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Big 10000 m on Deck at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner

The first big 10000 m on the Japanese track calendar, this weekend's Hyogo Relay Carnival is geared up to be a shot at World Championships entry standards and World University Games national team places.  The Grand Prix men's 10000 m features sub-27 world-level medalists Kenyans Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) and four others with sub-27:30 bests to pull the top Japanese men along to clear the 27:45.00 Beijing standard.  The only man to do it so far, Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) with a 27:38.99 last November in Hachioji, is not in the race, but two others who have cleared that time before, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) and Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) are, along with young stars who have come close like Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) and Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta).  Especially worth watching is Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta), who tied the 20 km national record earlier this year on the way to a 1:00:32 half marathon.

2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) leads the Grand Prix Women's 10000 m.  None of the four Japanese women who have already run Beijing qualifiers are on the entry list, leaving Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) in the top Japanese position at 32:11.21 followed closely by Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) in 32:15.20.  Under-20 marathon national record holder Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) sits mid-field at 32:24.38. At 1:09:27 this year's fastest Japanese woman over the half marathon, 2015 National Corporate Champion Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) is also in the race and should make a pretty serious improvement to her 32:45.86 best.  One of the women who has cleared the Beijing 10000 m standard, Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) with a 31:53.69 at last year's Hyogo Relay Carnival, will be in the Asics Challenge Women's 5000 m, where she and her Yamada Denki teammates Yuika Mori, Shiho Takechi and Sakiho Tsutsui dominate the entry list.

Things are deep enough on the men's front that the Asics Challenge 10000 m, effectively the B-heat, also has a solid field.  Patrick Mwaka (Team Aisan Kogyo) leads seven men with sub-28 bests at 27:30.32, with solid competition from this year's 5000 m world leader Hiram Ngatia (Toyota) who is bound to take a big chunk off his 28:25.25 best.  A good number of 2015 Hakone Ekiden stars will be making their pro 10000 m debuts in the Asics Challenge heat, including Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu), Shuho Dairokuno (Team Asahi Kasei) and twins Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei).

Many of the current top Hakone stars get their seasons started in the men's World University Games National Team Selection 10000 m.  2015 Hakone course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University fields its big four, Tadashi Isshiki, Yusuke Ogura, Kazuma Kubota and, making a return from a post-Hakone stress fracture should he start, Fifth Stage star Daichi Kamino.  Isshiki is already on the World University Games after winning March's profound National University Half Marathon Championships, as are 19-year-old Naoki Kudo (Komazawa University) who will be making his 10000 m debut after already running PBs of 13:52.97 and 1:02:12 in 2015, and alternate Ryo Shirayoshi (Tokai Univ.).  Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) is the only big name from outside the Hakone Ekiden-focused Kanto Region, seeded #4 with a best of 28:36.72.  The other main competition comes from senior Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.), who set a stage record at November's National University Ekiden Championships before a superb half marathon best of 1:01:37 in February.

63rd Hyogo Relay Carnival Entry List Highlights
Kobe, Hyogo, 4/25-26/15
click here for complete entry lists

Men's Grand Prix 10000 m
Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 26:49.41
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) - 26:52.36
Edward Waweru (Kenya/NTN) - 27:13.94
Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:20.74
James Mwangi (Kenya/NTN) - 27:23.66
William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:25.56
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 27:40.69
Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota) - 27:41.57
Kensuke Takezawa (Sumitomo Denko) - 27:45.59
Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 27:49.94
Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 27:51.54
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 28:01.71
Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 28:04.25
Shota Hattori (Honda) - 28:22.79
Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 28:23.34

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m
Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 31:22.11
Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:11.21
Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) - 32:15.20
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Universal Entertainment) - 32:16 (road)
Yurie Doi (Starts) - 32:16.05
Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Starts) - 32:22.14
Reia Iwade (Noritz) - 32:24.38
Megumi Hirai (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:38.59
Misato Horie (Noritz) - 32:40.82
Yukari Abe (Shimamura) - 32:41.38
Mao Kuroda (Wacoal) - 32:41.92
Michi Numata (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:45.86

Men's Asics Challenge 10000 m
Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 27:30.32
Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Toyota) - 27:38.18
Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 27:42.20
Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 27:42.35
Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 27:58.02
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 27:59.11
Yuki Matsuoka (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 27:59.78
Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 28:05.79
Ryo Yamamoto (SG Holdings) - 28:13.23
Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/ND Software) - 28:16.72
Hiram Ngatia (Kenya/Toyota) - 28:25.25
Charles Ndungu (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 28:36.77
Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 28:40.88
Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:43.93
Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:51.43

Men's World University Games National Team Selection 10000 m
Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:23.40
Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:27.73
Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:30.78
Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 28:36.72
Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:36.85
Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.) - 28:38.73
Yuki Muta (Meiji Univ.) - 28:43.20
Ryo Shirayoshi (Tokai Univ.) - 28:48.03
Koki Takada (Waseda Univ.) - 28:49.59
Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:51.98
Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 28:55.31
Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - debut

Women's Asics Challenge 5000 m
Mari Ozaki (Noritz) - 15:12.76
Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Denso) - 15:20.49
Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) - 15:25.58
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:25.50
Shiho Takechi (Yamada Denki) - 15:29.85
Saori Noda (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:37.74
Miho Ihara (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:41.67
Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:42.23
Chika Nakama (Aichi Denki) - 15:48.79
Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:46.47

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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