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21-Year-Old Shitara Twins Sub-28 at Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m

by Brett Larner
photo by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
video by Ekiden News

Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University's identical twin stars Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara delivered a piece of history Saturday in the men's 10000 m at Japan's best spring meet, the Golden Games in Nobeoka.  Running steadily, patiently and under control behind 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and grinding down all other competition, Keita, who earlier this season set the Japanese collegiate 30 km record of 1:29:55 in Kumamoto, kicked away from Mathathi with 200 m to go to win in a meet record 27:51.54, breaking the legendary Toshihiko Seko's age 21 best of 27:51.61. Mathathi also cleared the old record in 27:52.65.  Right with them until the last surge, Yuta, who last year set a stage record at the Hakone Ekiden, outkicked World Half Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.) at the New York City Half Marathon for the fastest-ever half marathon by a Japanese man on U.S. soil and won silver at the World University XC Championships, took third in 27:54.82 to achieve what greats including Shigeru and Takeshi Soh and Takayuki and Yuko Matsumiya could not: Japan's first-ever sub-28 clockings by identical twins, as of this writing apparently only the second time the feat has been accomplished in world history behind Portugal's Castro twins in 1988.  Post-race the twins' coach Toshiyuki Sakai, himself part of a set of identical twins, told JRN, "Twins running 27 minutes has a profound meaning.  They were great."


The men's 10000 m starts at 50:15.  See 18:45 for the women's 5000 m A-heat.

So great that the other results of the day seem distant in comparison.  2013 National Collegiate Half Marathon champion and World University Games half marathon squad leader Shogo Nakamura of National University Ekiden course record holder Komazawa University ran a strong 28:05.79 PB for 4th, just missing the World Championships B-standard but beating past 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC), who recorded a best of 28:09.56 for 5th.  Nakamura's teammate Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), 10th at this year's New York City Half Marathon and likewise bound for the World University Games in the 10000 m, faltered from joining the Shitaras under 28 and faded to 6th in 28:21.53.

The men's 5000 m D-Heat begins at 35:00.

Alongside the Shitaras and Mathathi, two other events saw athletes hit Moscow World Championships B-standard marks.  In the women's 5000 m A-heat, Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) ran a sizeable PB of 15:21.41 for the win and the B-standard.  #1-ranked Japanese high schooler Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) was next across the line in a solid best of 15:33.21 a breath ahead of pro Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura), 3rd in 15:33.25.  In the men's 5000 m D-heat, the designated event for the majority of the Japan-based Africans, Toshinari Takaoka-coached steepler Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) ran a best of 13:18.72 to win with the B-standard.  2013 World XC Jr. silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran a PB of 13:26.21 but could do no better than 5th.  In other men's 5000 m heats, Moscow World Championships marathon team members Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) continued their buildup with 13:52.66 and 14:03.76 shakeouts.

2013 Golden Games in Nobeoka
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, May 11, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 27:51.54 - MR, PB
2. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:52.65 (MR)
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 27:54.82 - PB
4. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:05.79 - PB
5. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 28:09.56 - PB
6. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:21.53
7. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:54.95
8. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:55.65
9. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 29:08.99
10. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 29:27.62

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:21.41 - PB
2. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 15:33.21 - PB
3. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 15:33.25 - PB
4. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:34.40
5. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Team Toto) - 15:36.07 - PB
6. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:36.90 - PB
7. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:37.30 - PB
8. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 15:42.65
9. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 15:51.63
10. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei)- 15:51.79

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Wataru Ueno (Team Honda) - 13:46.86
2. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 13:47.60
3. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.35
4. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:55.19
5. Hiroyuki Ono (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:58.54

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:49.59 - PB
2. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:51.14
3. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 13:52.66
4. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:53.67
5. Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:55.08

Men's 5000 m C-Heat
1. Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:56.75
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:57.63
3. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:58.47
4. Noriaki Takahashi (DeNA RC) - 13:58.67
5. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:58.69
-----
9. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 14:03.76

Men's 5000 m D-Heat
1. Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 13:18.72 - PB
2. Zewdie Million (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:20.73 - PB
3. Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 13:22.15 - debut
4. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:24.50 - PB
5. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:26.21 - PB

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

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© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved