Behind Legese and Karoki, it was pretty much absolute carnage. The three Japanese men who dared try to run with Legese for the first half all blew up spectacularly. Japanese national record holder Suguro Osako of the Nike Oregon Project dropping out before 30k, whereas 2:08:16 marathoner Shogo Nakamura ended up running 2:14:52 by going 62:04 - 72:48. And his 2nd half was better than Yuki Sato’s as the 2:08:48 performer ended up running 2:15:07 (62:04 - 73:03).
The top Japanese finisher ended up being collegian Kensuke Horio, who came out of the second pack. But that pack also blew up big time as Horio ran 2:10:21 the hard way, after a 63:27 first half. Horio is coached by Masakazu Fujiwara, the holder of both the Japanese debut and collegiate record of 2:08:12. The top three Japanese men in the race all qualified for the 2020 Japanese Olympic Trials by breaking 2:11:00.
The lone American elite in the race, Matt Llano, also blew up big time. Llano ran 2:20:51 after a 65:48 first half.
When I saw cool rainy weather at the start, I immediately thought of last year's Boston marathon. Admittedly, 40s and a light rain and light wind is a lot better than 30s and a gale-force downpour.
But, in the end, Mother Nature ended up clobbering everyone but a few total studs.