Skip to main content

Weekend Track Roundup - A National Record for Suzuki, Fast Veterans and Faster High Schoolers

by Brett Larner

Japan's track circuit was busier than usual this weekend with the move of the National Corporate Track and Field Championships from mid-September this year along with time trial meets nationwide as teams prepare for ekiden season.  At the Corporate Championships, Team Kyudenko's Kenyan ringers Selly Chepyego Kaptich and Paul Tanui were the stars of the show, doubling with wins in the fastest heats of the 5000 m and 10000 m.  Chepyego, the Copenhagen World Half Marathon bronze medalist started things off on Friday night with a 31:38.54 win over Asian Games 10000 m bronze medalist Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), who ran a PB 31:41.80, the best time this year by a Japanese woman, to lead three Japanese women under the Beijing World Championships standard of 32:00.00.  Chepyego returned Sunday to win the 5000 m in 15:14.45 just ahead of ascendant first-year pro Ayuko Suzuki (Team JP Post) whose 15:14.96 was also the best this year by a Japanese woman.  Hagiwara took 3rd in 15:24.56.

On the men's side, Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Tanui had a close one against 2013 World XC junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin), winning in 27:17.82 to Barsoton's 27:20.74 PB.  All told five Kenyans and two Ethiopians broke 28 minutes, with former Tokai University ace Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota) taking the top Japanese position at 10th in 28:23.64.  Like Chepyego, Tanui was back on Sunday to win the fastest 5000 m heat in 13:22.51 for the double national title.

Other distance news at the Corporate National Championships came in the junior women's 3000 m, where Aomori Yamada H.S. graduate Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Team Starts) ran a meet record 8:48.44 to win by 19 seconds.  In other events, Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) became the first Japanese man to go under 39 minutes in the 10000 m racewalk, taking over 40 second off the old mark to set a new national record of 38:27.09.  Team Sumitomo Denko set a men's 4x100 m relay meet record 38.94, with runner-up Mizuno also under the old record.  Asian Games men's 3000 mSC 4th-place Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) made up for his disappointment and just missing the medals in Incheon, winning in 8:34.37.  London Olympics men's javelin throw competitor Genki Dean (Mizuno), struggling with injury since going pro, did not start in the javelin but instead turned up in the discus, finishing 14th of 18 with a throw of 42.28 m.

Elsewhere, 39-year-old Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz), the world record holder for most sub-16 minute 5000 m performances, added at least #76 to her legacy with a 15:54.91 win at the Nighter Time Trial in Marugame.  Virtually all of the other women in the top ten were high school or collegiate athletes half her age, several of them also breaking 16 minutes.  The best high school performances came at the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials meet, where Toyokawa H.S. senior Azusa Sumi and Tokiwa H.S. junior Harumi Okamoto just missed joining the small Japanese sub-9 club in the 3000 m, battling to the line with Sumi winning in 9:00.89 and Okamoto 2nd in 9:00.91.  Both bumped 2014 Youth Olympics 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) out of the all-time Japanese high school top five, Sumi coming in at 4th and Okamoto at 5th.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Named Captain of Japanese National Team for London World Championships

At a JAAF event at the British Embassy in Tokyo on July 21, marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (30, Saitama Pref. Gov't) was named men's captain of the Japanese national team for next month's London World Championships. Javelin throw national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was chosen as women's captain.

In a wide-ranging and impassioned speech 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, Kawauchi stoked the team's morale as he told attendees, "I think that there are athletes here today who look at London as just a checkpoint along the way to the Tokyo Olympics. But as a representative of Japan it is not enough just to be there competing. I feel it strongly. You must produce results at this event, the London World Championships. This is the task assigned to each and every one of us. It is critical that we work seriously to achieve our goals. The Japanese people want nothing less. What can we as athletes do for them? More than just wearing the uniform, each of us mus…

'$500,000 USD Prized Asian Premier Marathon Series 2017-18 Launched in Beijing'

http://athleticsasia.org/index.php/k2-component/143-500-000-usd-prized-asian-premier-marathon-series-2017-18-launched-in-beijing

A very interesting World Marathon Majors-style development with prize money only for Asian athletes. Equally interesting is the absence of a Japanese race in the series. Japanese marathoners would dominate the series if they ran its three component races, their only real current competition in Asia coming from East African-born Bahraini athletes.

Hayakawa and Ichiyama Win Shibetsu Half

2nd in 2015 and 3rd last year, Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) finally succeeded in scoring 1st at the Shibetsu Half Marathon, outrunning 2013-14 winner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) by 6 seconds to win in 1:03:38. Hayakawa pushed it from the early stages of the race, Imai the only one to try to stay with him but ultimately losing touch. 2016 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) was 3rd in 1:03:51.

士別ハーフマラソン
日差しが強くなってきました…💦 pic.twitter.com/qRfUei3aRt — はたのまき (@machakin77) July 23, 2017
The women's field was split between two distances, 10 km and half marathon. Kanako Takemoto (Daihatsu) won the 10 km in 34:27 by a margin of almost 10 seconds over an Otsuka Seiyaku trio led by Ayaka Inoue. 2017 National Cross-Country champion and last year's 10 km runner-up Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the top spot in the half marathon, outrunning teammate and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi and others to win in 1:14:01. Fukushi finished 4th in 1:15:41 behind last ye…