Skip to main content

Gitau Controls Windy First Weekend of Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) wins the windy 10000 m at the 2009 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships. Click here for complete race video via Flotrack.

Kenyan fourth-year Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) followed in the footsteps of the now-graduated Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) with a double win in the men's 1500 m and 10000 m on the first weekend of the 2009 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships May 16 and 17 at Tokyo's National Stadium. Harsh, windy conditions prevented fast times, particularly in the 10000 m, but Gitau had an easy win in the 1500 m in 3:44.18.

Setting off at 2:45/km pace in the 10000 m with Mogusu watching in the stands, the 2008 national university 10000 m champion Gitau worked together with first-year teammate Benjamin Gando, Mogusu's successor Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and Japanese star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) to battle the wind. As the pace slowed midway Gitau broke away at around 5000 m, opening a lead of close to 100 m before beginning to falter.

Meiji Univeristy ace Kodai Matsumoto came up from the third pack to catch Ondiba and Kashiwabara in the final kilometer and the three made major headway against Gitau's lead. The pair of Japanese runners dropped Ondiba as they fought each other over the last lap but could come no closer than 5 seconds to Gitau, who clocked 28:39.94 to claim his second regional title of the weekend.

It looked as though Matsumoto would have the stronger kick over the home stretch, but Kashiwabara summoned the same strength which gave him a 3rd place finish behind Mogusu and Gitau last year and outleaned Matsumoto at the line to take 2nd in 28:44.97, almost identical to his 28:44.42 mark last year but in far tougher conditions. Matsumoto's 28:45.10 was a PB by 5 seconds, impressive given the wind and creditable for the mature racing strategy he employed.

Gitau's teammate Natsuko Godo, who rose to become a major player in the Kanto women's ekiden scene last fall, staged an upset in the women's 10000 m with a 33:36.72 win over defending champion Yui Sakai (Josai Univ.). Although Sakai was far from her regular self, a distant 3rd in 34:22.68, Chisato Saito (Josai Univ.) held on to give Godo a race and was 2nd in 33:38.97. Maya Hirokawa (Tamagawa Univ.) had an even slimmer win over Kayoko Ishikawa (Juntendo Univ.) in the women's 1500 m, winning by 0.02 seconds in 4:30.51.

The Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships continue May 23 and 24. Daniel Gitau will attempt to replicate Mogusu's 2008 triple with a win in the half marathon.

2009 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships Pt. I - Distance Event Top Finishers
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Natsuko Godo (Nihon Univ.) - 33:36.72
2. Chisato Saito (Josai Univ.) - 33:38.97
3. Yui Sakai (Josai Univ.) - 34:22.68

Men's 10000 m
1. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 28:39.94
2. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:44.97
3. Kodai Matsumoto (Meiji Univ.) - 28:45.10 - PB

Women's 1500 m
1. Maya Hirokawa (Tamagawa Univ.) - 4:30.51
2. Kayoko Ishikawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:30.53
3. Miho Watanabe (Chuo Univ.) - 4:32.85

Men's 1500 m
1. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 3:44.18
2. Tasuku Arai (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:48.27
3. Kenta Matsubara (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:48.97

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.

Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…