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Weekend Track Roundup



As regional corporate track meets wound themselves down, the weekend's biggest results came at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Osaka. A quick women's 3000 m saw 10 of the 11 starters go under 9 minutes, six in PB times. Japan-based Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Toto) led the way in 8:47.24, with the Pre Classic-bound Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) running 8:51.72 to land 4th both overall and on the Japanese all-time rankings. First-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Meijo Univ.) ran 8:58.63 for 8th overall, just missing the 1994-era national collegiate record by 0.31 seconds.

The men's 3000 m was also solid, with seven men breaking 8 minutes, six of them Japanese and five in PB times. Kenyan Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) won in 7:54.05 with Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) just behind in a best of 7:54.73. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) broke into the all-time Japanese collegiate top ten, running 7:57.56 for 6th. Australian Ryan Gregson won the men's 1500 m in 3:37.72 over American Patrick Casey. Indoor mile Japanese national record holder Ryoji Tatezawa (Tokai Univ.) just missed becoming only the fifth Japanese collegian to ever break 3:40, taking 5th in a PB of 3:40.49.

In corporate league regional action, arguably the best mark came in the men's 10000 m at the Kyushu region meet, where Daniel Kipkemoi (Nishitetsu) won in 27:45.11 by more than 17 seconds over Joel Mwaura (Kurosaki Harima). Already the fastest Japanese man so far this year for 10000 m, Shuho Dairokuno was 3rd in 28:12.19. On a roll this season, marathoner Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) won the 10000 m in a PB of 32:07.70 over the interesting Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera), who returned the next day to win the 5000 m in 15:44.31.

Japan based-Kenyans won the major events at the East Japan region corporate meet, where Rosemary Wanjiru (Starts) took the women's 10000 min 31:57.66, lapping top Japanese woman Yuka Hori (Panasonic) who was 4th in 33:24.25. Runner-up in the 10000 m, Wanjiru's teammate Grace Kimanzi (Starts) won the 5000 m in 15:21.84. In the men's 10000 m Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was the  fastest at 28:38.11, top Japanese man Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) running only 29:03.80. Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) had a busy day on the second day of the meet, winning the 3000 m SC in 8:41.80 at 11:35 a.m. and then returning six hours later to take 2nd in the 5000 m in 13:28.89 behind teammate Richard Kimunyan, winner in 13:28.21. The fastest Japanese man of the day, Kazuki Onishi (Kanebo) took 13th in 13:49.39.

At the Chugoku region meet, Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) returned from a DNF at the Boston Marathon to win the men's 10000 m in 28:28.73 over 5000 m winner Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel). Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) continued her comeback from running 2:23:46 in Osaka in January, winning the women's 10000 m in 32:30.39 by more than 30 seconds over teammate Mizuki Tanimoto. Usually holding its championship events together with Chugoku, the tiny Hokuriku region's only noteworthy result in its separate meet this year was a 28:56.00 winning time in the men's 10000 m by Japan-based Kenyan Alex Mwangi (YKK).

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

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The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

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With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

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