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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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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…