translated and edited by Brett Larner
At a track meet at Nittai University in Yokohama on Oct. 18, 21 year old Masato Yokota (Keio Univ.) set a new men's 800 m national record of 1:46.16. His time broke Yusei Ono's 15 year old record of 1:46.18 set in 1994. Having run in the 2007 World Championships and won June's National Championships, Yokota was already the #1-ranked middle-distance runner in Japan.
Unusually for a race in Japan, the Nittai 800 m featured a pacemaker for the first half. Yokota ran precisely according to his planned splits to smash his previous best of 1:47.04. "The pacemaker helped me get into a good rhythm over the first 400 m," commented Yokota. "After that I just tried to keep it. With 200 m to go I knew it was going to be close, so I had to struggle pretty hard. Next up I'm going to target 1:45."