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The Kayoko Show: Fukushi One Step Closer to Rio - Osaka International Women's Marathon and Osaka Half Marathon Results

by Brett Larner

At last.

Eight years after Osaka knocked her to the ground, age 33, her last chance for the Olympics before her, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) finally threw aside the half-assed smirk, the waving, the smile, the shell of cool aloofness that has surrounded her in just about every race in memory, bearing down in a race that mattered, through halfway in 1:10:28 in a race where she had to run sub-2:22:30, wearing down the lead pack, alone after 30 km, no Eastern Europeans to steal the win and break her heart again, a gaunt, gritting, from the heart expression never before seen on her face as she came onto the track, gunning it when her coach lied to her and told her she was 5 seconds behind target, crossing the line in 2:22:17 and turning to check the clock before pumping her first in the air and shouting, "I DID IT!"  Longtime TV announcer and L.A. Olympian Akemi Masuda weeping on the air.  And crying too, Kayoko Fukushi, crying on the track.  Never seen before.  Never again.  Clearing the 2:22:30 JAAF Olympic qualifying standard with the win to all but seal her place in Rio, barring something even more spectacular in Nagoya the oldest-ever female Japanese Olympic marathoner in her fourth-straight Olympics, a 2-minute PB and the best Japanese women's time since 2007.

Carnage among those who tried to go with her.  2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) lying face down on the road past 30 km and taken away in an ambulance.  2015 Gold Coast Airport Marathon winner Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) dropping to  2:29:14 after going through halfway ahead of Fukushi in 1:10:27.  2012 London Olympian Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) and debuting Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) going over 2:30 after running up front through the first half.  A six-minute+ margin of victory for Fukushi, strong, majestic, confident, what all of Japan has hoped to see for a decade.

Fukushi's future Rio Olympic teammate Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) scored the win in the accompanying half marathon, beating 2015 Rotterdam Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) and marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) in 1:10:27, exactly tying Takenaka's first half split in the marathon.  Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) did the same with the win in the men's half in 1:04:13, but Fukushi picking up the mantle at long, long last was what the day will mean in Japan for many years to come.

Osaka International Women's Marathon
Osaka, 1/31/16
click here for complete results

1. Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) - 2:22:17 - PB - all-time Japanese #7
2. Misato Horie (Noritz) - 2:28:20
3. Risa Takenaka (Shiseido) - 2:29:14
4. Diana Lovacevske (Lithuania) - 2:30:09
5. Risa Shigetomo (Tenmaya) - 2:30:40
6. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 2:31:04 - debut
7. Aya Higashimoto (Juhachi Ginko) - 2:31:28
8. Hiroki Miyauchi (Hokuren) - 2:32:40
9. Hitomi Nakamura (Panasonic) - 2:33:23
10. Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:33:29
-----
DNF - Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Kyudenko)
DNF - Beatrice Jepkemboi Toroitich (Kenya)
DNF - Karolina Nadolska (Poland)

Osaka Half Marathon
Osaka, 1/31/16
click here for complete results

Men
1. Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 1:04:13
2. Kazuki Muramoto (Hyogo Kenritsu Univ.) - 1:04:13
3. Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:04:13
4. Shusei Ohashi (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:04:17
5. Hiroaki Sano (Honda)  - 1:04:18
6. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:04:22
7. Tadashi Suzuki (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:04:24
8. Shuji Takada (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:04:34
9. Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business) - 1:04:43
10. Daichi Nasu (Sumitomo Denko) - 1:04:53

Women
1. Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:10:27
2. Asami Kato (Panasonic) - 1:10:30
3. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 1:11:52
4. Madoka Nakano (Noritz) - 1:12:37
5. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz) - 1:13:02
6. Mizuki Noguchi (Sysmex) - 1:13:28
7. Megumi Hirai (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:13:33
8. Chisaki Takegami (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:13:46
9. Ami Utsunomiya (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:13:59
10. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:14:03

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Scott Brown said…
Watching her come into the stadium knowing her history half of us were on our feet cheering. Great to see her come back in such a way. Actually brought tears to my eyes.
Master Po said…
What a great performance by one of Japan's great runners. Very very happy for her. Also, great commentary, Brett -- thank you! (Good sportswriting is hard to find -- I regularly find it here.)
Anna Novick said…
I know it's early but Fukushi's race gets my nomination for JRN female performance of the year.
Brett Larner said…
Thanks. A great run, but hopefully she's got one more coming this summer to top this one.
Anonymous said…
Hello. Can you please post the complete half marathon results in English? Thank you.
Brett Larner said…
No, I'm afraid I don't have time to transliterate and post the names of several thousand people. Sorry.

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