Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fujimoto Comes From Nowhere to Win Kanto Regionals 5000 m - 26 Under 14 Min.

by Brett Larner

Men's 5000 m A-Heat

Steadily worsening rain and winds on the last day of the 2010 Kanto Regional University T&F Championships didn't slow things down as the men's 5000 m A-heat saw one of the best overall university men's 5000 m in Japanese history. Hakone Ekiden star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) and the relentlessly improving Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) took the pack of 29 through 1 km in 2:39, almost dead-on Japanese national record pace. Surprisingly, everyone went with them and few fell apart. Kashiwabara, Yoroizaka and 10000 m A-heat winner Benjamin Gando (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) took turns leading as the fastest man in the field, 19 year-old Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) patiently worked his way forward. When Murasawa finally made his move, his surprise company came from Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.), a runner with a PB of only 13:57.57. A bigger surprise came when Fujimoto blasted away over the last lap to knock nearly 20 seconds off his PB with a 13:38.68 win. Yoroizaka and Murasawa also broke 13:40, and altogether 17 men out of the 29 starters broke 14 minutes, 12 of them in PBs and none of the remaining 5 more than 3 seconds off his PB. Yoroizaka deserves extra praise, running PBs to finish 2nd in both the 5000 m and 10000 m and in each race outkicking the fastest man in the field.

Men's 5000 m B-Heat

The 5000 m B-heat, more akin to NCAA Div. II than to a JV race, was also quick. 10000 m B-heat winner Duncan Mozay (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) did it again, just clipped teammate John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) for the win in 13:41.08. The top 4 finishers, the two Kenyans plus Kazuya Deguchi (Nittai Univ.) and Hiromitsu Kakuage (Komazawa Univ.) broke the former Kanto Regionals B-heat record, and 9 men broke 14 minutes with 5 of these clocking PBs. Between the two heats 26 men broke 14 minutes, significantly more than in past years and a result which suggests Kanto's coaches are giving more attention to the speed component of their students' training, the missing ingredient in modern Japanese distance training.

The men's half marathon was nevertheless strong. Cosmas Ondiba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) repeated his win from last year with teammate Muryo Takase (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) a second behind. Although Ondiba ran only 1:03:30 on the difficult 10-loop course, for the first time 5 men went under 64 minutes including 2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.). Kenta Chiba (Komazawa Univ.) won the B-heat in 1:04:42.

Women's 5000 m

Held on Saturday afternoon, the women's 5000 m suffered from the hottest temperatures so far this year ahead of the rain that cooled Sunday's events. It also suffered from a shortage of competition following the graduation last month of many of the Kanto region's best women. After a leisurely first 2 km, frosh Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) grew impatient and abruptly dropped the rest of the field, streaking away to run the rest of the race unchallenged for the win in a moderate 16:26.36 which did not give proper credit to the quality of her running due to the slow opening section. Runner-up Yurie Doi (Tokyo Gakugei Daigaku) was over 5 seconds behind.

2010 Kanto Regional University T&F Championships - Top Results
click here or on event headers for complete results

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Taku Fujimoto (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 13:38.68 - PB
2. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (3rd yr., Meiji Univ.) - 13:39.31 - PB
3. Akinobu Murasawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 13:39.65
4. Yusuke Hasegawa (4th yr., Jobu Univ.) - 13:43.31
5. Yo Yazawa (3rd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 13:44.10
6. Ryohei Kawakami (3rd yr., Toyo Univ.) - 13:46.55 - PB
7. Hideyuki Tanaka (2nd yr., Juntendo Univ.) - 13:47.12 - PB
8. Dai Nakahara (2nd yr., Josai Univ.) - 13:47.89 - PB
9. Tsubasa Hayakawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 13:48.87 - PB
10. Keisuke Tanaka (4th yr., Josai Univ.) - 13:50.15 - PB
11. Benjamin Gando (2nd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 13:51.19 - PB
12. Ryuji Kashiwabara (3rd yr., Toyo Univ.) - 13:51.21
13. Masaki Ito (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 13:51.30 - PB
14. Yusuke Sato (2nd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 13:57.01 - PB
15. Kentaro Tone (3rd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 13:58.63
16. Naohiro Domoto (3rd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 13:58.71 - PB
17. Keita Shitara (1st yr., Toyo Univ.) - 13:59.09 - PB

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Duncan Mozay (Kenya/1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 13:41.08 - PB, MR
2. John Maina (Kenya/ 1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 13:41.17 - PB, (MR)
3. Kazuya Deguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 13:49.84 (MR)
4. Hiromitsu Kakuage (2nd yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 13:52.57 (MR)
5. Ikki Takeuchi (1st yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:53.39 - PB
6. Kenta Matsubara (3rd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 13:53.41 - PB
7. Shinji Ando (4th yr., Teikkyo Univ.) - 13:55.47 - PB
8. Ikuto Yufu (1st yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 13:56.17
9. Takumi Honda (1st yr., Nittai Univ.) - 13:56.70
10. Takuya Noguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 14:04.12

Women's 5000 m
1. Nanaka Izawa (1st yr., Juntendo Univ.) - 16:26.36
2. Yurie Doi (4th yr., Tokyo Gakugei Daigaku) - 16:31.81
3. Natsumi Suguro (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 16:32.13

Men's Half Marathon A-Heat
1. Cosmas Ondiba (Kenya/3rd yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:30
2. Muryo Takase (4th yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:31
3. Shogo Otsu (4th yr., Toyo Univ.) - 1:03:32 - PB
4. Shota Hiraga (2nd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:03:40 - PB
5. Junichi Shioya (2nd yr., Chuo Univ.) - 1:03:52 - PB

Men's Half Marathon B-Heat
1. Kenta Chiba (2nd yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:42 - debut
2. Junya Kinoshita (3rd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 1:04:51 - PB
3. Koji Kobayashi (4th yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:10

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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