Skip to main content

16-Year-Old Hyuga Endo's 13:50.51 Leads First Half of Hokuren Distance Challenge

by Brett Larner

Japan's major mid-summer distance series, the Hokuren Distance Challenge kicked off later than usual this week with meets in the towns of Shibetsu and Fukagawa on the northern island of Hokkaido, where distance runners from high school to pro head in the summer to escape the heat and put in mileage for the fall ekiden season.

At the series-opening Shibetsu Meet, the biggest news came in the men's 5000 m A-heat.  Last December Fukushima 10th-grader Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) exploded into the news with a 13:58.93, the fastest-ever 5000 m by a Japanese 16-year-old.  Now an 11th-grader but still 16 for another month, in Shibetsu Endo smashed his own record with a 13:50.51 PB to finish just behind 2014 Asian Games marathon silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi HPS), the 9th-best time ever by a Japanese high schooler and 2nd-best by an under-18 Japanese runner.  Hilsawat Mamiyo Nuguse (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki), a newcomer to the Japanese corporate leagues, won in 13:32.41.

Nuguse was back a few days later at the Fukagawa Meet to win a solid men's 10000 m, leading 7 Japan-based Africans under 28 with a 27:40.78 PB.  One of Japan's all-time great track and half marathon runners, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) returned from overdosing on the marathon in 2014 to finish as the top Japanese man in both the Shibetsu 5000 m and Fukagawa 10000 m, running 13:39.01 and 28:10.49.

#1 collegiate Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) won the men's 5000 m in Fukagawa in 13:34.48, just bettering past 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) who ran the second-best time of his season in 13:34.77.  6th-place Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) clocked 13:42.34, the 3rd-best time of 2015 so far by a Japanese collegiate.

The focus for women in the two meets was the Fukagawa 10000 m.  Two weeks ago Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) ran a 32:08.59 PB for 3rd at the National Championships, giving her a shot at a place on the Beijing World Championships team if she can break the 32:00.00 standard by August 2nd.  In Fukugawa Ohara was one of a small crew that followed Kenyan pacer Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) just under 32 minute pace, but Ohara soon showed signs of lingering fatigue from her big run at Nationals and dropped off the pace.  In the end only Kimanzi cleared 32, the up-and-coming Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) and Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), snubbed for the marathon team despite winning the Yokohama International Women's Marathon selection race, both clearing the 32:15.00 Rio de Janeiro Olympics qualification standard for the first time, Miyazaki in 32:07.43 and Tanaka in 32:08.74.  Ohara faded to 8th in 32:52.04, a serious blow to her chances of making the Beijing team.

The Hokuren Distance Challenge series continues July 12 in Kitami before wrapping up July 16 in Abashiri.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 7/5/15
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Hilsawat Mamiyo Nuguse (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki) - 13:32.41
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:35.44
3. Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:36.76
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:39.01
5. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi HPS) - 13:50.05
6. Hyuga Endo (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 13:50.51
7. Natsuki Terada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 13:51.28
8. Ryosuke Maki (Team Subaru) - 13:52.75
9. Hiroya Inoue (Jobu Univ.) - 13:55.47
10. Ayumu Sato (Team Mitsubishi HPS) - 13:55.80

Women's 5000 m
1. Rie Kawauchi (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 15:50.60
2. Kanayo Miyata (Team Yutaka Giken) - 15:50.96
3. Miyuki Oka (Team Denso) - 15:52.14
4. Nami Hashimoto (Team Denso) - 15:52.96
5. Akane Yabushita (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:56.64

Women's 3000 m
1. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 9:19.67
2. Chisaki Takegami (Canon AC Kyushu) - 9:27.31
3. Kanade Furuya (Matsuyama Univ.) - 9:28.58

Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet
Fukagawa, Hokkaido, 7/9/15
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Hilsawat Mamiyo Nuguse (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki) - 27:40.78
2. Hiram Ngatia (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:41.74
3. Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:43.59
4. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 27:45.69
5. Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 27:45.92
6. Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:49.46
7. Rodgers Shumo Kwemoi (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 27:59.52
8. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:10.49
9. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota) - 28:18.24
10. Shuhei Yamamoto (Team Toyota) - 28:18.54

Men's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Kento Otsu (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:45.09
2. Kodai Gozawa (Soka Univ.) - 28:51.87
3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) - 28:55.92
4. Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:58.18
5. Hiroki Kadota (Team Kanebo) - 28:59.44

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 13:34.48
2. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:34.77
3. John Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:38.67
4. Alexander Mutiso (Kenya/Team ND Soft) - 13:38.99
5. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 13:41.32
6. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 13:42.34
7. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:43.12
8. Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:44.00
9. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:44.78
10. Masaru Aoki (Team Kanebo) - 13:49.42

Women's 10000 m
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 31:57.35
2. Yuka Miyazaki (Team Kyudenko) - 32:07.43
3. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:08.74
4. Kaho Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:37.68
5. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 32:47.37
6. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 32:51.48
7. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 32:51.89
8. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 32:52.04
9. Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) - 32:54.46
10. Chiharu Suzuki (Team Hitachi) - 32:59.39

Women's 3000 m
1. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:00.57
2. Rika Toguchi (Team Route Inn Hotels) - 9:14.62
3. Nao Yamamoto (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:16.25
4. Yui Fukuda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:17.33
5. Miyuki Oka (Team Denso) - 9:19.40

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …