Newsarchiv Ndereba and Wainaina fare badly in Sapporo

Twenty-year old James Mwangi, a Kenyan who attended Aomori Yamada high school

in Japan and now runs for Japanese corporate team, NTN, won the men’s

race, while women’s marathon runner Hiromi Ominami topped the

women’s division in today’s Sapporo Half Marathon.

Olympic bound runners – women’s World Marathon champion

Catherine Ndereba (KEN) and double men’s Olympic Marathon medallist Eric

Wainaina (KEN), and Shigeru Aburaya (JPN) did not fare well.

Mens race

Jackson Gachiuri, another Kenyan who lives in Japan and runs for a Japanese

corporate team, did most of the initial pace work. The first big casualty was

two-time Olympic medallist Eric Wainaina, who fell behind one kilometre after

the huge leading pack passed 5Km in 14:29. In fact twenty-eight runners were

still together at 10Km (29:13)!

At 14Km, another Olympic bound runner Shigeru Aburaya (Japan) fell behind

the lead pack.

13 runners were still up-front as the race passed 15Km (43:46), and then the

lead pack really started to break up and by 15.5Km, only four Africans –

James Mwangi, G Assefa, T Girma and Julius Maina – were left in


Then at the start of the uphill leading to the stadium, at 19.3Km, Mwangi,

who was waiting for his moment surged away. Nobody could keep up with Mwangi

who won by 6 seconds in 1:01:28. The time was 17 seconds short of the course

record. Mwangi said, “It was good condition to run,” also thanked

his coach after the race.

Wainaina finished a disappointing 35th in 1:04:09.

Women’s race - Ndereba in trouble

In the women’s race, Asian Games’ marathon bronze medalist

Hiromi Ominami led all the way to win easily in 1:08:45.