by Brett Larner
Brett Larner, Toyokazu Yoshimura and Wilson Kipketer at the finish of the 2009 Copenhagen Marathon. Photo by Piia Doyle (DMG).
Update 5/29: I missed Daniel Gitau's 800m record at the Kanto Championships and have updated the summary below.
I just got back from Copenhagen yesterday. There was a fair amount of overseas action featuring Japanese runners and at least one big domestic meet this past weekend that I couldn't cover at the time, but for the sake of thoroughness I wanted to put up a few summaries. I'll go in reverse chronological order.
Los Angeles Marathon
Men's marathon 60+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka ran the L.A. Marathon in 2:39:31. Although he fell 3 minutes 2 seconds shy of breaking his own world record set in February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Hosaka was a highly creditable 27th overall and the 19th place male finisher. Needless to say, he won his age group. The June issue of Running Times magazine contains an interview with Hosaka which can be read here.
Led by Beijing Olympian Yurika Nakamura's 3rd place finish in 33:28, the Japanese women placed 2nd overall in the team competition at the Bolder Boulder 10 km. Veteran Hiromi Ominami was 9th in 35:01, with 2008 Honolulu Marathon winner Kiyoko Shimahara finishing 12th to complete the team score in 35:35 just a week after running San Francisco's Bay to Breakers road race.
As previously reported, Toyokazu Yoshimura and Chihiro Tanaka pulled off a rare overseas Japanese marathon double, winning the men's and women's divisions of the Copenhagen Marathon in 2:18:04 and 2:40:59 respectively and garnering IAAF coverage. Tanaka was 14th overall; her husband Katsutoshi Tanaka, a retired former professional steeplechase runner, ran the race for fun and finished in 2:57:54. Video highlights of the Copenhagen Marathon are available through race sponsor Politiken.
Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships pt. II
Nihon Univ. senior Daniel Gitau completed a rare quadruple crown on the second weekend of the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, Japan's most competitive university meet. After winning the 1500 m and 10000 last weekend, Gitau set a meet record of 1:48.06 in the men's 800 m, then returned an hour later to win the 5000 m in 13:47.19. As in the 10000 m last week, Toyo Univ. star sophomore Ryuji Kashiwabara was close behind, beating out Meiji Univ. senior Takuya Ishikawa by a stride for 2nd in 13:48.54.
Tamagawa Univ. junior Takumi Komiya had a surprise win over Nihon Univ. ace senior Natsuko Goto in an equally surprisingly slow women's 5000 m. Coming back to from a year of injury which kept her out of last winter's ekiden season, Komiya won her first Kanto title in 16:19.30 with Goto nearly 4 seconds back in 16:23.10. Defending champion Yui Sakai of Josai Univ. was a DNS after running poorly in last week's 10000 m.
Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. senior Aoi Matsumoto won a two-man battle against Chuo Univ. sophomore Yuki Munakata in the men's 3000 m SC. Matsumoto clocked 8:41.56 to Munakata's 8:43.85, with their nearest competitor finishing almost 6 seconds behind.
The biggest result of the meet came in the men's half marathon. Run on a hilly, twisting 10-loop course on which athletes enter and exit Tokyo's National Stadium on each lap, the Kanto Championships half marathon has never been known as a fast event. Last year Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. senior Mekubo Mogusu, a runner with three sub-hour half marathons to his name at the time, became the first man to break 1:03 on the course when he set its record of 1:02:23. The now-graduated Mogusu's younger teammate and countryman Cosmas Ondiba picked up where Mogusu left off, winning the half marathon in 1:02:29. The sophomore Ondiba had not previously shown any signs of being close to Mogusu in ability, but this result suggests Yamanashi Gakuin may have another titan on its hands. Last year's 2nd and 3rd place finishers both broke last year's times but switched places, Waseda Univ. senior Takahiro Ozaki landing 2nd this time in 1:04:00 and Komazawa Univ. senior Tsuyoshi Ugachi 3rd in 1:04:09.
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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