by Brett Larner
The Fukuoka International Marathon is not all that is happening in Japan this weekend. Across Kyushu the Kumamoto Kosa 10 Miler, annually the world's most competitive race at that distance, has a fantastic matchup of a large share of the top young talent to make the pro ranks in the last two years, all tuning up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships. 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) is unquestionably the favorite as he continues his build toward an impending marathon debut, but the domestic field includes the likes of Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei), Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo), Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), sub-28 minute 10000 m men one and all. If Ono is back to full health after a year lost to injury Asahi Kasei's prospects for the New Year Ekiden will be very promising indeed even without an African ringer.
Many of those not running Fukuoka or Kumamoto Kosa will be lining up in Yokohama at this year's final full edition of the Nittai University Time Trials. The entry list for the two-day meet of long distance track events includes past junior World XC champions Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia/Team Honda) and Caleb Ndiku (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin), 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), 2010 National University 5000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.), 2010 Kanto Regional University 5000 m champion Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.), 10000 m national collegiate record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.), 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) and many more. Look for exclusive coverage by JRN photographer Daniel Seite.
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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