Skip to main content

Shitara DNF as Inoue Shines at Golden Games in Nobeoka

Saturday’s main event was a time trial meet in remote Miyazaki, the Golden Games in Nobeoka. With a heavy emphasis on 5000 m, the biggest news of the day was split between the two men who ran 2:06 at Feburary’s Tokyo Marathon, national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) and Hiroto Inoue (MHPS).

Having taken time off after Tokyo, Shitara returned to action in the lone 10000 m in Nobeoka but was unable to stay in the action, ultimately dropping out of the race won in 28:00.49 by local boy Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei). Inoue, for his part, rocketed back into post-Tokyo action with a 13:38.44 PB in the 5000 m A-heat, outkicking 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) for the win.

Shitara and Inoue's results capped an interesting weekend for the current main four contenders for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathon team. Like Shitara, 5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) was a DNF over 10000 m, opting to run Stateside at Stanford. Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran back-to-back half marathons, finishing 2nd on Friday and 1st on Saturday.

But I digress. Back to Nobeoka, where the men’s C-heat is typically a virtually all-African event. This year so many teams from high school through the corporate leagues ran their African athletes that they were split between heats C and D. 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) led the top 15 in the C-heat under 13:30, winning in 13:17.16. Showing the skill of the seeding, Evans Yego (Sunbelx) topped the D-heat in 13:31.19.

The JAAF is desperate to add some sub-15 marks to the women’s 5000 m record books before Tokyo 2020, but the women’s A-heat in Nobeoka was not the race for that to happen. Helen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) kicked hard over the last lap of an evenly-paced race to win in 15:16.53. Behind her, Martha Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) outkicked Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) 15:23.07 to 15:23.96, the interesting Yamanouchi holding steady in the low-15:20 range after major improvement to her best earlier in the season. 32-year-old marathoner Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) continued a solid year with a 15:24.70 PB for 4th, while high school senior Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) marked a quality 15:33.41 for 7th, landing just over a second outside the all-time Japanese high school top ten.

29th Golden Games in Nobeoka

Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 5/5/18
click here for complete results

Men’s 10000 m
1. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) – 28:00.49
2. Abraham Kipyatich (Asahi Kasei) – 28:00.72
3. Gen Hachisuka (Konica Minolta) – 28:25.60
4. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) – 28:27.81
5. Naoya Takahashi (Yasukawa Denki) – 28:44.43
DNF – Yuta Shitara (Honda)

Women’s 5000 m Heat A
1. Helen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) – 15:16.53
2. Martha Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) – 15:23.07
3. Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) – 15:23.96
4. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) – 15:24.70
5. Shuru Bulo (Toto) – 15:31.49
6. Miku Moribayashi (Denso) – 15:31.71
7. Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) – 15:33.41
8. Mai Shoji (Denso) – 15:36.02
9. Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) – 15:37.06
10. Saori Noda (Higo Ginko) – 15:37.56

Women’s 5000 m Heat B
1. Yukari Ishizawa (Edion) – 15:44.98
2. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) – 15:46.65
3. Reia Iwade (Under Armor) – 15:48.61
4. Ayari Harada (Daiichi Seimei) – 15:56.23
5. China Takano (Iwatani Sangyo) – 15:56.70

Men’s 5000 m Heat A
1. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) – 13:38.44
2. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) – 13:39.15
3. Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) – 13:39.31
4. Yusuke Sato (Fujitsu) – 13:39.59
5. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) – 13:39.94

Men’s 5000 m Heat B
1. Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) – 13:40.94
2. Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) – 13:46.08
3. Takahiro Yagihara (Yachiyo Kogyo) – 13:46.93
4. Hayato Mera (MHPS) – 13:50.34
5. Hiroyuki Sakaguchi (Meiji Univ.) – 13:51.20

Men’s 5000 m Heat C
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) – 13:17.16
2. Barnard Kimeli (Fujitsu) – 13:17.65
3. Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) – 13:18.34
4. James Mwangi (NTN) – 13:18.73
5. Robert Mwui (Asahi Kasei0 – 13:19.26
6. John Maina (Fujitsu) – 13:20.22
7. Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu) – 13:20.89
8. Bekele Shiferaw (Mazda) – 13:21.93
9. Joel Mwaura (Kurosaki Harima) – 13:22.13
10. Peter Langat (SGH Group) – 13:22.69
11. Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) – 13:24.79
12. Rodgers Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) – 13:25.51
13. Daniel Kipkemoi (Nishitetsu) – 13:25.99
14. Wesley Ledama (Subaru) – 13:26.68
15. Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) – 13:28.03
16. Teressa Nyakora (Mazda) – 13:31.70
17. Philemon Kiplagat (Kurashiki H.S.) – 13:32.73
18. Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) – 13:36.85
19. William Malel (Honda) – 13:40.61
20. Kazuma Taira (Kanebo) – 13:49.50
21. Takanori Ichikawa (Hitachi Butsuryu) – 14:12.10

Men’s 5000 m Heat D
1. Evans Yego (Sunbelx) – 13:31.19
2. Andrew Lolot (Subaru) – 13:33.08
3. Bernard Muia (Toyota Boshoku) – 13:33.74
4. Josphat Ledama Kisaisa (Obirin Univ.) – 13:35.18
5. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) – 13:36.66
6. Samuel Mwangi (Konica Minolta) – 13:37.49
7. Vincent Kipkemoi (YKK) – 13:37.51
8. Elijah Kositany (Honda) – 13:39.19
9. Ezekiel Cheboitibin (Sunbelx) – 13:39.43
10. Silas Kingori (SGH Group) – 13:39.50
11. Charles Ndungu (Komori Corp.) – 13:40.27
12. Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) – 13:42.25
13. Enock Omwamba (MHPS) – 13:50.55
14. David Njuguna (Yakult) – 13:51.13
15. Charles Nijioka (Kurosaki Harima) – 13:55.34
16. Simon Kimunge (Tokai Prep Fukuoka H.S.) – 13:58.42
17. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) – 14:01.45

Men’s 5000 m Heat E
1. Daichi Takeuchi (Toenec) – 13:47.13
2. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) – 13:49.75
3. Kazuharu Takai (Kyudenko) – 13:53.21
4. Shohei Otsuka (Kyudenko) – 13:55.41
5. Yuji Osuda (Komori Corp.) – 13:56.55

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

Matsumoto and Abe Win Sendai International Half Marathon

In a race that came down to an uphill battle near 20 km, Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) emerged on top of a lead pack of five to win the men's race at the 28th Sendai International Half Marathon. Matsumoto outkicked Rio Olympics marathon team member Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) on the track to take the win in 1:03:05, the fastest winning time by a Japanese man in Sendai history. Sasaki returned from the injury that kept him out of March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marahton to finish 2nd in 1:03:10, holding off collegiate runners Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) and Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.).

Defending champion Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) suffered some sort of injury in the late going, shuffling down the home straight and almost walking across the finish line to take 5th in 1:03:39. Just behind him, 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) nicked 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) at the line after sitting on Kawauchi the entire race, both…

Late-Bloomer Hiroko Yoshitomi Dropping One Course Record After Another

There’s a woman in her 30s who has been breaking marathon course records left and right. A native of Saga, her name is Hiroko Yoshitomi (34, Memolead). In the last year she has broken course records at three domestic marathons including a 2:33:57 at March’s Saga Sakura Marathon. “In terms of my age, I’ve still got years left to be breaking records,” Yoshitomi says. “If you approach your running in terms of that kind of thinking then it’s totally natural that the times are going to come.” At one point she had thought about retiring this season, but for now she’s determined to push on.

Tokyo-based running Industry conglomerate Rbies recently launched the Marathon Challenge Cup (MCC) series, a grouping of 33 domestic marathons across the country. In the 2017 season 19 of those member races saw a total of 23 new course records. The only person to set multiple new course records was Yoshitomi. Along with these records, at December’s Honolulu Marathon, February’s Tokyo Marathon and April’s…