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10000 m, 10 Miles and a Run Up the Mountain - Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

It’s another big weekend of racing in Japan with the main action split evenly between track, road racing and ekiden. Saturday’s Hachioji Long Distance meet in western Tokyo is the pick of the weekend, with 22 men with sub-28 minute bests and another half dozen a few seconds off or debuting in the 10000 m A-heat, the Africans in prep for the New Year Ekiden and the Japanese runners taking a shot at Rio Olympic marks and the Japanese national record. 2013 World XC Jr. silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) leads the way with a 27:20.74 best with Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), all-time Japanese #5 over 10000 m at 27:38.99, heading the Japanese contingent off a 5000 m national record-breaking 13:12.63 this summer. Ekiden fans will be most closely watching 5000 m national university champion Hazuma Hattori who is targeting sub-28 in hopes of making next year’s Olympic team during his senior year at 2015 National University Ekiden champion Toyo University. The A-heat entry list:

Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) – 27:20.74
James Mwangi (Kenya/NTN) – 27:23.66
William Malel (Kenya/Honda) – 27:25.56
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Sunbel’x) – 27:26.56
Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) – 27:33.14
Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Yakult) – 27:36.60
Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) – 27:37.72
Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Toyota) – 27:38.18
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) – 27:38.99
Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) – 27:40.43
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) – 27:40.69
Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) – 27:42.09
Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) – 27:42.20
Yuta Shitara (Honda) – 27:42.71
Johana Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) – 27:45.69
Agato Yashin Hassan (Ethiopia/Chuo Hatsujo) – 27:46.35
Akinobu Murasawa (Nissin Shokuhin) – 27:50.59
Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) – 27:51.54
Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Sunbel’x) – 27:53.00
Daniel Maemba (Kenya/Toyota Boshoku) – 27:53.19
Shinobu Kubota (Toyota) – 27:54.25
Alexander Mutiso (Kenya/ND Software) – 27:56.87
Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) – 28:04.25
Kenta Murozuka (DeNA) – 28:04.40
Minato Oishi (Toyota) – 28:04.65
Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) – 28:05.79
Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) – 28:12.31
Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) – 28:13.17
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) – 28:15.36
Naohiro Domoto (JR Higashi Nihon) – 28:16.92
Keita Baba (Honda) – 28:23.93
Yuta Takahashi (DeNA) – 28:30.51
Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) – 28:55.31
John Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) – 29:23.44
David Njuguna (Kenya/Yakult) – 29:37.91
Abiyot Abinet (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) – debut
Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - debut
Teressa Nyakora (Ethiopia/Mazda) – debut

Traditionally held the same day as the Fukuoka International Marathon, this year the Kumamoto Kosa 10 Mile Road Race, the world’s #1 10 miler, has been scheduled a week earlier. Most of Japan’s top pros who are not in Hachioji will be running it in a tune-up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden. With the likes of Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), all-time #4 Japanese for the half marathon at 1:00:50 and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), all-time #3 Japanese for 10000 m at 27:38.25, in the field it could be a fast day even if the 45:40 national record would be a stretch. 2:07:39 marathoner Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) is also on the entry list for what would be his first race since pulling out of August’s World Championships marathon due to meningitis.

The accompanying women’s 5 km is topped by national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), fresh from her elevation to winner status at the 2013 Osaka International Women’s Marathon following yesterday’s suspension of Ukrainian Tetiana Shmyrko for biological passport violations. With any luck Fukushi will celebrate by knocking a few seconds off her relatively weak 15:32 record. 10 mile entry list highlights:

Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Kenya/Toyota Kyushu) - 27:28.27 10000 m
Edwin Mokua (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) – 27:38 road 10 km
Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) – 27:38.25 10000 m
Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) – 1:00:50 half marathon
Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) – 1:01:15 half marathon
Fikadu Haftu (Ethiopia/Yasukawa Denki) – 1:01:50 half marathon
Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) – 2:07:39 marathon
Kazuhiro Maeda (Kyudenko) – 2:08:00 marathon
Kohei Matsumura (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) – 2:08:09 marathon
Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) – 2:08:35 marathon
Suehiro Ishikawa (Honda) – 2:09:10 marathon
Masanori Sakai (Kyudenko) – 2:09:10 marathon
Tomoya Adachi (Kyudenko) – 2:09:59 marathon
Ryuji Kashiwabara (Fujitsu) – Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage legend

Sunday also sees the newest addition to the university women’s ekiden calendar, the Nikko Irohazaka University Women’s Ekiden in Nikko, Tochigi. Almost perfectly matching the Hakone Ekiden’s uphill Fifth Stage in length and elevation profile, the all-uphill Irohazaka splits the 23.4 km distance into six stages with a net climb of 875 m. After its first running last year proved popular it is back with a larger field of university and alumni teams drawing heavily from the Kanto Region but including Kansai’s Osaka Geidai University and Kansai Gaikokugo University. Last year Tokyo Nogyo University had a surprise win over favorites Daito Bunka University, 1:30:21 to 1:32:43, with Osaka Geidai a close 3rd in 1:32:53. With all three teams back, Daito Bunka off a 2nd-place finish at last month’s Morinomiyako Ekiden, it should be another good race made unpredictable by the effects of the climb. If its popularity continues to grow Irohazaka will ideally increase its national scale with more teams from Kansai and western Japan to become an equal partner with Morinomiyako and December’s Mt. Fuji University Women’s Ekiden in giving Japan’s university women a Big Three ekiden season in parity with the university men’s massively popular Big Three.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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