Sally Chepyego ran a very fast half marathon at the very end of 2013, in Sanyo, Japan. Her 68:24 was one of the fastest half marathons of the year. Nice to see American Dez Davila running better and better, with her seventh place and 70:51.
SANYO (JPN, Dec 23): The world's last elite half marathon of the year had Japan-based Kenyan Sally Chepyego clocking in a solo fast 1:08:24 course record. Facing impending retirement, 2013 London Marathon 3rd-placer Yukiko Akaba ran a race characteristically unmotivated to compete for the win, sitting far back in the pack until late in the race and then turning on her usual surge to move up through the field, ultimately taking 2nd a minute behind the highly motived Chepyego in 1:09:24. Felista Wanjugu of Kenya and Mai Ito ran up in the chase formation with Akaba early in the race before fading, Wanjugu taking 3rd in 1:09:36 in her half marathon debut and Ito dropping to 8th in 1:11:06. Reia Iwade rounded out the sub-70 contingent, 4th overall in a PB 1:09:45. US guest Desiree Davila was 7th (1:10:51). Informs Brett Larner on his blog. With Sanyo serving as a selection race for the Japanese World Half Marathon team for the first time, the top few Japanese women earned consideration for the team. Akaba has already declared her retirement following January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, meaning Iwade and 5th-placer Sayo Nomura, making her marathon debut in Osaka, may be on the Copenhagen starting line. In the 10 km division Kenyan Grace Kimanzi won with 32:24.