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Matsunaga Just Misses 10000 m Racewalk World Record in Kitami


In his second pro season, junior and collegiate men's 10000 m racewalk national record holder Daisuke Matsunaga (Fujitsu) stepped up with his biggest performance yet, becoming the first Japanese man to break 38 minutes and coming in with a near miss on the world record to win the 10000 m racewalk in a national record 37:58.08 at Saturday's Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami meet. A 2017 graduate of Toyo University, throughout the race Matsunaga had support from younger Toyo athletes Koki Ikeda and Masatori Kawano who ended up 2nd and 3rd 40 to 50 seconds back. Currently ranked 4th in the world over 20 km, Matsunaga may be just what Japan needs for Tokyo 2020: a legit gold medal contender in athletics.

Speaking of Tokyo 2020, the JAAF is desperate to get some women under 15 minutes for 5000 m before, something only national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) has ever done. As a step toward that objective, for the second year in a row the Hokuren Distance Challenge featured a women's 3000 m specifically aimed at beating Fukushi's 3000 m national record of 8:44.40. Last year Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) bounced one off the rim, clocking an all-time Japanese #2 8:49.61 with one other runner making it into the all-time top ten. This year Tomoka Kimura (Univ. Ent.) and Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) were the ones stepping up to take their shots.

Despite support from a group of African pacers the pace was never quite there, Yamanouchi aggressive throughout but Kimura surging by in the last 200 m to win in an all-time Japanese #10 time of 8:55.14 . Yamanouchi was just behind in 8:57.02 three days after a hard 10000 m at Hokuren's Abashiri meet. But given the fatigue from the 10000 m and her short development phase this season, Yamanouchi showed better potential to go further than Kimura, a longtime top-level track and ekiden runner. We're going to go out on a limb and pick Yamanouchi, someone JRN first spotted at a tiny local road race in 2010, as the woman most likely to clear 15 by the Olympics.

The men's and women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m were mostly uneventful, the biggest news coming in the men's 5000 m where Taisei Hashizume of four-time Hakone Ekiden champ Aoyama Gakuin University set a school record 13:37.75 for 2nd behind Kenyan Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta). Not many Japanese collegiate runners break 13:40 and the ones who do usually go on to bigger and better things, so with a breakthrough like this Hashizume suddenly finds himself at the top of the ladder on the Hakone circuit.

The 10000 m was notable mostly for what didn't happen, i.e. someone breaking 28 minutes. Japan has been cranking out up to eleven men sub-28 a year for a long time and usually has at least three or four on the books by this point in the season. This year the fastest time to date is only a 28:00.49 by national champ Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei). No Japanese men broke 28:30 in Kitami. Compare that to the marathon rankings for the year, twelve men sub-2:10 and two sub-2:07 so far, and it's pretty clear where the priorities lie as the system fixates on the Olympics.

With men's 10000 m on the bill for both of the remaining two Hokuren meets next week maybe someone will get there. Maybe national XC champ Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project), entered in both the 5 and 10 in Shibetsu after a DNF at Stanford and a DNS at Nationals. If not, don't look for anyone to do it before November's Hachioji Long Distance meet. In the meantime, check out the live streams of the Fukagawa meet on July 11th and Shibetsu on the 14th.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet

Kitami, Hokkaido, 7/7/18
complete results

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) - 28:04.79
2. Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) - 28:09.43
3. John Muritu (Toyota Kyushu) - 28:13.29
4. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:34.11
5. Ryo Matsumoto '(Toyota) - 28:34.17
6. Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 28:39.77
7. Shuhei Yamaguchi (Asahi Kasei) - 28:44.91
8. Ryoichi Yoshida (Kyudenko) - 28:50.42
9. Kenji Yamamoto (Mazda) - 28:51.56
10. Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu) - 28:54.59

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Shuru Bulo (Toto) - 15:32.19
2. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:32.57
3. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 15:36.10
4. Maho Shimizu (Yamada Denki) - 15:42.49
5. Zeidona Fusan (Denso) - 15:44.66
6. Nana Kuraoka (Denso) - 15:44.78
7. Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) - 15:45.32
8. Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:48.54
9. Ayaka Nakagawa (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:49.84
10. Miku Daido (Iwatani Sangyo) - 15:56.28

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta) - 13:33.17
2. Taisei Hashizume (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:37.75
3. Samuel Mwangi (Konica Minolta) - 13:39.10
4. Yuma Higashi (Kyudenko) - 13:39.26
5. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 13:39.64
6. Akira Aizawa (Toyo Univ.) - 13:40.98
7. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 13:44.36
8. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:45.03
9. Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 13:45.38
10. Kazuya Nishiyama (Toyo Univ.) - 13:46.95

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Tomoka Kimura (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 8:55.14 - all-time JPN #10
2. Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) - 8:57.02
3. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 8:57.38
4. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 9:11.31
5. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 9:14.08

Men's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Shoma Funatsu (Chuo Univ.) - 3:43.26
2. Rikuto Iijima (Waseda Univ.) - 3:43.85
3. Riku Kimura (Tokai Univ.) - 3:44.29
4. Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Chuo Univ.) - 3:44.78
5. Ryota Matono (MHPS) - 3:45.05

Women's 1500 m A-Heat
1. Ayako Jinoouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:19.30
2. Yumi Yoshikawa (Shiseido) - 4:19.43
3. Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 4:21.35
4. Mayuko Nakamura (Cerespo) - 4:21.77
5. Yume Goto (ND28 AC) - 4:21.92

Women's 10000 m Racewalk
1. Ai Michiguchi (SDF Academy) - 45:28.72
2. Sui Nga Ching (Hong Kong) - 45:46.93
3. Kaori Kawazoe (SDF Academy) - 46:44.24
4. Chiaki Asada (DNP) - 46:46.62
5. Natsumi Wada (Shigakkan Univ.) - 51:46.17

Men's 10000 m Racewalk
1. Daisuke Matsunaga (Fujitsu) - 37:58.08 - NR
2. Koki Ikeda (Toyo Univ.) - 38:40.04
3. Masatori Kawano (Toyo Univ.) - 38:50.37
4. Fumitaka Oikawa (Fukui Pref. Sports Assoc.) - 39:01.20
5. Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) - 39:24.49

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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