yukiko Akaba, Philes Ongori, Yoko Shibui, Birha Kamau, 
Flomena Cheyech and Mika Okunaga.  Okunaga fell behind before 3Km, leaving five 
runners in front. The lead pack was stretched out by 3.5Km and nearing the end 
of 4th Km, which was covered in 3:14, Akaba picked up the pace and broke away 
from the lead pack. She continued to push the pace covering the uphill 4-5Km in 
3:11.  The course gains 30m of elevation from 3Km to 5Km. "I did not think I 
increased the pace," said Akaba. By 5Km (16:06) Akaba was five seconds ahead 
of the second place Ongori.  The race broke open in the next 5Km where Akaba 
covered in 15:45.  "I felt good during the warm-up, so I thought it will be good 
if I can run around 16 minutes for each 5Km," said Akaba. At 10Km (31:58) 
Akaba was 20 seconds ahead of the second place runner, Flomena Cheyech, who 
passed Ongori around 9Km. Cheyech covered the first 10Km in 32:18, faster than her 
10000m personal best, 32:47.98. Akaba continued to push the pace and moved 
farther and farther ahead of her competitions. She was 40 seconds ahead of second 
place by 15Km, which was extended to 50 seconds 5Km later. Akaba finished in 
1:08:11, thus breaking her half marathon best (1:11:23 in 2001 Sendai Half 
Marathon) by more than three minutes. It was her first half marathon in more than 
three years. "My goal was to crack 1:08 for the half marathon. I was on the 
good pace for much of the race, so I am bit disappointed with my time," said 
Akaba after the race. Akaba won a silver medal at the half marathon in the 1999 
World University Games.  She won a bronze at 5000m two years later.  She will 
be trying to make the Olympic 10000m team later in the year. "Good half 
marathon gives me a confidence for the half the distance," concluded Akaba. 
A half marathon debutante Flomena Cheyech of Kenya and UniQlo track team 
finished second with 1:09:06. Although the defending champion Philes Ongori of 
Kenya finished the race with 1:09:43, faster than her winning time in last year's 
race, 1:09:50, she was only third. Yoko Shibui, national 10000m record 
holder, finished fourth in 1:10:27. "This is auspicious sign for the upcoming track 
season," said Shibui after the race.     
Although Tomohiko Sumi took off at the start and covered the first Km in 
2:45, the huge pack soon caught up with him.  Unlike women's counterpart, in the 
men's race, a huge pack passed 5Km in 14:45. Although the pace was not quick, 
the lead pack dwindled quickly. Only 15 runners was found in the lead pack by 
10Km (29:26). Nearing 15Km, the lead pack was reduced to six runners - Bekele 
Gebretsadik, Yukihiro Kitaoka, Tetsuo Nishimura, Ryosuke Fukuyama, Steven 
Njenga and Ryuji Ono. Ono dropped out just before 15Km (44:05), which left five 
runners in front. Soon after 15Km checkpoint Bekele Gebretsakik, an Ethiopian who 
runs for Honda track team, broke away from the pack. By 15.2Km he was running 
alone. By 20Km, Gebretsadik was 43 seconds ahead of second place Nishimura 
and Njenga. He won in 1:01:40, fourteen seconds short of his personal best 
established in 2006. Finishing second 48 seconds behind was Steven Njenga of Kenya 
and Mazda track team. Tetsuo Nishimura, who was 54th in the 2007 World Road 
Running Championships, was the first Japanese with 1:02:35. "Last year I ran 
poorly in the World Road Running Championships, so I need to redeem myself in 
October," said Nishimura after the race. Because the top finishers from this half 
marathon are considered for the World Road Running championships, Nishimura, 
along with Yukihiro Kitaoka who finished five seconds behind were pre-selected 
for the team. Thus Nishimura has chance to redeem himself in the 2008 World 
Road Running championships.  

Weather: Sunny; temperature: 8C, humidity 59%; wind 0.5m/s East North East
1)   Bekele Gebretsadik (ETH)  1:01:40 
2)   Steven Njenga (KEN)  1:02:28 
3)   Tetsuo Nishikawa  1:02:35 
4)   Yukihiro Kitaoka  1:02:40
5)   Michinori Takano  1:02:48 
6)   Ryosuke Fukuyama  1:02:49 
7)   Kazuyuki Maeda  1:02:50 
8)   Takaaki Koda  1:02:52
9)   Koichi Mitsuyuki 1:02:55
10)  Makoto Harada 1:02:57 
11)  Suehiro Ishikawa  1:03:12 
12)  Masaki Shimojyu  1:03:20 
13)  Shoji Tsukamoto 1:03:21 
14)  Naoki Okamoto  1:03:21 
15)  Naoto Yoneda 1:03:21 

5Km 14:45       Shijiro Nakayama 
10Km    29:26 (14:41)   Makoto Harada
    29:26       Bekele Gebretsadik 
15Km    44:05 (14:39)   Bekele Gebretsadik 
    44:06       Yukihiro Kitaoka 
    44:06       Tetsuo Nishimura 
    44:06       Ryosuke Fukuyama
    44:06       Steven Njenga 
    44:13       Koichi Mitsuyuki
    44:25       Michinori Takano
    44:25       Makoto Harada
    44:29       Kazuyuki Maeda
20Km    58:30 (14:25)   Bekele Gebretsadik 
    59:13       Tetsuo Nishikawa 
    59:13       Steven Njenga 
    59:22       Yukihiro Kitaoka
    59:36       Makito Harada
    59:36       Koichi Mitsuyuki
    59:36       Michinori Takano
    59:37       Kazuyuki Maeda
    59:37       Ryosuke Fukuyama
    59:38       Takaaki Koda 
    1:00:03     Suehiro Ishikawa
Finishi 1:01:40 (3:10)  Bekele Gebretsadik 

1)   Yukiko Akaba  1:08:11   New course record
2)   Flomena Cheyech (KEN) 1:09:06 
3)   Philes Ongori (KEN)    1:09:43
4)   Yoko Shibui  1:10:27 
5)   Ayumi Fujita  1:11:38 
6)   Mai Ito  1:11:48 
7)   Kei Terada  1:12:11
8)   Yuko Shoi  1:12:22 
9)   Megumi Seike  1:12:25 
10)  Birha Kamau  1:12:26 
11)  Saori Nejyo  1:12:35 
12)  Yoko Nishimi  1:12:40 
13)  Mika Okunaga  1:12:49 
14)  Sayaka Morikawa  1:13:17 
15)  Miho Notagashira 1:13:26 
16)  Hiroko Miyauchi 1:13:32

5Km 16:06       Yukiko Akaba 
    16:11       Philes Ongori 
    16:13       Flomena Cheyech 
    16:20       Yoko Shibui
    16:29       Birha Kamau 
    16:48       Mika Okunaga
    16:49       Yukari Sahaku 
    16:49       Megumi Seike
    16:49       Mariko Nakao
    16:49       Miho Notagashira
    16:49       Mai Ito
    16:49       Mayumi Fujita
10Km    31:58 (15:45)   Yukiko Akaba 
    32:18 (16:05)   Flomena Cheyech 
    32:19 (16:08)   Philes Ongori 
    32:50       Yoko Shibui
    33:41       Mai Ito
    33:41       Birha Kamau 
    33:41       Mayumi Fujita
    33:42       Kei Terada
15Km    48:05 (16:07)   Yukiko Akaba 
    48:45 (16:27)   Flomena Cheyech 
    48:48 (16:29)   Philes Ongori 
    49:31       Yoko Shibui
    50:38       Mayumi Fujita
    50:38       Mai Ito
    50:54       Birha Kamau
    50:57       Kei Terada
20Km    1:04:42 (16:37) Yukiko Akaba 
    1:05:32 (16:47) Flomena Cheyech 
    1:05:59 (17:11) Philes Ongori 
    1:06:45     Yoko Shibui
    1:07:59     Mayumi Fujita
    1:07:59     Mai Ito
    1:08:30     Kei Terada
    1:08:30     Birha Kamau
Finish  1:08:11 (3:29)  Yukiko Akaba 
    1:09:06 (3:34)  Flomena Cheyech 
    1:09:43 (3:44)  Philes Ongori
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