Skip to main content

Always in Threes - Nakamura on World Championships Day Eight

by Brett Larner

2009 women's 5000 m national champion Yurika Nakamura may not be as talented as the top Kenyans and Ethiopians or even some of her countrywomen, but her performance in the 5000 m final at the 2009 World Championships marks her as the star of the Japanese team with only the medal hopefuls in the women's marathon and men's javelin left to outshine her efforts. In the 10000 m and the 5000 m heats Nakamura took the early lead to keep the races from going out too slowly, ran negative splits, and was rewarded with credible PBs. In the 5000 m final it was the same story. At 1000 m she was in the lead in 3:06.02. When the real racing began she was left behind, ultimately finishing 12th of 15, but she improved her PB from the heats by 8 seconds as she clocked a very decent 15:13.01. Three races in eight days, three PBs. With her stated goal for this year being to improve her track speed before taking another shot at the marathon Nakamura looks well on the way to something big.

2008 national champion and 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi was one spot ahead of Nakamura, 11th overall in 15:12.44. Her time was far off her PB, but after a spring filled with injury it was a season best mark and showed that Kobayashi is almost back to form.

The most anticipated event of the evening for Japanese viewers was the men's 4x100 m relay. Sporting a new lineup containing only half of its Beijing Olympics bronze medal-winning squad along with two up-and-coming student runners, the Japanese team easily made the final. Up against giants like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the new Japanese team was clipped for bronze by the British team by a margin of 0.28 seconds. The Japanese team's mark of 38.30 was a season best, and while they fell short of extending the legacy of last year's first-ever Japanese men's track medal it was a hopeful sign for the country's aspirations of developing world-class sprinters. The women's 4x100 m squad featuring national record holder Chisato Fukushima was unable to follow suit, finishing 14th of 17 in the first round and failing to advance, with the women's 4x400 m squad also left behind at 14th in the heats.

Japanese national team captain Daichi Sawano made the final of the men's pole vault, but after clearing only 5.50 he finished 10th of 15.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the …

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 26: New Caledonia International Marathon, New Caledonia
Sept. 2: Wakkanai Heiwa Marathon, Hokk…