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(IAAF) Report of Japan Fukuoka Marathon

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 03 December 2018

Japanese man wins Fukuoka Marathon for the first time in 14 years

Hattori's win brings immense national pride at the storied race

Yuma Hattori ends Japanese drought in Fukuoka

FUKUOKA – Yuma Hattori became the first Japanese runner in 14 years to win the Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday.The 25-year-old held off Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay and Eritrea’s Amanuel Mesel to cross the finish line at Heiwadai Athletic Stadium for his first victory.

Japan’s Yuma Hattori has won today’s Fukuoka Marathon in the first victory for Japan since Tsuyoshi Ogata won in 2004. Hattori’s time was 2:07:27, a new personal best by more than two minutes. 

With six kilometres left, Hattori was able to open up a lead over Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia and Amanuel Meselof Eritrea, who finished second and third, with times of 2:08:54 and 2:09:45, respectively. 

Hattori, who had only the seventh-fastest PB among the Japanese men entered, told the IAAF he had increased his training load by 300K per month for this race. He also ran a 40K long run seven times during his build-up, and an ultra-long run of 46K.

Tsegaye reported not feeling well, with a stomach ache and a headache in the later stages of the race, but according to Japan Running News is only the third man to break 2:10 fifteen times in his career.

Yuta Shitarawho holds the Japanese national record, finished fourth, with a time of 2:10:25.

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi was not able to sustain the relatively fast pace past 11K, though he made up a lot of time after the 25K mark, finishing 10th, with a time of 2:12:03–his 50th sub-2:14 clocking. 

British runner Callum Hawkins was forced to withdraw recently due to injury.

It was here at Fukuoka that Jerome Drayton set the Canadian record of 2:10:09 back in 1975 that stood until last month, when Cam Levins finally broke it with his 2:09:25 finish at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon


Breaking away from Yemane Tsegay and Amanuel Mesel at 36 kilometres, Yuma Hattori cruised to the Fukuoka Marathon title in 2:07:27 to become the first Japanese runner to win this IAAF Gold Label road race since Tsuyoshi Ogata’s victory in 2004.

“It is close to the time I had hoped for,” said Hattori, whose performance elevated him to eighth on the Japanese all-time list.

Tsegay finished second in 2:08:54 and Mesel third with 2:09:45.

The race progressed on an even pace with 15:00 five-kilometre segments through 25 kilometres. For a brief period after 10km, both 2015 world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Amanuel Mesel moved ahead of the pacemakers as if to urge them to pick up the tempo.

The first casualty of the relatively fast even pace, considering the unseasonably warm weather was Vincent Kipruto, former World Championships silver medallist who fell behind before 5km. Yuki Kawauchi began to drift back after 11km and Kentaro Nakamoto after 15km and Ghebreslassie at 17. Both Kipruto and Ghebrselassie dropped out before reaching the midway point.

Bedan Karoki finished his pacing duties at 25km; the two remaining pacesetters forged on but the tempo slowed to 15:36 over the next five kilometres, by far the slowest of the day.

The leading pack of nine was reduced to three by 35 kilometres, with Hattori, Mesel and Tsegay reaching the mark in 1:46:12. But at the water station one kilometre later, Hattori broke away.

“I did not feel like I made a move,” Hattori said. “It was more like my competitions dropped off, so I decided to go.”

Hattori was impressive in the final six kilometres, covering them in 2:59, 3:00, 2:54, 2:53, 2:56, 2:57 and 2:54.

“Finally, I was able to run the race my training load had suggested,” the winner said. “I increased my training volume by approximately 300km a month. I also increased the frequency of my 40km long run from two to three times in a three month span leading up to the marathon to seven times in a three month time span. I even did 46k super long run.”

Tsegay, who was left behind at 35km, said, “If I had followed Hattori at 35km, I might not be able to finish in top three. I had some problems, a stomach ache and headache after 25km. After 31km, I tried to push the pace, but my problems remained so it was not decisive.”

Former national record holder Yuta Shitara was fourth with 2:10:25. “It was a tough race,” he said. “It was really hard after 30km. My leg just did not move. I just wanted to get it over with.”

Hayato Sonoda, who was fourth in the Asian Games marathon in August, was fifth with 2:10:31.

Besides Hattori, Hiroki Yamagishi and Jo Fukuda, who finished sixth and seventh in 2:10:42 and 2:10:54, respectively, qualified for the Japanese Olympic Trials marathon set for next September. They were fourth and fifth Japanese in the race and both ran under 2:11, thus meeting the qualification criteria.

Yuki Kawauchi, who was running in 30th position at 25km, came back strongly in the second half to finish 10th in 2:12:03.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF

Leading results -
1. Yuma Hattori, JPN, 2:07:27
2. Yemane Tsegaye, ETH, 2:08:54
3. Amanuel Mesel, ERI, 2:09:45
4. Yuta Shitara, JPN, 2:10:25
5. Hayato Sonoda, JPN, 2:10:31
6. Hiroki Yamagishi, JPN, 2:10:42
7. Jo Fukuda, JPN, 2:10:54
8. Satoru Sasaki, JPN, 2:11:40
9. Ryo Hashimoto, JPN, 2:11:40
10. Yuki Kawauchi, JPN, 2:12:03
Leader’s splits:
5km - 15:04
10Km - 30:08 (15:04)
15km - 45:12 (15:04)
20km - 60:16 (15:04)
Half - 63:37
25km - 1:15:19 (15:03)
30km - 1:30:54 (15:35)
35km - 1:46:12 (15:18)
40km - 2:00:52 (14:40)
Finish - 2:07:27 (6:35)
Weather: Sunny, temperature 20.1C, humidity 46%, wind 2.3m/s east/southeast at noon

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