Skip to main content

Sasaki Wins Karatsu 10-Miler

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local_other/article/144411

translated by Brett Larner

The 55th Karatsu Road Race took place Feb. 8, starting and finishing at Karatsu Municipal Field in Saga.  Marathon national team member Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) took his first Karatsu win in the men's 10 miles division in 47:12, outkicking Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) and Naoki Kudo (1st yr., Komazawa Univ.).  Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) won the women's 10 km divison in 32:33, likewise her first Karatsu title.  Kiyoshi Koga (3rd yr., Tosu Kogyo H.S.) won the high school boys' 10 km in 29:48, while Yuki Yokoishi (3rd yr., Shiraishi H.S.) set a course record 16:48 in the high school girls' 5 km.

The win gave Sasaki momentum in his bid for the Beijing World Championships men's marathon team.  Sasaki ran mid-pack in the lead group until late in the race, unconcerned when other runners started throwing in surges with 2 km to go.  His own move to the front came with just 1 km left.  "My experience in the marathon helped me not to do the work up front, instead just riding the flow," he said.  "That was pretty much the way I thought the race was going to go."  With a new 10 mile PB by 6 seconds he was more than satisfied.

At the New Year Ekiden Sasaki ran the longest stage, the 22.0 km Fourth Stage, where he was only 15th, but after running mileage on a tough course at a training camp in Ayamachi, Miyazaki in mid-January his condition began to pick up.  "My results today were in line with my training and confirmed that I'm in good shape," he nodded.

Sasaki's next race is March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon where he hopes to make the World Championships team.  Last year he was 2nd in the Karatsu 10-Miler in preparation for Lake Biwa, where he ran a PB 2:09:47 for 2nd, the top Japanese finisher and his first time sub-2:10.  "Things are moving along the same way as last year," he said.  "This year I want to run 2:08 and be the top Japanese man, and I think that will get me to the World Championships."  The 29-year-old captain of the prestigious Asahi Kasei team is clearly confident of his chances.

In the high school boys' 10 km, Koga struggled with brutal 30 kph north winds but still came out with a PB by 4 seconds.  Koga held back for the first 3 km before taking advantage of a slight weakening of the headwind to take control of the race.  "I didn't run the kind of time I was hoping for, but I did achieve my goal of winning," he said happily.  After graduating next month he will join Fukuoka's Yasukawa Denki team where he hopes to run the New Year Ekiden.

The high school girls' 5 km came down to a photo finish, both of the top two getting the same time of 16:48 but coming down to a ruling that Yokoishi had crossed the line first.  Despite having set a new course record Yokoishi was disappointed, saying, "My target time was 16:20, so this wasn't good enough."  Following her graduation she will join the Kyudenko team in Fukuoka, where she hopes to continue to grow as an athlete.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Tanaka and Hashioka Win Gold - World U20 Championships Day Two Japanese Results

Working together to execute an aggressive frontrunning team strategy born from failure two years ago in Bydgoszcz, 2018 Asian U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka and 2018 Asian Junior Cross Country gold medalist Yuna Wada opened a massive lead over the African Junior Cross Country medalist Ethiopian duo of Meselu Berhe and Tsige Gebreselama in the early going of the Tampere World U20 Championships women's 3000 m. Tanaka took the lead from the gun before Wada went out front at 200 m to set a fast pace. Through splits of 3:00 and 3:03 for the first 2000 m, Tanaka kicked hard from 300 m out to close with a 2:51 for Japan's first-ever gold medal in the event, winning in a PB of 8:54.01.

Berhe and Gebreselama caught Wada on the back corner but weren't even close to matching Tanaka, taking 2nd and 3rd in PBs just under the 9-minute mark. Wada just held off Kenyan Jenali Jemutai Yego for 4th in 9:00.50, seeming happy in post-race interviews to have helped a teammate score gol…

Kamulu Runs 10000 m World Lead, Ahn Breaks Korean National Record, Tamura Clears 28 Minutes, Niiya Back on Track in Fukagawa

National records fell for the third meet in a row in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Longtime Japan resident Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) had a shockingly good run in the women's 10000 m A-heat, following up her 1:06:56 bronze medal run at the Valencia World Half Marathon Championships by lopping over a minute off her 10000 m best with a 2018 world-leading time of 30:41.85.

Kamulu lapped the entire field, her nearest competitor Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) returning from a 2:23:46 marathon PB in Osaka in January to take 30 seconds off her own best in 32:13.87. Further back, Seul Ki Ahn broke the South Korean national record set 13 years ago in Fukagawa with a new mark of 32:33.61. Ahn's NR followed the 2:25:41 NR set by Do Yeon Kim at the Seoul International Marathon in March, a miniature renaissance in South Korea women's distance running.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was also decently fast, Andrew Lorot (Subaru) leading fo…