Skip to main content

Weekend Track Update - Kiryu Makes University Debut, A Meet Record in Kyoto and More

by Brett Larner
videos by toyosina2008komazawaOB and Ekiden News

Track season continued to build up momentum with the first Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama and a handful of other meets around the country.

The biggest news of the weekend was the debut of teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu in the Toyo University uniform. Kiryu ran third for Toyo's 4x100 m relay team at the Iwakabe Cup Eight University meet in Tokyo.  Starting his leg mid-pack Kiryu easily blew past the competition to put Toyo out front, but on the anchor leg national university record holder Chuo University retook the lead and pulled away for the win. Nevertheless, in his first race Kiryu helped the Toyo team take the school record from 39.99 to 39.69, a sure sign of what's to come. Post-race the entire Chuo team gave him a round of applause.

Kiryu's long distance teammates stayed at home in Saitama for the Five University Meet hosted by Daito Bunka University.  Strong winds prevented fast times, but in his first race since setting the 30 km national university record of 1:28:52 at February's Kumanichi Road Race Toyo's #1 man Yuma Hattori got his junior year off to a good start with a comfortable 5000 m A-heat win in 14:05.21 by a margin of more than five seconds.

His younger brother Hazuma Hattori nearly got the win in the 3000 m A-heat, coming up just short of running down Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), the identical twin of World Half Marathon Championships team leader Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.). Kota Murayama started the race very slow with a considerable gap between him and the pack before gradually building up the pace and making a break for the win with more than two laps to go, obviously a reaction to his performance at last weekend's Kanaguri Memorial Meet where he went out at national record pace in the 5000 m A-heat and finished last.  Murayama took the win in 8:15.33 with Hattori just a couple of strides behind.

Bad weather also impacted the West Japan Time Trials in Fukuoka, where 2014 Toyo grad Kento Otsu made his debut with the Koichi Morishita-coached Toyota Kyushu team.  Ethiopian Melaku Abera (Team Kurosaki Harima) had no trouble leading the race to the win despite conditions of extreme rain, finishing in 14:20.03 almost eight seconds ahead.  Otsu was 5th in 14:31.64, the third Toyota Kyushu man across the line.

Better weather earlier in the weekend meant decent times in Kyoto, where Bukkyo University senior Sayaka Kuwahara raced Kyoto Sangyo University's Yukiko Okuno to the 10000 m meet record, both breaking the old record with Kuwahara getting the win in 33:31.32.  2013 national champion Ritsumeikan University's top placer in the 10000 m was only 4th, but in the 5000 m its second years swept the podium in a near-photo finish, Natsuki Omori taking 1st in 15:53.20.  The men's 10000 m also saw a meet record as the elite Kyoto University's Kentaro Hirai won in 29:42.66.

For contrast and insight into the impact of January's Hakone Ekiden, exclusively for Tokyo-area Kanto Region schools, the first Nittai University Time Trials meet of the season saw eight university men break 29 minutes for 10000 m, almost all in PB times.  Meiji University's Ken Yokote started his junior year with a 20-second PB of 28:38.73, his teammate Kei Fumimoto just behind in 28:39.40, his best by eight seconds.

Times were also decent in the 5000 m A-heat, where another Ethiopian, Miliyon Zewdie (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) led the way in 13:28.81, the second-fastest outdoor time in the world so far this year.  2012-2013 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) was the top Japanese man in the 5000 m, 5th overall in 13:43.61 in his first real race since an injury at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden scuttled his plans to run February's Tokyo Marathon.

The women's races at Nittai were very thin, the top result going to Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi), 1st in the 3000 m A-heat in 9:12.23.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

videos (c) 2014 their respective owners
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

1500 m Olympian Assefa Wins Nagoya, 22-Year-Old Sekine 2:23:07 Debut

Two-time 1500 m Olympian Meskerem Assefa (Ethiopia) ran down favorite Valary Jemeli (Kenya) with 4 km to go to win the 2018 Nagoya Women's Marathon, with the home town crowd wowed by the debut of the latest next big thing, 22-year-old Hanami Sekine (Japan Post).

Supported by three pacers, a lead pack of seven including Assefa, Jemeli, Sekine, Ethiopian Bahraini Merima Mohamed, Saitama International Marathon winner Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) and top-ranked Japanese women Reia Iwade (Dome) and Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) went through halfway in a decent 1:11:32. This proved too hot for a few of the past next big things to have run well in Nagoya the last few years, as Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu), 2:22:48 in Nagoya three years ago, and Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), 2:23:47 last year, were off the back of the pack in the first 10 km.

By 25 km Cheyech, Ohara and Iwade joined them off the back, leaving only Sekine in contention with the African trio of Jemeli, Assefa and Mohammed. Sekine, a…

Japan Dominates Asian Cross Country Championships

Japan dominated the 14th Asian Cross Country Championships Thursday in Guiyang, China, winning all four team gold medals to hold the hosts China back to silver in every race.

Japan's only individual gold came in the Junior Women's race, one of its usual areas of strength. Yuna Wada led a Japanese sweep of the top four positions to win the 6 km race in 20:43 with scoring teammates Ririka Hironaka and Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu just behind.

Wada Yuna of Japan wins Junior Women’s 6km cross country race of 14th Asian Cross Country Championship . Japan also won Team championship — Asian Athletics (@asianathletics) March 15, 2018
With the meet also serving as China's National Championships Chinese athletes won the individual gold in the other three races, Dan Li, Cairen Suolong and Jianhua Peng all showing better closing speed to beat their Japanese rivals by 3~4 seconds. Li won the Senior Women's 8 km by 3 seconds over Japan's Yukari Abe, leadi…

Japan Names Asian Games Marathon Team

On Mar. 16 the JAAF announced the Japanese marathon team for this August's Jakarta Asian Games. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) make up the men's squad, with Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) and Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) named to the women's team.

A member of the Japanese national team for last summer's London World Championships, Inoue ran an all-time Japanese #4 time of 2:06:54 at February's Tokyo Marathon, the 2nd-placing Japnaese man behind national record setter Yuta Shitara (Honda). Sonoda ran a PB of 2:09:34 to finish in the top Japanese position at 2nd overall earlier in February at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

The silver medalist at November's Asian Championships marathon, Nogami was 5th earlier this month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:26:33. Tanaka was next behind her in Nagoya in 6th in 2:27:40, the only member of the Asian Games team not to have yet qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials race. A meda…