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Funatsu 3:38.65 at Bryan Clay - Weekend Track Roundup

Weekend Japanese track action kicked off at the Bryan Clay Invitational at California's Azusa Pacific University. Passing on a spring marathon in favor of a shot at the 10000 m national record this season, 5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) ran 13:29.11 for 3rd in the 5000 m, the best time so far this year by a Japanese man.

Bigger news came in the men's 1500 m, where Shoma Funatsu (Chuo Univ.) capped a residency in Oregon with a 3:38.65 to move up to all-time Japanese #5 and collegiate #2. Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) also ran 3:41.51, with U.S.-based Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State Univ.) going 3:44.50, Funatsu's Chuo teammate Kazuyoshi Tamogami 3:45.84, another U.S. transplant Yasunari Kusu (AMAC) 3:46.98 and Hirotaka Nakatani (Uchida Chiryoin AC) 3:49.28.

At the nearby Mt. SAC Relays Yui Fukuda (Toyota Jidoshokki) won the women's 1500 m in 4:16.64. Mai Shoji (Denso) was slightly off her season best in the 5000 m in 15:56.99, while her teammate Nana Kuraoka went under 16 minutes for the first time this year in 15:58.24. Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) ran only 16:12.89 for 17th.



Back home the biggest action came at Kobe's Hyogo Relay Carnival. Fukuda's Toyota Jidoshokki teammate Helen Ekarare outran 1500 m meet record holder Ann Karindi to set a new record of 4:09.02 for the win, with newly-graduated indy club runner Nozomi Tanaka (ND28 AC) running 4:18.05 for 3rd. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) topped the 5000 m in 15:54.88. Yukari Abe (Shimamura) had a good start to her outdoor season in the 10000 m, leading the top 7 under 32:30 in 32:13.79.

In the men's Grand Prix 10000 m, Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) ran 27:32.45 to lead four men under 28 minutes. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran 28:21.75 to take the top Japanese spot at 5th. 2017 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) won the Asics Challenge 10000 m in 27:56.04 by 6 seconds over perpetual rival Patrick Wambui (Nihon Univ.). Akira Aizawa (Toyo Univ.) and Daiji Kawai (Toenec) bettered Dairokuno's time from the Grand Prix race, running 28:17.81 and 28:19.35 for 5th and 6th in the Asics Challenge race.

At the Nittai University Time Trials meet in suburban Yokohama, Takushoku University captain Workneh Derese won the 10000 m A-heat in 28:14.49. Ken Nakayama (Chuo Univ.) ran a quality 28:22.59 for 3rd. Evans Yego (Sunbelx) won the 5000 m A-heat in 13:26.24, Rio Olympian Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) taking the top Japanese spot at 7th in a decent 13:39.72 season opener. In the women's races, Esther Muthoni (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) won the 3000 m A-heat by 15 seconds in 9:09.67, while Mary Shipuko (Hitachi) took the 5000 m in 15:51.76.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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