Jose Rios of Spain won the 59th annual Lake Biwa Marathon in Otsu on Sunday (7
March). In only his second marathon (he did not finish in Rotterdam last year),
Rios the European 10,000m bronze medallist, recorded a debut finish time of
The race was also a qualifying race for the Japanese Olympic Marathon team.
Finishing second as the first Japanese was Tadayuki Ojima, who could only
finish 7th in Fukuoka Marathon last December. Thus he kept his Olympic hope
alive. Ojima improved his personal best which stood at 2:08:48, recorded in the
2003 Fukuoka Marathon, by 30 seconds.
The race started at 12:30 PM from Ojiyama stadium in Otsu under quite a bad
condition. It was snowing and the wind was also quite strong. Fortunately for
the runners, the bad weather lasted only for 15 minutes after the start. The
huge pack of around 70 runners led by three pace setters - Kiprono, Chipu and
Jesus - passed 5Km in 15:10. Soon after one of the pace makers, Kiprono, fell
behind, leaving only Abner Chipu and Luis Jesus with the pacing duty. As the
weather turned for the better the pace increased and as expected the pack
started to dwindle in number, reducing to 37 runners.
By 10Km but Pavel Loskutov, the European marathon medallist had been
dropped, but 32 other runners together in the front, the only other major
casualty during 10Km (29:55) to 20Km (1:00:20) was Silvio Guerra. In the next
10km, the pack shrunk again with the major casualties were Japhet Kosgei (KEN)
at 23Km, Alene Emere (ETH) at 25Km, Yoshiteru Morishita at 26Km and Alberto
Juzdado (ESP) at 27Km.
After 30Km (1:30:42), Chipu, left the race and the real racing started.
First, Shin-ichi Watanabe picked up the pace to strung out the field. Then at
33Km, Yuko Matsumiya, a twin brother of Takayuki Matsumiya, 30Km world record