Japan swept the podium in both solo and team competitions at the 2023 IAU 100km Asia and Oceania Championships.
The championships were held in Bangalore, India on Sunday, July 30.
All three men on the podium finished under seven hours, while all three women on the podium finished sub-8.
In the men’s race, Toru Somiya of Japan won by finishing in six hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds, ahead of teammates Haruki Okayama who finished in second place in the time of 6:50:42 and Hideaki Yamauchi for third in 6:55:51. For Indian spectators Indian Vipul Kumar finished fourth.
In the team championship, the men’s category was won by Japan with a total time of 20:26:11. India placed second with an aggregate of 22:21:13 and Chinese Taipei, who took third clocked in at 29:25:54.
Toeing the line, expectations were high for former world record holder Nao Kazami of Japan. However, on race day, Kazami completed the first 11 laps of the five-kilometre course in the time of 3:25:28 compared to 3:29:05 for Somiya. The two completed 13 laps in 4:05:05 and 4:08:27 respectively. So, as it goes with ultra-running, somewhere deep into the race, Kazami began to fade. Somiya finished his 18th lap in 5:53:52, and Somiya emerged victorious. Kazami finished in 7:22:10. It was a crushing victory.
Expectations were higher for India, but, Jyoti Gawate, who holds the Indian record for women in 100K was forced to retire early due to severe cramps. Somewhere between her 14th and 15th laps she failed to show and it was there that she had to pull out.
In the women’s race, Japan was powerful accomplishing a total finish time of all three on the podium of 23:04:06. The second and third positions went to Australia who clocked a 27:48:03 aggregate, followed by Chinese Taipei in 32:25:07, respectively.
On Sunday, for the home crowd, the fastest Indian woman to 100K was Shashi Mehta with an 8:52:38 finish time. She was followed in by Gunjan Khurana in 10:24:50. The race was held on a 5K loop with a total 20 laps of the circuit. The Indian women couldn’t deliver three finishers, to be considered for the team championship.
1 TORU SOMIYA (JPN) 6:39:38
2 HARUKI OKAYAMA (JPN) 6:50:42
3 HIDEAKI YAMAUCHI (JPN) 6:55:51
1 MIHO NAKATA (JPN) 7:27:44
2 MAI FUJISAWA (JPN) 7:41:49
3 MIKIKO OTA (JPN) 7:54:33
1. Japan 20:26:11
2. India 22:21:13
3. Chinese Taipei 29:25:54
1. Japan 23:04:06
2. Australia 27:48:03
3. Chinese Taipei 32:25:07