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Kamulu Runs 10000 m World Lead, Ahn Breaks Korean National Record, Tamura Clears 28 Minutes, Niiya Back on Track in Fukagawa


National records fell for the third meet in a row in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Longtime Japan resident Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) had a shockingly good run in the women's 10000 m A-heat, following up her 1:06:56 bronze medal run at the Valencia World Half Marathon Championships by lopping over a minute off her 10000 m best and 9 seconds off the Japanese all-comers record with a 2018 world-leading time of 30:41.85.

Kamulu lapped the entire field, her nearest competitor Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) returning from a 2:23:46 marathon PB in Osaka in January to take 30 seconds off her own best in 32:13.87. Further back, Seul Ki Ahn broke the South Korean national record set 13 years ago in Fukagawa with a new mark of 32:33.61. Ahn's NR followed the 2:25:41 NR set by Do Yeon Kim at the Seoul International Marathon in March, a miniature renaissance in South Korea women's distance running.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was also decently fast, Andrew Lorot (Subaru) leading four men under 28 minutes with a 27:52.39 for the win. The fourth of them, Aoyama Gakuin University grad Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko), was the first Japanese man to clear 28 minutes in what has been something of a dry year for the distance to date, running a PB of 27:58.35. Popular former Komazawa University captain Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) had his best result after years of injury setbacks, taking 6th in 28:17.63 as the next Japanese man behind Tamura.

Japan-based Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) easily won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:20.95, but the bigger story in that race was 2nd-placer Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC). After memorably heartbreaking races on the track at the London Olympics and Moscow World Championships Niiya abruptly retired. This spring she quietly made a comeback after almost 5 years with a low-key track time trial to get a qualifying mark for Hokuren. At Fukagawa, just her second race since 2013, she ran 15:35.19, a long way from her best but what has to be a big confidence booster as she tries to suss out how realistic a comeback would be by 2020.

Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta) won a relatively uneventful men's 5000 A-heat in 13:29.53 by 0.19 over Kiprono Sitonik (Kenya). The more interesting race was the men's 3000 m, a tuneup for fast times in the 5000 m Saturday at the series' final meet. Bernard Koech (Kyudenko) won the 3000 m in 7:54.39, with Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) leading four Japanese men under 8 minutes in 7:55.45.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet

Fukagawa, Hokkaido, 7/11/18
complete results

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Andrew Lorot (Subaru) - 27:52.39
2. Ledama Kisaisa (Obirin Univ.) - 27:52.74
3. Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) - 27:56.81
4. Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 27:58.35
5. Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 28:08.01
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 28:17.63
7. Charles Ndungu (Komori Corp.) - 28:18.22
8. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) - 28:18.39
9. Takumi Komatsu (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 28:24.39
10. Shuhei Yamamoto (Toyota) - 28:27.10

Women's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) - 30:41.85 - WL
2. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) - 32:13.87
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:17.54
4. Natsuki Omori (Daihatsu) - 32:24.27
5. Misaki Hayashida (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:29.11
6. Seul Ki Ahn (South Korea) - 32:33.61 - NR
7. Mizuki Tanimoto (Tenmaya) - 32:33.76
8. Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 32:34.37
9. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) - 32:51.09
10. Hiroko Miyauchi (Hokuren) - 32:51.71

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta) - 13:29.53
2. Kiprono Sitonik (Kenya) - 13:29.72
3. Wesley Ledama (Subaru) - 13:34.64
4. Daiji Kawai (Toenec) - 13:45.91
5. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 13:50.92
6. Makoto Mitsunobu (Kyudenko) - 13:52.62
7. Masaki Toda (Nissin) - 13:53.31
8. Junnosuke Matsuo (Tokai Univ.) - 13:54.65
9. Noritoshi Hara (Honda) - 13:57.79
10. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) - 13:59.54

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 15:20.95
2. Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) - 15:35.19
3. Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:58.10
4. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:59.44
5. Eri Utsunomiya (Japan Post) - 16:00.70

Men's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Bernard Koech (Kyudenko) - 7:54.39
2. Robert Kipchirchir Mwei (Asahi Kasei) - 7:55.40
3. Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) - 7:55.45
4. Nanami Arai (Honda) - 7:56.35
5. Daichi Takeuchi (Toenec) - 7:57.42
6. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 7:59.30

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Comments

Andrew Armiger said…
Promising performances, go Niiya!

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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