Skip to main content

Hokuren Distance Challenge Wraps Up In Abashiri

by Brett Larner

click here for complete results

The 2012 edition of the early-summer staple of the Japanese track circuit, the Hokuren Distance Challenge, wrapped up July 7 with a big night in Abashiri, Hokkaido.  Having missed out on the London Olympics team, women's 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) made her formal 10000 m debut in 32:21.03, finishing 2nd in the A-heat behind one of the year's leading Japanese women, Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex), who took the win in 32:17.58.  Eight women altogether broke 32:30, most for the first time.  6th place finisher Akiko Matsuyama (Team Panasonic) recorded an enormous PB of 32:27.23 ahead of her international road debut at the Great North 10 km.  Marathoners Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) were far down the field, 20th and 24th in 33:08.59 and 33:27.03 respectively.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was a showdown between newly Japan-based African talent, with first-year corporate and university ringers taking four of the top five spots.  Spectacularly-named Ethiopian Miliyon Zewdie (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) was the fastest of them, landing the top spot in 27:54.52.  A healthy distance back, 2010's top Japanese 10000 m and half-marathon man Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) taking the coveted top Japanese position for 6th in 28:10.81 just ahead of past 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B), continuing his comeback from a year and a half of injury troubles.

Ueno's fellow Saku Chosei H.S. graduate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), like Kobayashi having missed out on making the London team after a paper-thin 10000 m loss to another Saku Chosei grad, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), took the men's 5000 m A-heat in a solid 13:33.84, leading a collegiate charge that saw no less than eight university men break 14 in the heat, most in PB marks.  Komazawa University led the way with three A-heat finishers under 14.  Waseda's Yuki Maeda went sub-14 in the B-heat, giving it a total of three between the two heats.

The other fast race of the evening came in the women's 3000 m A-heat, where former high school Kenyan standout Beatrice Wainaina Murgi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) continued a solid debut pro season with a win in 9:03.76, more than four seconds clear of top Japanese woman Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) and Kenyan rival Rose Maranga (Team Toto).

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Kobayashi Wins London Bronze Without Hakone Experience While Hakone Veteran Kawauchi Fails to Make Top 8

The World Championships in athletics were first held in Helsinki, Finland in 1983. Up until the 1991 Tokyo World Championships they were held once every four years, but beginning with the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships they switched to an every other year format. London this year was the 16th edition. To date 68 men with Hakone Ekiden experience have competed in the World Championships, with three of them winning medals in the marathon.

In Tokyo in 1991 Hiromi Taniguchi became the first Japanese World Championships gold medalist, raising the excitement level at the games.  As a student at Nittai University Taniguchi had won the Hakone Ekiden's downhill Sixth Stage three years in a row from 1981 to 1983. As a fourth-year in 1983 he set a new stage record of 57:47. Course changes have rendered his record an historical artifact, but Taniguchi is still considered Hakone's greatest downhill runner.

At the 1999 Seville World Championships and 2005 Helsinki World Championships, …