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Osako 13:20.80 at Nittai University Time Trials

by Brett Larner
video courtesy of Ekiden News



Among the seven major Japanese races and meets over the weekend, the Nittai University Time Trials meet featured a standout showing from 22-year-old Waseda University senior Suguru Osako.  Already in the all-time Japanese top five for 10000 m after a 27:38.31 runner-up finish at Stanford in the spring, Osako hung tough in the Nittai 5000 m A-heat against the likes of international-level Kenyans Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), Bidan Karoki (DeNA RC) and Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) to take seven seconds off his best with a new mark of 13:20.80, making him the all-time sixth-fastest Japanese man over 5000 m and the second-fastest Japanese collegiate ever behind only former Waseda star Kensuke Takezawa's 13:19.00.  Two-time World Junior 3000 mSC champion Ndiku took the win over Karoki in 13:14.97, with 2013 World XC Junior silver medalist Barsoton outkicking William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) and Osako for 3rd in 13:19.04.  Further back, Kento Hanazawa (Yachiyo Shoin Gakuin H.S.) ran 13:59.09 to join the growing ranks of sub-14 Japanese high schoolers.

Kenyan high schooler Miriam Waithera (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) took the women's 5000 m A-heat win in 15:33.47 over 2011 Japanese national 10000 m champion Kayo Asaba (Team Denso), formerly Kayo Sugihara.  Asaba's Denso teammates swept the top three spots in the women's 3000 m with Miyuki Oka first across the line in 9:18.36, setting Denso up for a strong showing at next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, the focus of the year for corporate league women.  Further south at the Shizuoka Long-Distance Time Trials meet the top-end of the women's 5000 m results were of similar quality, Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) taking the win in 15:37.89 over Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.).

Back at Nittai in the men's 10000 m, Ethiopian Mekashaw Kassa (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) took an easy in 28:30.73 win over a field that included four Team Subaru runners under 29 minutes. Three collegiates from minor Hakone Ekiden schools went under 28:40 led by Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.), 4th overall in a PB of 28:33.50.  Other noteworthy sub-29 performances included Ataru Otani of the Nanyo City Hall team, which earlier this month qualified for the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships for the first time, was 9th in 28:38.84, and Daisuke Uekado (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.), 12th in 28:48.22 to become the second university runner from outside the Hakone Ekiden-centered Kanto region to break 29 this season.  The explosive growth happening right now in Japanese university men's athletics looks as though it's not just limited to the power centers of Hakone.

234th Nittai University Time Trials
Nittai University, Yokohama, Nov. 16~17, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 31
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:14.97
2. Bidan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 13:15.75
3. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:19.04
4. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 13:19.83
5. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:20.80
6. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:27.38
7. Ronald Kemwoi (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 13:41.99
8. Charles Ndungu (Kenya/Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) - 13:44.53
9. Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13:46.17
10. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Nanyo City Hall) - 13:51.94
-----
13. Kento Hanazawa (Yachiyo Shoin Gakuin H.S.) - 13:59.09

Women's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Miriam Waithera (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 15:33.47
2. Kayo Asaba (Team Denso) - 15:37.63
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 15:40.58
4. Miki Sakakibara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:41.82
5. Aki Saito (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:42.16
6. Kanako Shimada (Team Uniqlo) - 15:42.81
7. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 15:43.69
8. Shiori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 15:44.10
9. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:44.19
10. Mayumi Hatakeyama (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:44.79

Men's 10000 m Heat 4
1. Mekashaw Kassa (Ethiopia/Team Yachio Kogyo) - 28:30.73
2. Keiji Akutsu (Team Subaru) - 28:31.72
3. Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 28:32.54
4. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:33.50
5. Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 28:34.29
6. Kenshi Sawano (Senshu Univ.) - 28:34.39
7. Shohei Kurata (Jobu Univ.) - 28:35.00
8. Kazuya Namera (Team Subaru) - 28:36.38
9. Ataru Otani (Nanyo City Hall) - 28:38.84
10. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:46.08

Women's 3000 m Heat 5
1. Miyuki Oka (Team Denso) - 9:18.36
2. Naoko Koizumi (Team Denso) - 9:19.24
3. Kaori Koriki (Team Denso) - 9:23.56
4. Yumika Miura (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:24.73
5. Mirai Waku (Nasutakuyo H.S.) - 9:26.04

Shizuoka Long-Distance Time Trials
Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m - Heat Two
1. Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:37.89
2. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:40.68
3. Misuzu Nakahara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:48.66
4. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 15:49.38
5. Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:56.84

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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