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Zewdie Leads 11 Under 28:00, World Half Medalist Chepyego Runs 5000 m Best - Weekend Track Results (updated)

by Brett Larner
video and photos by Ekiden News

Second only to May's Prefontaine Classic, one of the world's few remaining ultra-deep 10000 m races went down Saturday in the misty mountains of Tokyo's western suburb of Hachioji at the Hachioji Long Distance Time Trials meet.  Japan-based Million Zewdie (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) ran a PB 27:36.35, the fastest time by an Ethiopian man in 2014, to lead 11 men sub-28 in one of the big tuneups for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships.  Right with him was Kenyan Bernard Kimani (Team Yakult) with a 27:36.60 PB for 2nd, while a few strides back Zewdie's teammate Kassa Mekashaw (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) added to the PB haul in 3rd in 27:38.93.

The biggest news from the Japanese point of view came in 4th, where Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), already the fastest Japanese collegiate ever with a 27:44.30 in the U.K. in 2011, ran 27:38.99 for 4th, all-time #5 in the Japanese record books and the fastest time ever run by a Japanese man inside Japan.  Sitting in the second pack paced by his former Sera H.S. teammate Bedan Karoki, Yoroizaka ran dead on pace for the 2015 Beijing World Championships qualifying time of 27:45 before closing with a 62-second final 400 m to become Japan's first man to pick up the Beijing standard.  Post-race he tweeted, "4 seconds to the Japanese national record, 1:20 to the world record...Still lots of work to do!!"

Behind him, three-time National University Men's Ekiden champion Komazawa University anchor Shinobu Kubota (Team Toyota) broke 28 for the first time, 8th in 27:54.25, while former Toyo University wonder twins Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) replicated their 2013 senior year feat of both running 27 in the same race, Keita 10th in 27:56.60 and Yuta 11th in 27:58.91.  2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University's then-captain Shota Hattori (Team Honda) led Heat 2 in 28:29.30.  5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) won Heat 4 in 28:48.84.  In Heat 6, 38-year-old Daniel Njenga (Team Yakult), a 2:06:16 marathoner way back in 2002, showed that he is still going strong with a 29:01.01 for 3rd.

The four additions bring Japan's sub-28 total for the year to 6 men.  With minor additions still possible at the Dec. 11 Zatopek: 10 in Australia and, more distantly, the Dec. 6 Nittai University Time Trials meet, 46 men worldwide have broken 28 minutes in 2014 so far:
Kenya: 20
Ethiopia: 6
Japan: 6
Uganda: 3
Eritrea: 2
U.S.A.: 2
other (1/country): 7
Of these 46 men 21 are based in Japan, 11 from Kenya, 4 from Ethiopia and all 6 Japanese.  5 of the other 6 heats in Hachioji also saw winning times under 29 minutes.  The 10000 m may be fading away in Europe and elsewhere in the money marathon era, but Japan is definitely the land where it lives on.

Hachioji was not the only big track meet of the weekend.  On the western island of Kyushu, 2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon bronze medalist Sally Kaptich Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) soloed a 15:08.31 PB at the Time Trial in Nagasaki meet, 2 seconds better than her previous best with 2nd-place Sakiho Tsutsui (Team Yamada Denki) running 15:48.35.  Northwest of Tokyo, Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) scored a rare win over his twin brother Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) at the Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials meet in Saitama, running a PB 28:51.43 for the win with Takashi, 2nd at the Ageo City Half Marathon in 1:02:03 two weeks ago, just over a second behind.  In Kyoto, Kotona Ota of 2014 National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University won the 10000 m in 33:24.73.  Aya Kuwabara (Bukkyo University) outran a large contingent from the Noritz corporate women's team to win the 5000 m in 16:10.99.  Sunday also saw its share of track action, with Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) running a PB 32:27.36 at home at the Chukyo University Time Trials meet to break into the all-time Japanese collegiate top ten.  Her teammate Yurika Kubo finished over a kilometer behind Shoji, 2nd in 35:54.69.

Hachioji Long Distance Time Trials
Hachioji, Tokyo, 11/29/14
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 1
1. Million Zewdie (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 27:36.35 - PB
2. Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 27:36.60 - PB
3. Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 27:38.93 - PB
4. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 27:38.99 - PB
5. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 27:40.95
6. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 27:48.08
7. Patrick Muendo Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 27:53.03
8. Shinobu Kubota (Team Toyota) - 27:54.25 - PB
9. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 27:55.27
10. Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:56.60
11. Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) - 27:58.91
12. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 28:00.05
13. Ayele Abanyeh (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 28:04.16
14. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:04.25 - PB
15. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota) - 28:15.36 - PB

Time Trial in Nagasaki
Nagasaki, 11/29/14
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Sally Kaptich Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:08.31 - PB
2. Sakiho Tsutsui (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:48.35
3. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 15:48.85
4. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:49.10
5. Sayaka Kurogi (Team Kyudenko) - 15:50.03 - PB

Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials
Heisei Kokusai University, Saitama, 11/29/14
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 3
1. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:51.43 - PB
2. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:52.78
3. Kazuki Uemura (Toyo Univ.) - 29:25.89
4. Noriyasu Ikeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:26.92 - PB
5. Kazuma Kitamura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:28.24 - PB

Kyoto Sangyo University Long Distance Meet
Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, 11/29/14
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Kotona Ota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:24.73
2. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 33:27.26
3. Kanae Imai (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:31:13
4. Natsumi Saito (Meijo Univ.) - 33:34.07
5. Yukako Ueno (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 33:35.75

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Aya Kuwabara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:10.99
2. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 16:14.14
3. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 16:15.72
4. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) - 16:15.86
5. Junko Katsuki (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:15.96

Chukyo University Saturday Time Trials
Chukyo University, Nagoya, 11/30/14
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 32:27.36 - PB
2. Yurika Kubo (Chukyo Univ.) - 35:54.69
3. Yuno Tomimatsu (Chukyo Univ.) - 36:11.34

text (c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
photos (c) 2014 Ekiden News, all rights reserved


Mike Peters said…
That was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had with track and field. To be in a track way out in the suburbs, in the magical mist surrounded by mountains and foliage, standing as close as Lane 3 on the curve watching some of the top runners in the world, free of admission duke it out on the tartan track was incredible. That A heat gave me the chills. Watching the two Ethiopian runners run a really patient and smart race moving up gradually and going 1-3 was awesome. Watching Bedan Karoki run an "easy" 10,000 for himself to help out all the 15th place was 28:15?!? We got the best running competition right here in our backyard in Japan!

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