translated and edited by Brett Larner
On the first day of the 53rd Kansai Jitsugyodan Track and Field Meet at the Amagasaki Memorial Track and Field Grounds in Hyogo Prefecture, Beijing Olympian Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran 33:13.83 to win her fourth 10000 m title at the meet after a two-year absence. Atsushi Igawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) won the men's 10000 m in 29:02.00.
The 10000 m was Fukushi's first race since December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden. Suffering from plantar fasciitis after the qualifying meet for the National Ekiden, Fukushi dropped out of planned participation in February's Rikuren-sponsored national training camp in New Zealand. She is now on the way back.
Six women took part in the Kansai Meet's 10000 m. The first 10000 m was a very slow 3:26, with the pace settling in to 80 seconds per lap thereafter. With 1000 m to go Fukushi took off, running the last kilometer in 2:56 to leave the rest ofthe field far behind. Afterwards she commented, "I'm not used to racing again yet. Whether I enjoy it or it kills me, racing feels strange. I think I'm back in pretty good shape and did what I could, but I still have some margin for improvement."