by Brett Larner
Sato takes the lead. Click photo for complete photo sequence courtesy of the Rikubaka website.
Half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) made another step toward a comeback when he won the men's 8 km division at the 12th annual Hiroshima Cross-Country Meet on a hot and humid Aug. 20. Sato outran 2010 winner Peter Kariuki (Kenya/Team Mazda) and 2007 winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) over the final two km to take the win in 24:03 by a margin of 15 seconds. Gitau finished 2nd in 24:18, Kariuki taking 3rd in 24:21.
At the nearby Central Japan Five-Prefecture Track and Field Championships Gitau's teammate Kota Otani (Team JFE Steel) broke the 25-year-old meet record with a new mark of 8:53.13 in the men's 3000 mSC, while Otani's identical twin brother Kenta Otani (Team JFE Steel) won the men's 5000 m in a modest 14:23.67. Independent runner Kota Taniguchi (Tottori Pref.) almost broke the meet record in the steeple as well, finishing 2nd in 8:55.88 before returning 35 minutes later to finish 2nd in the 5000 m in 14:48.59. Kariuki's teammate Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) won the men's 10000 m in 29:47.23.
Further south at the Kyushu Track and Field Championships in Miyazaki, top-ranked high schooler Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) bypassed the junior 3000 m for the women's 5000 m, which she won in 16:38.19 a fraction of step ahead of pro Misako Kato (Team Kyudenko) who was 2nd in 16:38.26. Kyudenko runners also took the men's 5000 m and junior women's 3000 m, while local Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) won a competitive if not especially quick men's 10000 m in 29:55.47.
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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