Monday, April 9, 2012

Shitara Twins Top Weekend University Track Action

by Brett Larner

Along with Saturday's Kanaguri Memorial Meet where four men cleared 13:30 in the 5000 m, the weekend saw a number of small meets between Kanto-region university teams with the odd pro popping up in a few races.  Among the highlights:

2012 Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University's twin juniors Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara dominated the Five-University Meet at Daito Bunka University on Sunday.  Both brothers surged away from the field mid-race to take their events in new meet records, Keita with a 14:04.40 in the 5000 m to win by 8.62 seconds and Yuta with an 8:04.87 in the 3000 m to win by 8.00 seconds.

With a strong international debut in New York three weeks ago and a 10-mile win over marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) last weekend, next weekend Yuta will run on the Japanese national team at the World University XC Championships in Poland.

Nihon University's Kenyan senior Benjamin Gandu made easy work of the rest of the 5000 m field at Saturday's Nihon-Tokai Dual Meet, running a meet record 13:52.78 versus Tokai University runner-up Daichi Motomura's 14:06.58.  Nihon's new Kenyan first-year Daniel Mwiba Kitoni likewise took the 1500 m in a new meet record, running 3:48.34 to beat Tokai ace Akinobu Murasawa, who clocked 3:49.26.

Running in cushiony training shoes, Kenyan Johnson Kiumbani (Team Konica Minolta) won easily at the Setagaya Time Trials Meet 5000m, running 14:03.24 over a field including marathoner Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) and Koku Gakuin University star Natsuki Terada.

Most of the rest of Team Kanebo ran the 3000 m A-heat, with Daisuke Shimizu coming out on top in 8:06.33.  The heat was most notable for the return to competition of Kanebo's Tomoyuki Morita, running his first race since debuting at last month's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon in 2:09:12.  Morita was 3rd in 8:17.36.

A week ahead of the start of this season's Nittai University Time Trials series, Nittai faced off against Chuo University in another dual meet at Nittai.  Nittai juniors Takumi Honda and Shota Hattori ran good early-season sub-14 marks of 13:57.09 and 13:58.56 to go 1-2 in the men's 5000 m, each just a few seconds off his PB.  The Nittai-Chuo meet was the only one to feature substantial women's competition, with Nittai's Maki Ashi taking the women's 5000 m in 16:22.19.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Videos shot by Chris the Spitz and Kozai1802.

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