by Brett Larner
Hot and windy across the country, it was a busy weekend on the corporate circuit with four regions holding their spring track championships, a high-level time trial meet and one decent result overseas.
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment) turned in the fastest women’s 10000 m of the weekend, running 32:04.11 to win the East Japan corporate region. Hisami Ishii (Team Yamada Denki) was next across the line, just missing the Rio standard in 32:16.60 but scoring the fastest Japanese time in the four corporate meets. Already on the Rio team in the marathon, Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) won the Kansai region women’s 10000 m in 33:02.94.
The fastest women’s 5000 m also came in East Japan as Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya/Team Starts) took the A-heat in 15:23.10. 4th-placer Sayaka Kuwahara (Team Sekisui Kagaku), returning from a solid 2:25:09 marathon debut in Nagoya in March, ran 15:44.99, topping the 15:46.40 time of Kansai region winner Mizuki Matsuda (Team Daihatsu). Several regions also featured a women’s 3000 m. East Japan again topped the list, Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) taking the win in 9:07.27. Kyushu region winner Hana Omori (Team Toto) set a meet record 9:15.75, just a fraction of a second slower than East Japan runner-up Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi).
Two-time World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) dropped the weekend’s fastest men’s 10000 m, winning the Kyushu region in 27:30.59. For the second time this month the year’s #1-ranked Japanese man Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) tried to run with Tanui in hopes of clearing the sub-28 Rio standard but dropped off over the second half of the race, eventually finishing 3rd in 28:22.67 as the top Japanese man. Ichida’s time was also the best Japanese mark of the weekend both he and teammate Keijiro Mogi (Team Asahi Kasei) outclassing top East Japan man Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) who ran only 28:38.94.
John Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) dueled with William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) and Alexander Mutiso (Kenya/Team ND Software) in East Japan to produce the three fastest men’s 5000 m times of the weekend, 13:31.26, 13:32.97 and 13:34.11. The Chukyo University Saturday Time Trials meet 5000 m was expected to go out on pace to hit the 13:25.00 Rio standard for the benefit of 2015 national university champion Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) who skipped the Kanto Regionals meet to be there, but the group of five Kenyans up front weren’t up to the task, Rogers Shumo Kemoi (Team Aisan Kogyo) winning in just 13:36.91. Neither was Hattori, for that matter, who faded to 9th in 14:01.11.
Only one Japanese man cleared 13:40 over the weekend, and that came overseas at California’s Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic. Running in the B-heat Hiroki Matsueda (Team Fujitsu) clocked a PB 13:37.84 for 3rd, putting him 7th among Japanese men so far this year. At the top of that list for the year at 13:28.91, Takanori Ichikawa (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) was off his game in East Japan as he ran 14:31.37 for 21st.
© 2016 Brett Larner
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