by Brett Larner
Stanford University's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational has long been a staple on the Japanese spring track calendar, with both the current men's and women's 10000 m national records set on the Stanford track. Beginning last year, however, the focus has shifted to include Berkeley's Brutus Hamilton Invitational thanks in part to the involvement of the NYRR Distance Carnival. This year the cream of the crop is headed north to Berkeley.
The man to watch will be Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) in the 10000 m. At last year's Brutus Hamilton Invitational Sato ran his PB of 27:38.25, the all-time third-fastest Japanese men's time and just three seconds off the national record, after running 13:48.71 at the Mt. SAC Relays. At last week's Mt. SAC Sato ran a comfortable 13:44.70, kicking the last lap with ease. Taken together, an attempt on the national record of 27:35.09 looks likely if Sato has the competition to push him. Four other Japanese men are on the entry list, but one, Sato's teammate Satoru Kitamura, will be racing at this weekend's Hyogo Relay Carnival instead. Yusuke Hasegawa (Jobu Univ.) was also on the entry list at Mt. SAC but did not race, meaning he is unlikely to be in Berkeley. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) made his pro debut in the 5000 m at Mt. SAC last week with a 13:31.37 PB and should be looking for a comparable 10000 m PB. Coached by 10000 m national record holder Toshinari Takaoka, Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) rounds out the roster with the only other Japanese sub-28 PB.
The men's 5000 m looks juicy if all the entrants actually show. In addition to Sato in the 10000 m, three of the young Japanese runners detailed in JRN's comparison of American and Japanese men aged 18-22, reproduced below, are on the entry list along with one American counterpart. Sato's perpetual rival Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), who ran 13:19.00 at age 20, ran a good 13:33.61 rustbuster at last week's Oda Memorial Meet and then told reporters he is targeting a new PB this season. It should be interesting to see him in a race with American equivalent Galen Rupp. Komazawa University's ace first-year Ikuto Yufu ran a 13:53.20 at the Oda Memorial and is something of a surprise to see on the list. A welcome addition is Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo), a 1:01:50 half-marathoner at age 20 and like Takeshi Makabe now coached by Toshinari Takaoka. Steeplechase national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) is bypassing his main event in favor of the 5000 m along with 1500 m specialist Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu).
Women's 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki), off her peak form so far this season, will likewise move up in distance to the 3000 m. Along with her is teammate Kazue Kojima, decent in her pro debut last week at Mt. SAC. Rounding out the Japanese distance entrants is men's steeplechaser Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN).
Flotrack will be providing video coverage of this year's Brutus Hamilton Invitational. Click here to go to their coverage page.
2010 Brutus Hamilton Invitational - Japanese entrants
click here for complete heat sheets
Men's 10000 m
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:38.25
Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 27:53.78
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:00.22
Yusuke Hasegawa (Jobu Univ.) - 28:13.92
Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 28:38.71
Men's 5000 m
Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:19.00
Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) - 13:37.99
Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 13:50.96
Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:53.20
Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 13:57.38
Women's 3000 m
Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 8:51.85
Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:14.36
Men's 3000 m SC
Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:35.19
American and Japanese men aged 18-22. Click to enlarge.
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved