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Hokuren Distance Challenge Kicks Off in Shibetsu

by Brett Larner

Rain and wind greeted the first in the 2013 Hokuren Distance Challenge series June 26 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido, combining with a shortage of top-tier domestic names to produce few noteworthy results.  NTN Kenyan Edward Waweru's 7:47.02 win the men's 3000 m was the most competitive run of the day, ranking him just outside the top ten worldwide this year with the Koichi Morishita-coached Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) just behind in 7:48.31.  2012 national 5000 m champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) was 4th in 8:06.39.

Little-known William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda), brought to Japan last year by coach Stephen Mayaka to run for tiny Sozo Gakuin University before jumping ship for the corporate leagues this year, had a win the men's 5000 m A-heat over the likes of 2011 World XC silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko).

This year's 1500 m national champion Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) partially redeemed his 4:02.32 winning time at the National Championships earlier this month with a 3:47.21 win in Shibetsu, while Payton Jordan 10000 m 3rd-place Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) turned in the key women's result of the day, winning the 5000 m A-heat in 15:49.19.

The Hokuren Distance Challenge continues Saturday in Fukagawa with an emphasis on 10000 m.  Two more meets follow in early July.

2013 Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet Highlights
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 6/26/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 13:39.01
2. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:40.29
3. Agato Yashin Hasen (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) - 13:43.53
4. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:45.26
5. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:46.53

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 15:49.19
2. Yuka Ando (Team Tokinosumika) - 15:52.24
3. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 16:00.30
4. Satomi Ueta (Team Toto) - 16:02.56
5. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:05.26

Men's 3000 m
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 7:47.02
2. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 7:48.31
3. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 8:05.33
4. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 8:06.39
5. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:09.37

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 9:14.37
2. Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:15.58
3. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 9:16.21
4. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 9:16.88
5. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:18.92

Men's 1500 m
1. Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:47.21
2. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:47.37
3. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 3:48.64

Women's 1500 m
1. Mary Waithera (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:22.64
2. Haruka Mochizuki (Team Yutaka Giken) - 4:24.83
3. Miyuki Gokan (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:25.12

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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