Joyciline Jepkosgei 29:43 WR to win Birell Prague Grand Prix 10k pic.twitter.com/dlem1WFKvQ— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) September 9, 2017
Japanese runners were busy overseas this weekend with top-level athletes racing in at least four countries. Four Japanese athletes ran in Saturday’s Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km. In a race that saw the women’s road 5 and 10 km world records fall to half marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya), Asian area record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) was almost five minutes out of the action, finishing 10th in 34:43. Fukushi told JRN post-race that she had stomach problems midway, but with a halfway split just under 17 minutes she was never really in the action. Four women cleared 31 minutes, the most in history.
Yoroizaka and Murayama 18th and 19th at Birell Prague Grand Prix, both in 29:09. pic.twitter.com/0nyGT8wdoy— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) September 9, 2017
Benard Kimeli (Kenya) took the men’s course record down to 27:10 in a three-win sprint finish that led eight men under 28 minutes, another history-making mark. Missing out on making it nine, 10000 m U18 national record holder Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) came up well short of his goal of bettering the 28:05 road 10 km national record, finishing just 19th 29:09 and losing a familiar-looking sprint finish against teammate Tetsuya Yoroizaka who clocked the same time for 18th. Taking the top Japanese spot in a tuneup for the Berlin Marathon later this month, Yuta Shitara (Honda) executed a gradual buildup to negative split his was to a 28:55 for 16th. Shitara will stay in the Czech Republic until Berlin, running next weekend’s Usti nad Labem half marathon as his final shakeout before going for a 2:07.
Yuta Shitara 28:55 for 16th at Birell Prague Grand Prix 10k. pic.twitter.com/ZBlj0o6Qyy— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) September 9, 2017
Having spent the last couple of weeks in Europe with Yoroizaka, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) helped lead the Japanese team at France’s Decanation to a 4th-place overall finish, taking 2nd in the men’s 2000 m in 5:23.15. Having cracked 9 minutes for 3000 m at this summer’s National High School Championships, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.), daughter of sub-2:30 amateur marathoner Chihiro Tanaka, took 3rd in the women’s 2000 m in an U20 national record 5:53.47.
Volksbank Muenster Marathon. In a race that saw the lead quartet of Africans go through halfway on course record pace in 1:14:00 and last year’s runner-up Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.) in 1:17:08, Yoshimatsu’s first and second halves were almost dead even, 1:17:58 for the first half and 1:18:04 for the second.
At the U.K.’s Great North Run half marathon, Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) had the best Japanese men’s placing since Arata Fujiwara took 4th in 2013, finishing 5th in 1:02:03. Despite having run 1:01:04 in Marugame earlier this year, Yamamoto’s teammate and former Hakone Ekiden star Daichi Kamino was a non-factor, finishing 12th in only 1:04:47. Yamamoto will return to the New York City Marathon in November after finishing 4th there last year, New York’s best-ever Japanese men’s placing.
Yoshimatsu photo © 2017 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved
text, other photos and video © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved