by Brett Larner
Japanese women's 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) opened her 2009 season on Apr. 16 at the Mt. SAC Relays meet in Walnut, CA. Hayakari started aggressively, running in 3rd through a 77-second first lap. She held to precisely the same for the following two laps, clocking 2:34 and 3:51, but slipped backwards through the pack as the overall pace quickened behind breakaway leader Lindsey Anderson (Nike). Falling as low as 11th, Hayakari had a characteristically strong finish to move back up to 8th. Her time of 10:10.18 was far off last summer's national record of 9:33.93 but a good start to her World Championships buildup nevertheless.
Hayakari wrote about her race on her blog shortly afterwards:
The Mt. SAC Relay meet started on Apr. 16 and a lot of Japanese athletes are here. I ran the 3000 m SC in 10:10.18. My self-evaluation is.....maybe it was a little too sloppy, but I don't really care about the time or the result because it was the kind of practice I can only get in an overseas race and I feel good about it. I mean things like how to warm up properly, the tension before a race, being able to finish after jumping over 35 steeples, actually racing against other people, and understanding my current condition and which points need to be improved. Something like that. Anyway, I felt good afterwards. I went to have some microbrew beer with Daichi [Sawano] and Coach Yonekura (in the States, if you're Japanese they really check closely how old you are on your ID!) We talked about how the next time we drink microbrew beer together it'll be in Berlin. That's pretty good motivation.
Complete results from the women's invitational 3000 m SC are available here.
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved