Skip to main content

Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) and Melissa Duncan (Shiseido) leading what quickly boiled down to a Japanese trio of 5000 m national champion Tomoka Kimura (Shiseido), 10000 m national champ Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) and 2018 World U20 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki TC). Tanaka was dissatisfied with Duncan's pacing and moved ahead of her, Kimura hanging back and Nabeshima starting to fade near 2000 m.

With 800 m to Tanaka went ahead of Ekalale and opened a sizable lead, looking like the national record was hers for sure. But over the last lap she ran out of gas, dragging herself down the home straight as Ekalale closed behind her. Tanaka crossed the finish line 1st in 8:48.38, missing the national record by just under 4 seconds but moving up to all-time Japanese #3, with Ekalale next in 8:49.19 and Kimura getting under 9 minutes in 8:57.04 for 3rd. Post-race Tanaka said, "It's kind of embarrassing, but I lost count of the laps and thought I was on the last lap when I kicked. I didn't have anything left after that." Despite the mistake Tanaka came right up to Fukushi's record, and there's no question she looked like she's capable of getting it whenever she's in the right race.

A few hours later in Belgium a large contingent of 26 Japanese athletes competed at the Meeting International d'Athletisme in Liege. Less than 3 weeks after breaking the U20 national record to win the National Championships women's 3000 m steeplechase, Reimi Yoshimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) did it again with a new U20 NR of 9:49.30 for 8th. Only the fifth Japanese woman to ever break 9:50 in the steeplechase, Yoshimura moved up to all-time #4 on the Japanese list. 800 m and 1500 m double national champion Ran Urabe (Nike Tokyo TC) came back from a cold after her pair of national titles to take 3rd in the 1500 m in 4:19.30, disappointed with her time and the 8-second gap to the leading pair but using the race as a step toward her next race Saturday in Heusden-Zolder.

On the men's side, Ryoma Aoki (Hosei Univ.) joined the ranks of what has been an exciting last month in the Japanese men's steeplechase, running a PB 8:32.51 to move up to all-time #6 among Japanese collegiate men, just seconds from qualifying for this fall's Doha World Championships. One of the stars of 2019 Hakone Ekiden champion Tokai University's roster, Kazuto Iizawa also had a good day, winning the men's 1500 m in 3:48.44.

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Discovering the Legend - Tsutomu Akiyama on Finding Wanjiru, Mogusu and More

Tsutomu Akiyama is a key figure in the history of both Japanese running and Olympic marathoning. A senior advisor to Yamanashi Gakuin University's ekiden and track and field programs and one half of the partnership responsible for beginning to bring Kenyans to Japan in the wake of Olympic medalist Douglas Wakiihuri's arrival, Akiyama discovered and has been a mentor to the likes of marathon great Daniel Njenga, World Half Marathon silver medalist Philes Ongori, World Championships marathon medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata, Hakone Ekiden course record breaker Mekubo Mogusu, corporate league star, Gideon Ngatuny, multiple world-level medalist Paul Tanui and Beijing Olympics marathon champion and winner of the legendary 2010 Chicago Marathon, Samuel Wanjiru

In 2010 Akiyama gave JRN a one-on-one interview in which he talked about everything, from the human side of his athletes to problems with foreign agents, from picking a teenaged Wanjiru up at the airport during his first trip to Japan …

T-Minus About 100 Days to a National Record - Hitomi Niiya's Complete Training for Her Half Marathon NR in Houston

At the Jan. 19 Aramco Houston Half Marathon, Hitomi Niiya ran 1:06:38 to break Kayoko Fukushi's 2006-era national record with support from JRN. Former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota, 32, coached Niiya to that record. Over the next three days he is publishing Niiya's complete training diary for the months leading up to Houston. JRN will be publishing them in English with permission.



To people who aren't interested this will just be a list of numbers, but I thought it might help the hardcore track maniacs kill some time if I got Niiya's consent to publish her training diary for the 100 days leading up to Houston. Please do not reproduce this info without permission. You're more than welcome to give these workouts a go (although I can't guarantee you'll survive).

Notes in advance
・Easy jogs were once a day on Friday and Sunday, twice a day on other days.
・Strength training every day except Sunday.
・Daily mileage totaled about 30 km. Friday…

T-Minus About 100 Days to a National Record - Part 2 of Hitomi Niiya's Training for a Half Marathon NR

This weekend coach Masato Yokota is publishing half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya's complete training diary for the 3 months+ leading up to this past January's Aramco Houston Half Marathon where Niiyaran 1:06:38, at that point the fastest time ever by a woman born outside of Kenya or Ethiopia, for the win. This is part two, covering November, 2019. Read part one, October, here.



So how did you like the first month of training? I was really happy to see that so many more people than I expected enjoyed reading about it. I read every question that people left in the replies. At some point I'll answer them all, so if you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Today is the second of three installments of Niiya's training from after the World Championships, covering Oct. 1, 2019 to setting the Japanese national record at the Houston Half on Jan. 19. This covers November's training. Compared to October it gets more and more bru…