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World Record-Setting Depth in Kitami Women's 5000 m

by Brett Larner

The 2016 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up Thursday in Kitami, Hokkaido with world record-setting depth in the women's 5000 m.  Newcomer Shuru Bulo (Team Toto) led most of the race for the win in a PB 15:13.07, but the bigger news came further down the field.  In 25th place Nao Isaka (Team Hitachi) finished in 15:59.32, surpassing the 2005 Rome Golden Gala for the most women ever under 16 minutes in a single race.

The women's 3000 m also produced some news.  18-year-old Harumi Okamoto (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), already with a 9:00.91 at age 16 to her name, became just the 11th Japanese woman to break nine minutes when she outkicked Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) for the win in 8:59.96.  19-year-old Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) and 18-year-old Nana Kuraoka (Denso) also cleared 9:10 with new PBs.

After a big 10000 m on Monday in Abashiri the men's races were relatively quiet.  A planned 1500 m national record attempt by 5000 m national record Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) fizzled, with Osako running a half-second PB of 3:40.49 but falling far short of the record.  Most of the rest of the top five also ran PBs, and farther back Rio Olympic team member and 800 m national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) came through in 9th in his official 1500 m debut.

Follow the Alberto Salazar regimen of workouts immediately after races, Osako turned up 40 minutes later to run the first 3000 m of the 5000 m A-heat before dropping out.  Kanto Regional University Championships double 5000 m and 10000 m winner Patrick Wambui (Nihon Univ.) scored his fifth-straight win in 13:29.69, with Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Team Komori Corp.) taking the top spot at 7th in a PB of 13:41.29.

Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) turned in a 20-second PB of 28:30.16 to win the men's 10000 m A-heat over Kenyan Alex Mwangi (Team YKK).  Another collegiate runner, Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) likewise ran a sizable PB of 28:55.57 for 4th, adding a sub-29 10000 m to his 1:02:48 half marathon best.  An improvement on his 14:03.94 best for 5000 m and Serunarudo will become a rare university runner outside the Hakone powerhouse schools to complete the sub-14, sub-29, sub-63 troika.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet
Kitami, Hokkaido, 7/14/16
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Shuru Bulo (Ethiopia/Toto) - 15:13.07 - PB
2. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Route Inn Hotels) - 15:26.51 - PB
3. Mariam Muthoni Gachenga (Kenya/Yutaka Giken) - 15:35.10
4. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:38.57
5. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 15:41.72
-----
10. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:48.79
15. Kaho Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 15:52.47
20. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 15:55.90
25. Nao Isaka (Hitachi) - 15:59.32

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Patrick Wambui (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:29.69
2. Teressa Nyakora (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:30.80
3. John Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 13:31.61
4. James Rungaru (Kenya/Chuo Hatsujo) - 13:31.86 - PB
5. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 13:35.66
6. Willy Kipselem (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:38.10 - PB
7. Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Komori Corp.) - 13:41.29 - PB
8. Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 13:42.75
9. Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 13:43.81
10. Simon Kariuki (Kenya/Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 13:45.05 - PB
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DNF - Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project)

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 8:59.96 - PB
2. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:00.19
3. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 9:06.29 - PB
4. Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 9:07.66 - PB
5. Nana Kuraoka (Denso) - 9:08.24 - PB

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Kengo Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:30.16 - PB
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 28:35.52
3. Shinichiro Tai (Fujitsu) - 28:53.06 - PB
4. Yuji Serunarudo (Soka Univ.) - 28:55.57 - PB
5. Kazuki Onishi (Kanebo) - 28:56.08

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - 3:40.49 - PB
2. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:41.35 - PB
3. Naoki Nakamura (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 3:44.91 - PB
4. Renya Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 3:45.20 - PB
5. Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 3:48.00
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9. Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 3:58.44 - debut

© 2016 Brett Larner
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