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Tokumoto, Aizu, Hoshi, Sugihara Top Weekend Road Action; 8 High Schoolers Sub-30

by Brett Larner

Two of Japan's big spring 10-milers took place this weekend, the Himejijo Road Race on Saturday and the Karatsu Road Race on Sunday.  In Himeji, two-time 5000 m national champion Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin) won his second road race of the year, outkicking Takuji Morimoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) to win the men's 10 mile race in 47:34.  It was also his second time winning Himejijo, having taken top honors at the 2006 race.  Tokumoto plans to run next month's Biwako Mainichi Marathon before leaving Nissin to take a university coaching position.  In the women's 5 km, Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) had an easy win in 16:17, 11 seconds ahead of teammate Yuka Tagahara.

Sunday's Karatsu Road Race proved to be the bigger of the two.  In the men's 10 mile race, Komazawa University graduate Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) had the first big result of his pro career, outkicking double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) to take the win in 47:00.  At Komazawa Hoshi was part of a powerful quartet with fellow '10 classmates Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta).  Sidelined by injuries his senior year, Hoshi has been all but forgotten as Fukatsu, Takabayashi and Ugachi have gone on to dominate the pro circuit, but his win in Karatsu suggests he is close to returning his name to a position alongside those of his former teammates.

2011 women's 10000 m national champion Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) had a good run to win the women's 10 km in 33:03, with Miku Kakimoto (Kyushu Prep H.S.) winning the high school girls' 5 km in 16:56.  Despite most of the country's top high school runners being in Chiba for the Chiba International XC Meet the high school boys' 10 km was outstanding, with Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) leading a record eight high schoolers under 30 minutes as he won a photo finish against rival Yugo Muroi (Nihon Bunri Prep H.S.) in 29:37.

2012 Himejijo Road Race
52nd running, Himeji, Hyogo, 2/11/12
click here for complete results

Men's 10 Miles
1. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 47:34
2. Takuji Morimoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 47:36
3. Shinichi Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 47:57
4. Masashi Kitagawa (Team Toenec) - 48:03
5. Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 48:09

Women's 5 km
1. Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 16:17
2. Yuka Tagahara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 16:28
3. Asaka Iwai (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 16:36

2012 Karatsu Road Race
52nd running, Karatsu, Saga, 2/12/12

Men's 10 Miles
1. Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 47:00
2. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 47:02
3. Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 47:06
4. Kiragu Njuguna (Kenya/Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 47:11
5. Yuya Ito (Team Toyota) - 47:21

Women's 10 km
1. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 33:03
2. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 33:12
3. Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 33:13

High School Boys' 10 km
1. Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 29:37
2. Yugo Muroi (Nihon Bunri Prep H.S.) - 29:37
3. Kenya Anan (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 29:44

High School Girls' 5 km
1. Miku Kakimoto (Kyushu Prep H.S.) - 16:56
2. Miki Hirai (Shiraishi H.S.) - 16:56
3. Rie Uchida (Shiraishi H.S.) - 17:01

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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