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Watanabe Just Misses 10000 m A-Standard, Sophomore Yufu 28:02.46 to Lead Five Komazawa Univ. Men Under 29 in Fukagawa

by Brett Larner


With unseasonably cool temperatures ahead of an approaching typhoon the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet on June 25 saw a raft of significant PB performances. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) led three Japan-resident Kenyans to the top of the men's 10000 m A-heat with a win in 27:43.82, but the trio had company from 5000 m national champion Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) who was shooting for the Daegu World Championships A-standard of sub-27:40 but came up just short in a large PB of 27:47.79 In so doing Watanabe, the all-time #2 Japanese man over 1500 m best-known for blacking out meters before the finish while leading the 2008 National Championships 1500 m, became the first Japanese man to break both 3:40 and 28:00. Missing the A-standard means that Watanabe will run only the 5000 m in Daegu.

More of a shock than Watanabe were the next two runners after him, Komazawa University sophomore Ikuto Yufu and junior Hiromitsu Kakuage, who ran PBs of 28:02.46 and 28:03.27 to beat Kenyans Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.) and Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku). It's rare to see collegiate times this fast, particularly two teammated doing it in one race, and what's more three other Komazawa runners set new PBs under 29 minutes. 2011 Hakone Ekiden top two Waseda University and Toyo University are hovering aroung ten sub-29 minute men apiece, but with Komazawa up to six men that level now including star first-year Kenta Murayama, Yufu and Kakuage could lead Komazawa in a legitimate shot at challenging Waseda and Toyo for dominance in the upcoming ekiden season.

The women's 10000 m was also fast, with nine of the top ten recording new PBs led by Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) going under the World Championships A-standard with a 31:27.98. Seika Nishikawa (Team Sysmex), a teammate of marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi, was 2nd in a quick 32:12.64.

The final meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series takes place this Wednesday in Shibetsu and will focus on the 5000 m with Hitomi Niiya (Chiba Pref.) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) among others going for World Championships A-standard marks.

2011 Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet
Fukagawa, Hokkaido, 6/25/11
Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:43.82
2. James Rungar (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:44.86 - PB
3. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 27:47.51
4. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 27:47.79 - PB
5. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:02.46 - PB
6. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:03.27 - PB
7. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:03.43 - PB
8. Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 28:03.48
9. Hiroyuki Ono (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:06.35 - PB
10. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 28:12.02 - PB
-----
15. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:23.61 - PB

Women's 10000 m
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 31:27.98 - PB
2. Seika Nishikawa (Team Sysmex) - 32:12.64 - PB
3. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 32:16.84 - PB
4. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:18.00 - PB
5. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 32:27.89 - PB
6. Korei Omata (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:37.89 - PB
7. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 32:44.00 - PB
8. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 32:44.60
9. Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:50.36 - PB
10. Akane Sekino (Team Hokuren) - 32:53.44 - PB

Men's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Kazuhiro Kuga (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:32.32 - PB
2. Minato Oishi (Team Toyota) - 28:42.29
3. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:42.89 - PB
4. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 28:44.18
5. Shunsuke Nomura (Team Osaka Gas) - 28:47.04

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 13:46.85
2. Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:49.67
3. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:51.98
4. Masato Kikuchi (Meiji Univ.) - 13:54.16
5. Yuki Arimura (Meiji Univ.) - 13:55.01

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:17.68
2. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:18.82
3. Natsuki Morita (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:19.32
4. Arina Urakawa (Meijo Univ.) - 9:20.15
5. Sayuri Sendo (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:20.42

(c) 2011 Brett Larner

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