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Ueno, World Championships Marathoners Maeda and Fujinaga Run Well at Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet

by Brett Larner

The fifth meet in the 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place July 15 in Kitami, Hokkaido, producing three significant results.

1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) continued his winning streak, taking the men's 3000 m. His time of 8:09.03 was 12 seconds off his best but the win showed that Ueno is maintaining his competitive edge as he trains in Hokkaido for the World Championships 5000 m.

In the women's 5000 m Kenyans Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) went 1-2 with Obare on top in 15:42.36. The surprise came in 3rd place, as World Championships marathon team member Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) came in just a step behind Muyanga. Earlier in the season Fujinaga had said she wanted to focus on her speed during the track season. While her earlier results had been unimpressive, her run in Kitami suggests she is rounding into form in time to peak in Berlin.

The men's 5000 m featured three of Japan's most promising younger distance runners, Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) and Berlin World Championships marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko). Mitsuya and Ono have been dealing with injury problems, while Maeda has been all but invisible since finishing 2nd in March's Tokyo Marathon, Kitami being his first race since then. Mitsuya took the top position, winning by 8 seconds in 13:38.01 and looking as though he is back to form. Maeda, who along with Ueno is one of only two Japanese men to hold a valid World Championships 5000 m qualifying mark, was 4th in 13:49.81, credible considering his training is currently focused on the marathon. Ono was only 5th in 13:57.55 and looks to have some work still to do on his way to recovery.

Click here for complete results from the Kitami meet. The final meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge takes place on Monday, July 20.

2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet - Top Finishers
Men's 5000 m
1. Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:38.01
2. Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 13:46.47
3. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 13:47.58
4. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.81
5. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:57.55
-----
13. Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica Minolta) - 14:05.31
18. Martin Waweru (Team Fujitsu) - 14:14.82
19. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) - 14:17.22

Women's 5000 m
1. Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 15:42.36
2. Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) - 15:53.35
3. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 15:53.54
4. Kaoru Nagao (Team Aruze) - 15:54.66
5. Yuka Tokuda (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:55.10
-----
7. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 15:56.89
14. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 16:06.11
20. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 16:15.82

Men's 3000 m
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 8:09.03
2. Takayuki Matsuura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:13.91
3. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:16.21

Women's 3000 m
1. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui) - 9:12.35
2. Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Deodeo) - 9:20.71
3. Kaoru Sekino (Team Hokuren) - 9:21.40

Men's 1000 m
1. Daisuke Tamura (SDF Sports Academy) - 2:21.26
2. Aruto Anzai (Team S&B) - 2:24.44
3. Yoshito Suzuki (Sapporo Gakuin Univ.) - 2:25.04

Women's 1000 m
1. Misako Suguro (Team Shiseido) - 2:51.21
2. Saki Nakamichi (Team Shiseido) - 2:51.65
3. Yuka Hashimoto (Nittai Univ.) - 2:51.77

Men's 600 m
1. Kang Sok Ei (Koyan City Hall) - 1:17.26
2. Yoshihiro Shimadaira (Team Fujitsu) - 1:17.85
3. Nao Hattori (Tokai Univ.) - 1:18.03

Women's 600 m
1. Ruriko Kubo (Team Deodeo) - 1:28.63
2. Mayu Horie (Team M&K) - 1:29.64
3. Akari Kishikawa (NPO STCI) - 1:30.36

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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