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Yang Runs 10.11 NR, 5000 m Meet Records Fall at National University Individual Championships

Unusually cool weather throughout the weekend worked to the advantage of the athletes in distance events at Kanagawa's National University Individual Track and Field Championships, where the meet records fell in both the men's and women's 5000 m. The poorer cousin of September's National University Track and Field Championships, the individual meet features a reduced program, no team scoring, and some competition from Taiwan. Coming just a week before the National Track and Field Championships many of Japan's best collegians tend to give it a miss, but the level of competition is often high all the same.

In the women's race first-year Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) surprised the field, breaking the meet record set six years ago by current top-level pro Rina Nabeshima by 6 seconds to win the B-heat in 15:46.84. Fourth-year Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) were both under Nabeshima's record in the A-heat in 15:49.37 and 15:52.82 but neither could better the unknown Suzuki's mark.

For men, due to the presence of the Hakone Ekiden within the Tokyo-area Kanto Region it's unusual to see a distance runner of even moderate ability at a school in any other region. Someone forgot to tell that to Kansai Region third-year Yuki Ishii (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.), who led the top eight under the meet record as he bettered it by 14 seconds to win in 13:45.65. The seven runners under the record behind him were all from schools that won a Big Three University Ekiden last season, two from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University, one from National University Ekiden winner Kanagawa University, and four from Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University. You have to go down to 18th place to find another runner from outside Kanto, highlighting Ishii's achievement all the more.

In the men's 100 m, London World Championships 4x100 m silver medalist Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) won his opening-round heat in 10.32 (+1.6 m/s) but sat the semi-finals out. In his absence, 2017 World University Games gold medalist Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan Univ. of P.E. and Sport) took the spot, impressively shaving 0.09 off his own Taiwanese national record to win in 10.11 (+0.2 m/s).

Yang's teammate Chun-Hsien Hsiang (Taiwan Univ. of P.E. and Sport) went 1 cm over last year's meet record in the men's high jump, clearing 2.22 m for the win. The meet record also went in the men's 10000 m racewalk. Fourth-year Kazuki Takahashi (Waseda Univ.) took 4 seconds off the 2014 record to win in 40:27.90. 2nd-placer Ryutaro Yamamoto (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) also went under the old record in 40:30.12

Apart from Suzuki's mark in the 5000 m, the only other women's meet record of the weekend came in the pole vault. Second-year Misaki Morota (Chuo Univ.) cleared 4.02 m to notch the meet record up 1 cm.  Complete results from the National University Individual Track and Field Championships are here.

© 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…