Skip to main content

Tanui, Mokaya, Endo, Ichiyama and Fujimoto Top Weekend Track Roundup

by Brett Larner

Most of the country's corporate leagues held their regional track and field championships this weekend, but superseding them all was the Golden Grand Prix Kawasaki meet.

With a shortage of candidates for the London World Championships men's 5000 m the JAAF doctored in a sub-7:55.00 qualifying standard for men to get into next month's National Track and Field Championships, adding a 3000 m to the normally sprint, middle distance and field event GGP.  In the midst of his best season in years, Yuichiro Ueno (Team DeNA) took it out close to national record pace through the first half before abruptly slowing and dropping off the back. Rio Olympics 10000 m silver medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) took over, with only Evans Keitany Kiptum (Team Toyota Boshoku), Hiroki Matsueda (Team Fujitsu), Hayato Seki (Tokai Univ.) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei).

Never do this.

Kiptum looked set for the win with a strong kick over the last 200 m, but Tanui came back to clip him at the line as Kiptum stopped his watch, winning by 0.01 in 7:52.67 to Kiptum's 7:52.68. Yoroizaka dropped off the pace, but in the home straight Matsueda and Seki kicked in to try to break 7:55. Matsueda just got there, running a PB 7:54.33 for 3rd. In 4th Seki missed the mark, but his 7:55.44 PB put him at all-time #6 among Japanese collegiate men. Yoroizaka was the only other man to break 8 minutes, running 7:58.40 for 5th and breaking his PB by 0.50.

The best women's mark of the weekend also came outside the corporate regionals. At the Oita Prefecture High School Championships, local Kenyan Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) won the girls' 3000 m by more than a minute with a PB of 9:02.93. A meet record, Mokaya's time was also a worldwide 2017-leading time in the U18 category and put her at #2 in the U20 category behind fellow Japan-resident Kenyan high schooler Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.).


Among the corporate league regionals, the best Japanese women's results came in Osaka at the Kansai Corporate meet. Up-and-coming Mao Ichiyama (Team Wacoal), age 19, pulled off an impressive double, winning Friday's 10000 m over Olympian Wacoal teammate Kayoko Fukushi in 32:48.15, then returning Saturday to win the 5000 m in 15:49.63. Getting his pro career off to a great start, 18-year-old Hyuga Endo (Team Sumitomo Denko) did his own double, winning Saturday's 5000 m in 14:00.23 and Sunday's 1500 m in 3:47.72. Both wins came in slow races with blazing sprint finishes, a good sign that Endo is handling the transition from high school straight to the pros.

In the East Japan Region Kenyans dominated the distance events. Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) ran 31:41.23 to win the women's 10000 m by 4 seconds over Pauline Kamulu (Team Route Inn Hotels). Kamulu was back the next day to win the 5000 m in 15:34.47, top Japanese woman Moeno Nakamura (Team Universal Entertainment) just bettering Ichiyama's time to record the fastest Japanese women's time of the weekend, 15:49.55 for 2nd. In the men's 10000 m Alexander Mutiso (Team Software) won another close race, running 27:58.66 to beat Bernard Kimani (Team Yakult) by 0.32 seconds. Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) ran 13:23.24 to top a competitive 5000 m that included the likes of Wesley Ledama (Team Subaru), William Malel (Team Honda) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda).

In the Kyushu Region, continuing to build back from her 2:27:08 breakthrough at February's Tokyo Marathon, 19-year-old Ayaka Fujimoto (Team Kyocera) won the women's 10000 m in a PB of 32:40.63, the weekend's top Japanese women's time. Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Team Toto) won the women's 5000 m by more than 30 seconds in 15:23.79, with Fujimoto doubling in 16:23.85 for 4th. Joel Mwaura (Team Kurosaki Harima) won the men's 10000 m in 27:52.66, beating Daniel Kipkemoi (Team Nishitetsu) by over 5 seconds. In third, 2016 National XC champion Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) became just the second Japanese man so far this year to break 28 minutes, 3rd in 27:59.76. London World Championships marathon team member Hiroto Inoue, 2:08:22 in Tokyo, took 5 seconds off his PB with a 28:08.04 for 5th. His London teammate Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) was less than 5 seconds off his PB, running 28:58.98 for 15th.

In the lone sour note among London marathon team members who raced this weekend, Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) ran just 34:27.76 for 3rd in the Chugoku Region meet women's 10000 m. Her Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara, the top Japanese half marathoner so far this year, resurfaced from a stress fracture she suffered after winning January's Osaka Half Marathon, running 35:40.90 for 4th. Veteran Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) won an uneventful men's 10000 m in 29:08.18

Tanui photo © 2017 Tsukasa Kawarai, all rights reserved
text © 2017 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…