2017 United Airlines NYC Half to Feature Strongest-Ever Japanese Athlete Contingent at a New York Road Runners Race
Five athletes from Japan, including university standouts Rintaro Takeda and Kenta Ueda, to help lead 20,000 runners through Manhattan
NYRR Press Release
February 28, 2017
New York — The 2017 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 19, will feature a five-strong contingent of top athletes from Japan racing against some of the world’s best runners, highlighting both the strength of the event’s international field and New York Road Runners’ partnership with the Ageo City Marathon.
“We are excited to bring in the most talented group of Japanese runners we’ve ever had at a New York Road Runners event,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “NYRR’s partnership with the Ageo City Marathon continues to improve each year and is one of the many reasons NYRR serves as the world’s premiere community running organization. Having both professional and university athletes from Japan racing the United Airlines NYC Half this year will showcase what NYRR does to help propel the careers of international runners to the next level.”
Since 2012, NYRR has held an official partnership with Japan’s Ageo City Marathon, in which the top two Japanese collegiate finishers from the event are invited to run the United Airlines NYC Half the following spring. The Ageo City Marathon’s name is an homage to the New York City Marathon, which was already well-established when the Ageo race was founded back in 1988. Known for its incredible depth, it’s also a popular participatory event, with nearly 9,000 finishers across its half marathon, 5K, and youth 3K.
In last year’s university division alone of the half marathon, 63 men ran the course under 64 minutes under a blanket of heavy fog. Waseda University senior Rintaro Takeda caught and passed Yamanashi Gakuin University sophomore Kenta Ueda in the final 200 meters, with both earning their spots at the 2017 United Airlines NYC Half. Takeda’s 1:01:59 was the third-fastest performance ever by a collegian in the race.
Joining them on the United Airlines NYC Half course in March will be Kenta Murayama in the men’s race, Misato Horie in the women’s race and Kota Hokinoue in the men’s wheelchair race.
Murayama, 24, of Sendai, finished in 10th place in his NYC Half debut in 2013 in 1:02:02. He had earned his spot in the professional athlete field of the race by winning the Ageo City Half Marathon the year prior in 1:02:46. His participation in 2017 marks the first time an athlete from the Ageo partnership has returned to compete as a corporate runner. In 2015, he finished 22nd over 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Championships and then took ninth in the distance in 2016 at the Japanese Championships.
“When I ran the NYC Half while in university, it was to find out for myself, how long can I hang with the best in the world?” Murayama said. “I’m coming back this year not to hang on, but to race with them. When I run the marathon in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I think a good race here in New York will be an incredibly valuable part of being a contender there.”
Horie, 30, of Kobe, is coming off a personal-best marathon of 2:25:44 at the Osaka Marathon in January and will be making her road racing debut in New York City. In 2016, she just missed qualifying for the Rio Olympics when she took second at the Osaka Marathon.
Hokinoue, 42, of Fukuoka, is a three-time Paralympian making his United Airlines NYC Half debut. He’s been wheelchair racing since 2002, just two years after he injured his spine in a motorcycle accident. Hokinoue has raced the New York City Marathon four times, with his best finish being third place in 2011. He owns a World Championship bronze medal from the 2013 IPC Athletics Marathon, and he finished seventh in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Marathon.
“I’m very excited to take part in the United Airlines NYC Half for the first time,” Hokinoue said. “It will be a different race for me, competing against those I usually race in a full marathon. I will be planning for the course carefully and will be preparing my race plan to win the event.”
The 2017 United Airlines NYC Half will feature 20,000 runners from more than 90 countries in the 13.1-mile race, whichstarts in Central Park, heads uptown through Harlem then back through famed Times Square to the finish line near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan.
The third annual NYRR Times Square Youth Run will showcase 1,000 youth runners in a 1500-meter out-and-back course through the heart of Times Square, as well as a youth wheelchair racing heat. Many of the young runners participate in NYRR’s free, year-round youth running programs and events that serve more than 215,000 youth across the country annually.
The event will be broadcast live in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7 and will be shown internationally via a variety of global broadcast partners.