As I have decided to watch the race on TV, I may as well write about how the top-runners are doing. In the early stages, a group of eight runners with Haile Gebresselassi and Japanese runner Masakazu Fujiwara followed the 2:58/k pacemakers, which actually slowed down to 3:02 soon. They reached 10k in 29:54, about the same time the last runners crossed the start line!
The group reached 20k in 59:34, loosing Fujiwara in the process, and made the half in 1:02:51. The double-Haile (Gebreselassie and Mekonnen) Ethiopian team led the pack to 25k, keeping an average 3min./kilometer.
Among Japanese, at this point, the other Fujiwara, Arata, took the lead from his namesake Masakazu.
The two Hailes got to 30k in 1:29:06, with Japanese hopeful Arata Fujiwara about a minute behind. 35k in 1:44:40 seemed like business as usual for the Ethiopians, but then things fell apart! Both slowed down, Mekonnen first, but then also Gebrselassie, with Kenyan Michael Kipyego taking the lead at about 38k and winning in 2:07:37, just eleven seconds ahead of Fujiwara, who was followed by Ugandan Kiprotich and Haile Gebrsellassie. Another second place for Fujiwara, who is almost assured of the selection for the Japanese national team for the London Olympics, as no Japanese man has run under 2:08 for about five years.
In the women's race, Second Wind's Yuri Okubo was passed by two Ethiopians just before the 40k mark to finish fourth in a gutsy effort, running a PB of 1:26:05. Ethiopian Atsede Habutamu won in 1:25:23.
Congrats to the winners, and all the finishers and to-be-finishers who are still on the course. Hope to hear how all of our friends did at tonight's Namban Rengo after-race party!