translated by Brett Larner
On the first day of competition at the National Corporate Track and Field Championships, Sept. 21 at Fukuoka's Hakatonomori Field, Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) won the men's 10000 m in 27:30.22 The top Japanese finisher, Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), was 4th in 27:41.57, the fastest time ever by a Japanese runner at the Championships. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Toyota) took the women's 10000 m in 31:33.76, with Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) 2nd, London Olympian Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) 3rd, and Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) 4th in 32:00.73.
Just 20, the unknown Hagiwara put on a show in the 10000 m. Running for Uniqlo in just her second year out of high school, Hagiwara challenged national record holders Kobayashi and Fukushi throughout the race, ultimately finishing just behind them in 4th. Just 155 cm, the diminutive new star's eyes were bright as she told reporters, "It was really exciting to be up there mixing it up with world-class people like that."
In just her second time running 10000 m Hagiwara didn't appear to have any kind of systematic approach. Running with rough, uncontrolled form, she opened running even with Kobayashi in pursuit of the fast-starting Fukushi. Running as a trio after overtaking Fukushi, with 1900 m Hagiwara surged ahead and was briefly the top Japanese runner in 2nd overall. Despite falling back in the final stage of the race she succeeded in taking a massive 30 seconds off her best time.
Former Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo head coach Hideo Suzuki has been coaching Hagiwara for two years. "At Uniqlo the coach is the famous one," Hagiwara said. "I want to help make the whole team one of the strongest and most famous."