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Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet Results

by Brett Larner

All but invisible to the eyes of the world, the penultimate meet in the 2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge, a six-meet series designed to provide racing and sharpening opporunities for the hundreds of corporate, university and high school student athletes who spend the summer training in Hokkaido to escape the heat of Japan's mainland, took place July 14 in Kitami, Hokkaido. At the Kitami meet a host of familiar faces took the top spots at distances from 800 m to 10000 m.

5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) took another step in his comeback from two years of setbacks with a 10000 m win in 28:08.16. 5000 m national champion Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) ran a slim PB to finish a safe 2nd ahead of Matsumiya's Kenyan teammate Samuel Kariuki (Team Konica Minolta). 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) continued his gradual post-Tokyo rebuild with a solid 28:40.06. Fujiwara plans to target a 2:06 at September's Berlin Marathon.

Rookie corporate runner and former university star Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:42.19 as marathoners Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) struggled at the back of the pack, finishing 18th and 19th. Kano's teammate Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) had a better showing in the B-heat, 4th in 16:08.80.

The men's 5000 m A-heat was arguably the highlight of the evening as the top five runners all recorded new PBs. Fresh from being named to this year's World Half Marathon Championships team, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) ran 13:36.26 to take the win by less than a second over Kenyan high schooler Titus Waroru (Chinzai H.S.). Ugachi's former Komazawa University teammate Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) was 3rd in 13:42.47.

In the 3000 m, 2009 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) won the women's race in 9:24.10 while 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) split the difference with an 8:02.59 win in the men's race.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:08.16
2. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:19.06 - PB
3. Samuel Kariuki (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:33.02
4. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 28:35.39
5. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 28:40.06
6. Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Tokyo Denryoku) - 28:48.75
7. Hiroyuki Sasaki (Waseda Univ.) - 28:58.47 - PB
8. Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota) - 28:58.63
9. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 29:00.79
10. Kazuki Onishi (Team Kanebo) - 29:10.50

Women's 5000 m A-heat
1. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:42.19
2. Saori Nejo (Team Hokuren) - 15:44.43
3. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:46.48
4. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 15:47.49
5. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 15:51.95
18. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 16:17.64
19. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 16:32.96

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:36.26 - PB
2. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Chinzei H.S.) - 13:37.17 - PB
3. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 13:42.47 - PB
4. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:45.43 - PB
5. Jeon Eun-Hoi (S. Korea) - 13:50.91 - PB

Women's 3000 m
1. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 9:24.10
2. Aya Isomine (Team Shiseido) - 9:24.45
3. Machi Tanaka (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:25.68

Men's 3000 m
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 8:02.59
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:25.14
3. Akira Kiniwa (Team S&B) - 8:31.17

Women's 1500 m
1. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) - 4:17.83
2. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 4:18.42
3. Aya Ito (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:20.85

Men's 1500 m
1. Edward Waweru (Team NTN) - 3:41.06
2. Baek ??? (S. Korea) - 3:45.39
3. ??? (S. Korea) - 3:45.88

Women's 800 m
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 2:04.18
2. Akari Kishikawa (STCI) - 2:04.44
3. ??? (S. Korea) - 2:04.78

Men's 800 m
1. Daiki Tsutsumi (SDF Academy) - 1:51.00
2. Yoshihiro Shimodaira (Shiraume H.S. AC) - 1:51.35
3. Park Son-Su (S. Korea) - 1:51.49

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Simon said…
After witnessing Matsumiya en route to a major blow-up in London, it's cool that he had a solid race. I presume this is some way off his best though.

Interested to see how M Fujiwara does in Berlin too - a race that has been kind to a good few Japanese runners over the years.
Brett Larner said…
Yes, it's more than 20 seconds off Matsumiya's PB but still the fastest (?) he has run since setting the PB, surely a sign that he's back on track.

I had lunch with Masakazu's coach the other day. He was feeling very positive about Masakazu's situation right now. I knew the plan was for a 2:06 this fall but thought he was going to be going for it in Fukuoka. Berlin should be interesting; the women have done well there but very few Japanese men have had much luck. Honda will have two other guys in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon the same day. Altogether that's an unusual risk for the team five or six weeks out from the regional qualifier ekidens, but maybe a sign that there's some willingness to try to change the way things work.

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