Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle was victorious today Sunday (7) at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon in Japan, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, by clocking a Personal Best (PB) 1:00:49.
“It was nice to see lots of fans and supporter along the course,” said Kifle after recording the second-fastest time of his career.
The men’s race started relatively slow with the first 5km covered in about 14:27. The pace then gradually picked up and the 10km mark was reached in 28:50. At that point the lead pack contained 11 runners, including Kifle, Kenya’s Dominic Nyairo, Tanzania’s Fabiano Sulle and Japan’s Keijiro Mogi.
The pace continued to pick up and 15km was passed in about 43:05. By this point the lead pack had been reduced to four runners: Kifle, Sulle, Nyairo and Mogi.
Sulle was the first to crack, but while Kifle and Nyairo dueled and Mogi fought to hang on the pace slowed slightly and the national record was out of range. Consequently, Sulle fell behind over the course of the next few kilometres, and at 20km Kifle led Mogi and Nyairo by four seconds.
In the last battle, Mogi and Nyairo tried valiantly to close the gap on Kifle. However, the Eritrean held on for the win in a PB 1:00:49, one second ahead of Nyairo.
Technically speaking, 18-year-old Nyairo was making his half-marathon debut, but the Japan-based Kenyan ran the 23.1km stage at last month’s Hakone Ekiden, passing eight runners en route to clocking 1:07:20 (1:01:30 half marathon pace).
Two runners who are aiming to qualify for the Japanese Olympic marathon team at the upcoming Tokyo Marathon ran the Marugame Half Marathon as a tune-up race. Tsuyoshi Ugachi was 23rd in 1:02:41, while Arata Fujiwara was 36th in 1:02:57.
RESULTS (Men): Marugame, Kagawa, 7-Feb-16
1. Goitom Kifle (Eritrea) – 1:00:49 – PB
2. Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) – 1:00:50 – debut
3. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) – 1:00:54 – PB
4. Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) – 1:01:19 – PB
5. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) – 1:01:21 – PB
6. Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) – 1:01:25 – PB
7. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) – 1:01:32 – PB
8. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) – 1:01:51
9. Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) – 1:01:54
10. Kaoru Hirosue (Toyota Kyushu) – 1:01:58 – PB