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Mathathi and Niiya Run 10000 m World Leaders at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner



2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist  Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) make the biggest news of the first day of the 2012 Hyogo Relay Carnival, running a world-leading 27:35.16 to win the Grand Prix 10000 m.  Mathathi ran together with Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) through much of the race after dropping a pack of Japanese athletes in search of Olympic A-standard times before turning it on late in the race to seal the win.  Mwaka was nearly run down by Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo), who fell short of getting the A-standard as he finished 3rd as the top Japanese in 27:50.50, his first time under 28.  The top three Japanese half-marathoners of the year so far took the next three spots but were unable to break 28 in their season openers.  Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) was the top collegiate in the Grand Prix race, 7th in a one-second PB of 28:22.29 just ahead of 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.).  Hakone star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) made his pro debut, 13th in 28:50.97, while London Olympics marathon squad member Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) ran his first race of the season, 23rd in 29:50.81.



Kubota was actually outrun for top collegiate of the day by Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University's Keita Shitara, who ran tough against the Kenyan lead pack in the Asics Challenge 10000 m to take thirty seconds off his PB and five seconds off Kashiwabara's Toyo record as he finished 3rd in 28:15.90.  His identical twin brother Yuta Shitara will no doubt be gunning for that mark this season.  Turning heads in the Asics Challenge race, the B-heat of the day, Sera H.S. standout Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) made his pro debut in style with a 27:58.02 win by four seconds over the experienced Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko).

At the award ceremony Mathathi made further news when he announced his plans for the year. As quoted by Nikkan Sports, Mathathi said, "I'm not going after the Olympics."  Instead, he will run his marathon debut in Fukuoka in December.  "Since it's my first marathon I won't be setting a time, just going for the win."  The Hyogo Relay Carnival continues Sunday with a competitive women's 10000 m among other highlights.



In the women's Grand Prix 10000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) continued her outstanding streak over the last year and a half with a world-leading 31:28.26 PB for the win, breaking the London Olympics A-standard by nearly twenty seconds.  After Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) ran alone up front for 2000 m, Niiya went to work and reeled her in.  The pair split 15:53 at halfway and ran together for 5000 m before Niiya turned it up a gear, running the second half in 15:35.  Chepyego faded and was overtaken by five-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic), who missed the A-standard but cleared 32 for the second time in her career.  Chepyego took 3rd in 32:05.04, seven seconds back from Yoshikawa but well clear of the rest of the field.  Niiya now holds A-standard times over both 5000 m and 10000 m and is a very strong candidate to be named to the London team on the track.

In other track action on Saturday, Nittai University ace Shota Hattori set a meet record 28:46.69 to win the men's 10000 m at the Four University Meet in Tokyo's southwestern suburbs.  Nittai runners swept the podium, all running PBs but Hattori.  Across the Pacific, five Japanese men tuned up for next weekend's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10000 m with runs in different heats of the Mt. SAC Relays 5000 m.  10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) was the top man of the day, dropping Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) over the last lap to win the Olympic Development Elite heat in 13:40.91, a replay of his national title win over Murasawa last year.  Sato's rival Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) was less successful in the Invitational Elite heat, 14th in 13:46.73 after going out near PB pace with the leaders.

2012 Hyogo Relay Carnival
Universiad Memorial Stadium, Kobe, 4/21/12
click here for complete results

Men's Grand Prix 10000 m
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:35.16
2. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 27:49.43
3. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 27:50.50 - PB
4. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 28:07.45
5. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:10.09
6. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 28:21.47
7. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:22.29 - PB
8. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 28:26.94 - PB
9. Kenta Murotsuka (SDF Academy) - 28:27.30
10. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:28.39

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 31:28.26 - PB
2. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 31:58.73
3. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 32:05.04
4. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 32:30.45 - PB
5. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:31.76
6. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:36.45 - PB
7. Megumi Hirai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:38.59 - PB
8. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 32:41.77
9. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:45.01 - PB
10. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 32:50.74

Men's Asics Challenge 10000 m
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 27:58.02 - PB
2. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 28:01.98
3. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:15.90 - PB
4. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:17.86
5. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 28:30.35

Women's Asics Challenge 5000 m
1. Sayuri Sento (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:59.31
2. Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) - 16:01.95
3. Ayako Mitsui (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:02.88

2012 Four-University Meet
Sagami Field, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 4/21/12

Men's 10000 m
1. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 28:46.69 - MR
2. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 29:07.06 - PB
3. Yutaro Fukushi (Nittai Univ.) - 29:10.64 - PB
4. Hisanori Nonaka (Tokai Univ.) - 29:22.23 - PB
5. Kiichi Yoshimura (Nittai Univ.) - 29:39.98

2012 Mt. SAC Relays
Walnut, California, 4/21/12
click here for complete results

Men's Elite Invitational 5000 m
1. Cameron Levins (Southern Utah Univ.) - 13:18.47
2. Lawi Lalang (Univ. of Arizona) - 13:18.88
3. David McNeill (U.S.A.) - 13:19.31
-----
14. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:46.73

Men's Olympic Development Elite 5000 m
1. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:40.91
2. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:43.68
3. Michael Crouch (Zap Fitness) - 13:44.67
-----
10. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 13:54.36

Men's Open-A 5000 m
1. Mauricio Gonzalez (Colombia) - 13:37.29
2. Keith Gerrard (Mizuno) - 13:50.06
3. Christo Landry (U.S.A.) - 13:52.66
-----
9. Ryohei Kawakami (Team Kanebo) - 14:03.54

Women's Invitational Elite 3000 mSC
1. Korene Hinds (Puma) - 9:42.27
2. Mason Cathay (U.S.A.) - 9:48.67
3. Lennie Waite (Team Rogue Elite) - 9:52.64
-----
8. Yoshika Arai (Team Edion) - 10:05.43

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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