Distance action at the senior level was split between three main meets this weekend. One contingent of Japanese women and men headed to Europe for a mini tour of the circuit, starting things off Saturday at Belgium's Kortrijkse Guildensporenmeeting. One of Japan's top current half marathoners, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) ran a season best 15:36.11 for 4th in the women's 5000 m to lead the five Japanese women in the race. National XC runner-up Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) led the Japanese men in the 3000 m SC in 8:37.81. The popular Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) was the fastest Japanese man in the 1500 m at 3:45.17, with Nokoka Hosaka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) delivering the fastest Japanese women's time at 4:25.40.
Also Saturday back home in Hokkaido, the Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up with the Shibetsu meet. Women's 5000 m A-heat winner Yuka Hori (Panasonic) was just off Ichiyama's Belgian time in 15:37.51 just ahead of Honami Maeda (Tenmaya), who continued a great season since her 2:23:07 PB at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon with a 15:38.16 PB for 2nd. On the mens' side the most noteworthy results came via the man who beat Yamaguchi for the XC national title, Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project), who returned from an unsuccessful spring track season to double with training run-effort wins in the 5000 B-heat and 10000 m A-heat in 13:53.01 and 28:26.41 with just an hour recovery in between.
Sunday in Abashiri, Hokkaido the KGRR staged a new time trial event for Kanto Region-based collegiate men with one heat of 5000 m and two 10000 m heat. 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) won the faster 10000 m heat in 28:55.17 and Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) winning the 5000 m in 14:04.28.
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