by Brett Larner
Click image for complete video footage.
On May 18 at Tokyo`s National Stadium, Yamanashi Gakuin University senior Mekubo Mogusu ran a sensational 25 second PB to win the Kanto University Track and Field Championships men`s 10000 m in a meet-record time of 27:27.64. Mogusu`s time cleared the Olympic A-standard by a wide margin and established him as the 3rd-fastest man in the world so far this year behind fellow Japan-based Kenyans Josephat Muchiri Ndambiri and Gideon Ngatuny.
After a fast first lap Mogusu took the lead just before the 400 m point, followed only by Nihon University sophomore Daniel Gitau. Despite having a PB of 27:44.73 compared to Mogusu`s 27:52.79, Gitau remained in the trailing position for almost the entire race. The large field of top Japanese university runners made no attempt to follow. Juntendo University`s Hiroyuki Ono, famous for collapsing during this year`s Hakone Ekiden, took turns leading the pack with Komazawa University ace Tsuyoshi Ugata and Toyo University`s star recruit, first-year Ryuji Kashiwabara. Mogusu and Gitau lapped the first of the Japanese runners after less than 5 km and quickly reeled in the rest of the field. Gitau made a brief move to take the lead during the 7th kilometer, but Mogusu refused to relinquish his position.
When the two Kenyans overtook the large chase pack the Japanese runners quickly split into two parts, one group of seven which tried to match Mogusu`s pace and another which simply solidered on. Mogusu responded by accelerating, dropping all pursuers including Gitau. As with almost all his performances in Japan, including three sub-1 hour half marathons last year, Mogusu ran the rest of the race alone, apart from occasional company provided by runners being lapped for the second time who tried to go with him. The outcome was never in doubt. Gitau, while far off his PB, also managed to squeeze under the 28 minute mark, finishing in 27:59.05.
Toyo Univ. 1st-yr. Ryuji Kashiwabara outkicks three Komazawa Univ. runners.
Further back, the race for 3rd intensified as Ono, Ugachi and Kashiwabara were passed by Ugachi`s Komazawa teammates Takuya Fukazu and Sota Hoshi. Kashiwabara, one of the top high school runners in Japan last year, showed that he will be one of the major new faces on the university scene this year by coming back in the last 200 m to beat out his more experienced rivals.
The Kanto University Track and Field Championships continue next weekend. Mogusu is expected to defend his title in the half marathon, which he won last year in course-record time.
1. Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 27:27.64 - meet record, Olympic A-standard
2. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.): 27:59.05
3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.): 28:44.42
4. Takuya Fukazu (Komazawa Univ.): 28:44.73
5. Sota Hoshi (Komazawa Univ.): 28:46.26
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.): 28:46.48
7. Kendai Mori (Nittai Univ.): 28:49.52
8. Kazuyuki Ito (Josai Univ.): 28:50.17
9. Hiroyuki Ono (Juntendo Univ.): 28:5*.**
The B-group race saw a major pileup after 1200 m. Click the image for complete video footage of the B-group race.
Also click here for footage of the decathlon 1500 m Group A and Group B races.
(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved