Skip to main content

Takezawa Leads Japanese Runners at Cardinal Invitational

by Brett Larner

The Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at California's Stanford University has always been a big meet for top Japanese runners. It was the site of both the current men's and women's national records, and although in the last two years Japan's focus has shifted more to Berkeley's Brutus Hamilton Invitational a solid group of athletes will again line up at this year's Cardinal Invitational on May 1.

Leading the way is #1-ranked Japanese man Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B). He's the one who ran 13:19.00 and 27:45.59 as a 20 year old. Injured for a year after that, he spent most of last year working his way back up and hopes to knock down both his 5000 m and 10000 m PBs this season. A 13:33.61 opener at the Kanaguri Memorial Meet two weeks ago was promising, but at last week's Brutus Hamilton Invitational 5000 m Takezawa ran only 13:47.30. That's exactly the pace he would need to run to have a shot at Toshinari Takaoka's national record of 27:35.09, which doesn't sound too likely. It would be great to see him have a go at his American equivalent, Galen Rupp, but at this stage anything under 28 would put him in an excellent position for something faster later in the season. Joining Takezawa in the 10000 m is another sub-28 man, Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo), who is coached by Takaoka.

Three men will run the 5000 m A-heat, university runners Yusuke Hasegawa (Jobu Univ.) and star first-year Yufu Ikuto (Komazawa Univ.), and young pro Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo). Along with Takezawa and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Kihara is one of the best Japanese men of his generation but has so far been mostly invisible since his graduation last year.

With no Japanese women scheduled to run, two more men round out the team. Steepler Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) will run after placing 3rd at Brutus Hamilton, while 1500 m Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) returns to his main event after running the 5000 m at Brutus Hamilton.

Click here for complete start lists. The Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational takes place May 1 and will be broadcast live by paid webcast through the Stanford website and CBS Sports. Look for recorded versions of the races and athlete interviews later on Flotrack.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…