by Brett Larner
With most of the country's top athletes lining up at the Oda Memorial, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational and Shizuoka International meets, the 215th edition of the Nittai University Time Trials meet Apr. 30-May 1 in Yokohama saw mostly second-string runners tuning up for bigger meets later in the season. Times were hampered by wind and rain, particularly on the meet's second day, but there were several noteworthy performances neverthless.
In the men's 10000 m, newcomer Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) was the only man to break 29 minutes. Onsarigo is coached by Stephen Mayaka, the first Kenyan runner to go the full circuit through the Japanese high school, university and corporate running system. Onsarigo should make an impact at October's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km road race. In the women's 5000 m A-heat, 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) won by 5 seconds over teammate Ikuyo Yamashita a day before rival Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) takes another swing at Shibui's record in Stanford.
A week after setting a short-lived world leader in the 10000 m at the Hyogo Relay Carnival meet, Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) added another win over former Sendai Ikuei H.S. star Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) to his resume with a 13:38.84 time in the men's 5000 m. Kenyan high schooler Wainaina Murgi (Toyokawa H.S.), winner of the women's 3000 m at the 214th Nittai Time Trials, won this round as well, beating countrywoman Rose Maranga (Team Toto) by 13 seconds with a 9:18.64 clocking.
Perhaps the most interesting result came in the men's 1500 m A-heat, where surprise 2010 Kanto Regional University 5000 m champion Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.) beat pro middle-distance runners Shunta Kubo and Keisuke Tanaka (both Team Fujitsu) as he clocked a PB of 3:47.21 just a week after running 28:57.79 at the Hyogo Relay Carnival 10000 m. Fujimoto's closing speed was instrumental in last year's Kanto win over top-ranked distance men Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.). He looks to be in a good position to have a shot at repeating later this month at the 2011 Kanto Regionals.
215th Nittai University Time Trials - Top Results
Men's 10000 m - Heat 5
1. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 28:50.70
2. Soichiro Ichikawa (Waseda Univ.) - 29:46.74
3. Ryuichi Kagawa (Teikyo Univ.) - 29:52.45
Women's 5000 m - Heat 17
1. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:06.39
2. Ikuyo Yamashita (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:11.06
3. Rina Yonetsu (Meijo Univ.) - 16:12.46
4. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 16:12.99
5. Nami Kakitsu (Team Edion) - 16:14.36
Men's 5000 m - Heat 20
1. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:38.84
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:38.90
3. John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 13:43.62
4. Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 14:01.33
5. Asefa Fekele (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 14:03.04
Women's 3000 m - Heat 3
1. Wainaina Murgi (Kenya/Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:18.64
2. Rose Maranga (Kenya/Team Toto) - 9:31.32
3. Rui Aoyama (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:34.47
Men's 1500 m - Heat 11
1. Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.) - 3:47.21
2. Shunta Kubo (Team Fujitsu) - 3:49.38
3. Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) - 3:50.60
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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