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Kokushikan University's New Kenyan Vincent Laimoi Bests Aoyama Gakuin in 1500 m Debut

Kokushikan University held its season-opening time trial meet Mar. 31 at its Tama Field track facility. Members of four-time Hakone Ekiden champ Aoyama Gakuin University competed in the 1500 m, with first-year Keita Yoshida leading the team in 3:50.77. Breaking through at this year's Hakone with a Seventh Stage record, third-year Keisuke Hayashi ran 3:53.17. Both third-years, Sixth Stage winner Yuji Onoda ran 3:58.09 and Second Stage winner Homare Morita ran 3:58.30. Head coach Susumu Hara, 51, was pleased with the shakeout ahead of outdoor season, commenting, "Times ended up being better overall than last year."

Surpassing all the Aoyama Gakuin runners to take the spot in 3:48.47 was incoming Kokushikan Kenyan Vincent Laimoi. Laimoi arrived in Japan in mid-March, running a PB 13:43.20 in his first race in Japan, the 5000 m at a meet at Kokushikan on the 25th. Running the 1500 m for the first time ever, Laimoi showed considerable potential. Together with current team member Paul Gitonga, Kokushikan is set to enter the 2018-19 season with a double dose of foreign power. Head coach Masami Soeda, 41, commented, "Rather than relying on them for their strength, I hope that they will synergize with the Japanese members to help elevate the team as a whole."

source article:
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20180331-OHT1T50192.html
translated by Brett Larner

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