Skip to main content

Tomoya Onishi Makes Surprise Comeback With Kitami 5000 m Win

by Brett Larner

click here for complete results

In his first serious race since winning the 2011 New Year Ekiden national championships First Stage, 2010's top Japanese 10000 m and half-marathon man Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) made a successful and surprising comeback after a year and a half of injury troubles as he won the July 4 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet men's 5000 m in 13:46.06, just six seconds off his best.  Onishi ran up front much of the way with Korea ace Seungho Park and equally injury-hampered former Komazawa University standout Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu), taking the lead for good after Park dropped out.  Onishi's performance signaled hope for improvement on the promising 27:50.72 and 1:01:31 marks he recorded in 2010 and a not-too-distant marathon debut.  His twin brother, former Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University captain Kazuki Onishi (Team Kanebo), ran the same heat but was far off form as he finished 19th of 20 in 14:28.13.

The Onishi twins' former Toyo teammate, Hakone star Ryuji Kashiwabara, now a teammate of Hoshi's at Fujitsu, was 3rd behind Team S&B's Yuichiro Ueno and Yuta Takahashi, Ueno taking the win in 8:05.63.  Showing the degree to which all things are interconnected, in the men's 1500 m Hoshi's former Komazawa teammate Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota), ran a PB of 3:42.53 for 2nd behind Korean Sang Min Sin who clocked 3:42.41.

In the women's races 2011 national champion Team Daiichi Seimei's Eina Yokosawa continued her recent progression as she outran Kenyans Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) and Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) for the 5000 m win in a PB 15:37.27, making the Japanese women's top ten so far this year.  Team Sysmex's Ai Igarashi likewise continued a strong year as she won the 3000 m in a PB of 9:07.21, her teammate Seika Nishikawa taking 2nd in 9:19.33.

The 2012 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wraps up Saturday in Abashiri.  The men's 5000 m looks like the hottest race of the day, with a field including Takabayashi, 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Suguru Osako, Kenyan high school sensation Charles Ndungu (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) and many more.  Tomoya Onishi is set to run the 10000 m A-heat in a tough field including one of Japan's top young prospects, Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota).

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…