by Brett Larner
Running in heavy rain, Ethiopian 3000 m SC national record holder Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) overcame Kenyan rivals Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) on the last lap in a close three-way finish while university student Mary Wangari Wanjohi (Ritsumeikan AP Univ.) ran a solo race ahead of the field of professional women in the main events of the 2009 Kanaguri Memorial Track and Field Meet, the men's and women's elite 5000 m. The top Japanese competitors in each race, Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) and Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) were regrettably absent, leaving the top Japanese positions to Athens Olympian Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei), 4th in the men's race, and #1-ranked university star Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.), 3rd in the women's race.
As expected, the men's 5000 m was a battle between Jarso, Ngatuny and Ndamibiri, who together ran under the 8 km road world record during January's New Year Ekiden 2nd stage. In that race Ndambiri was the fastest, with Ngatuny and Jarso clocking identical times. This time the Ethiopian emerged victorious, outrunning Ngatuny and Ndambiri over the last lap after a relatively slow and strategic race to finish in 13:28.21, well off both his PB and Ndambiri's meet record of 13:19.27.
Ryuji Ono led the distant second pack, narrowly beating out Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem), who was out of shape for his pro debut after a car accident in Kenya in February kept him out of training, and Ono's teammate Kenichi Shirashi (Team Asahi Kasei), who was the lone runner in the top ten of either race to mark a PB performance. Four more runners were closely bunched just behind Shiraishi. After the race Ono commented, "It was a good experience. I thought I could stay with the foreigners and outkick them in the end, but I couldn't quite pull it off. My next goal is to get the A-standard for the World Championships."*
In Yuriko Kobayashi's absence, Mary Wangari Wanjohi had an easy win, running home in a comfortable 15:41.74. Further back, Ethiopian Betelhem Moges (Team Denso) clipped university star Kazue Kojima by a hairsbreadth for 2nd. Kojima had the consolation of outkicking major professional names Madoka Ogi (Team Juhachi Ginko), Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) and Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) for 3rd, with two more runners close behind.
Complete results for the 2009 Kanaguri Memorial Track and Field Meet are available here.
2009 Kanaguri Memorial Track and Field Meet - Top Finishers
Elite Men's 5000 m
1. Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) - 13:28.21
2. Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:30.44
3. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:33.38
4. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:47.33
5. Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) - 13:47.83
6. Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:47.95 - PB
7. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:48.38
8. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.32
9. Tomoya Adachi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:50.30
10. Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:50.97
Elite Women's 5000 m
1. Mary Wangari Wanjohi (Ritsumeikan AP Univ.) - 15:41.74
2. Betelhem Moges (Team Denso) - 15:52.54
3. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:52.79
4. Madoka Ogi (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 15:53.63
5. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 15:55.28
6. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 15:55.55
7. Nazumi Tomonaga (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 15:56.65
8. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:57.55
9. Yukino Ninomiya (Team Hokuren) - 16:04.36
10. Yoko Nishimi (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 16:10.96
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved
*Ono's quote translated from this article.