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Weekend Track Roundup

As ekiden season gets into full swing, track time trials continue to be a staple of Japanese and Japan-based athletes from junior high school to the corporate leagues. This weekend's main results from across the country:


  • Just six days after running 8:54.27 to win the National Sports Festival junior women's 3000 m, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) won again, this time running a PB 15:32.34 to take the 5000 m A-heat at the Shizuoka Time Trials meet. Having led the national champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuen H.S. girls to the win at last weekend's Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden, Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu won the 3000 m A-heat in 9:10.53.
  • At Saturday's Chubu Jitsugyodan Autumn Championships, Rodgers Chumo Kemoi (Aisan Kogyo) ran 27:48.30 to win the men's 10000 m, leading James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) and Edward Waweru (NTN) under 28 minutes. Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) was the top Japanese man at 4th in 28:21.19.
  • Also Saturday, Yamanashi Gakuin University graduate Enock Omwamba (MHPS) ran 28:03.90 to win the Nagasaki Nighter Time Trials men's 10000 m with London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:52.16.
  •  In nearby Saga, Abraham Kipyatich (Asahi Kasei) had an easy run to win the Saga Time Trials men's 10000 m in 28:31.92. London 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kyudenko) was only 4th in 28:48.91.
  • Japan-based Africans also dominated Sunday's Nittai University Time Trials meet A-heats. In the men's 5000 m, the 12 Africans in the race took the top 12 spots, with Ethiopian 17-year-old Yeneblo Biyazen (Yachiyo Kogyo) beating 2016 World U20 Championships 5000 m bronze medalist Wesley Ledama (Subaru) and 2017 World Cross Country Championships silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Nissin Shokuhin) to lead the top 7 under 13:30 in 13:23.51. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) won the women's 5000 m in 15:40.53.
© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…