Skip to main content

46 Heats of 5000 m in 14 Hours This Sunday at Nittai University Time Trials

by Brett Larner

Yokohama's Nippon Taiiku University, Nittai for short, is the site of Japan's biggest long distance track time trial series.  Held eight or nine weekends a year, Saturdays typically feature everything except the men's 5000 m, sometimes including middle distance but usually men's and women's 3000 m, women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m races.  Sundays are usually devoted exclusively to the men's 5000 m, and this Sunday's 255th edition may set a new record for sheer organizational ability.

Heat 1 begins at 7:30 a.m. sharp.  Fourteen hours and four minutes later, the fastest heat, Heat 46, is scheduled to start at 9:34 p.m.  46 heats with 45~55 runners apiece finely graded by target time, starting under 19 minutes apart on average.  Near the end of the day that's down to 17 minutes apart.  There's zero room for error on the organizers' side, but you can be sure that it will go off with the same clockwork precision as the Tokyo train system.  You can be sure too that there will be zero sympathy for runners who don't know exactly where and when they are supposed to be.  Let's hope that Nittai University shares its logistical acumen with the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee over the next three and a half years.  So far it looks like they need it.

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…