Skip to main content

Hironaka Breaks 5000 m Junior National Record and 2020 Olympic Standard

Just two weeks after her 19th birthday, Ririka Hironaka, star rookie for 2019 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champions Japan Post, ended the year in style with a nearly 18-second PB of 15:05.40 to break the great Kayoko Fukushi's U20 national record by 5 seconds and become just the second Japanese woman so far to break the 2020 Olympic standard in the 5000 m.

Running at Yamaguchi's National Corporate Women's Time Trials, after Kenyans Martha Mokaya (Canon AC Kyushu) and Hellen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) led the pack through opening splits of 3:01, 3:04 and 3:03, Hironaka took off in pursuit of the 15:10.00 Olympic standard, covering the next two 1000 m splits in 2:59 and 2:58. Along with breaking Fukushi's 2001-era junior record and clearing the Olympic standard, Hironaka moved up to all-time Japanese #5, following Nozomi Tanaka's all-time #2 15:00.01 at October's Doha World Championships to make this a pretty good year for the 5000 m by Japanese women's standards. With Fukushi's senior national record standing at 14:53.22 it won't be surprising to see either Hironaka or Tanaka go for it in 2020.

The women's 10000 m came up just short of the 31:25.00 Olympic standard but still produced good results across the board. Kenyan Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) took the top spot in 31:28.45 with teammate Harumi Okamoto next in 31:29.29. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) continued her comeback from September's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials with a 3rd-place finish in 31:34.56, a PB by 15 seconds. In 4th, Daito Bunka University 1st-year Yuka Suzuki ran a PB 31:37.88, the 2nd-fastest Japanese collegiate time ever, to add to her 2019 World University Games half marathon gold medal. After a year mostly marked by setbacks, Yuka Hori (Panasonic) wrapped it with a 10-second PB of 31:38.63 for 5th.

5000 m year-leader Tanaka opted to pace teammate Yume Goto (Toyota Jidoshokki TC) in the 3000 m, putting her on track for a 9:05.17 season best before kicking away for the win in 9:01.55. Tanaka plans to race January's National Women's Ekiden before representing Japan at February's Asian Indoor Championships.

National Corporate Women's Time Trials

Yamaguchi, 12/7/19
complete results

Women's 5000 m Heat 3
1. Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) - 15:05.40 - U20 NR
2. Martha Mokaya (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:13.07
3. Hellen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:14.21
4. Tomoka Kimura (Shiseido) - 15:32.93
5. Kaede Hagitani (Edion) - 15:37.98
6. Shino Hasegawa (Wacoal) - 15:38.13
7. Akane Ogasawara (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:46.68
8. Juri Ichikawa (Yamada Denki) - 15:46.89
9. Mikuni Yada (Denso) - 15:47.31
10. Misaki Hayashida (Kyudenko) - 15:48.31

Women's 10000 m Heat 2
1. Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 31:28.45
2. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 31:29.29
3. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 31:34.56 - PB
4. Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 31:37.88 - PB
5. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 31:38.63 - PB
6. Ayumi Hagiwara (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 31:59.47
7. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 32:02.36
8. Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) - 32:05.90
9. Ai Hosoda (Daihatsu) - 32:06.34
10. Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 32:08.44

Women's 3000 m Heat 1
1. Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki TC) - 9:01.55
2. Yume Goto (Toyota Jidoshokki TC) - 9:05.17
3. Miyaka Sugata (Japan Post) - 9:26.45
4. Eijia MIyagi (Yamada Denki) - 9:37.17
5. Koto Hiramura (Daiso) - 9:51.22

photo © 2019 M. Kawaguchi, all rights reserved
text © 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Winner Shogo Nakamura Wins First Race of Year in PB Time

2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (27, Fujitsu) ran a course record 1:01:40 to win the Jan. 12 Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon in Tochigi. His time bettered his 2016 PB of 1:01:53 by 13 seconds. "I ran pretty much according to plan," he commented afterward.

Nakamura's sponsor team Fujitsu finished 17th at November's East Japan Corporate Ekiden, failing to qualify for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships. As a result, Takanezawa was his first race of the Olympic year. Alongside him were members of 2020 Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University, runner-up Tokai University and other top collegiate programs. Most fielded 3rd-year and younger team members who didn't make this year's Hakone lineups, giving them valuable experience for the buildup to next year's 97th running.

Next up Nakamura plans to run in the Mar. 29 World Half Marathon Championships. His coach Hiroaki Oyagi, 61, commented, "At the World Half we wil…

2020 Japanese Distance Rankings

2020 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. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.

Past years:
2019 ・ 2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Coming Down From Hakone - This Year's Race in the Cold, Hard Light of Day

Damn, has it already been a week? Time goes by so fast. Times at the HakoneEkiden this year were fast too. Eight guys broke course records on four of the five stages on Day One, and another five broke the records on three of the five stages on Day Two. Two of the three stages that didn't have new records were just seconds off. Four teams broke the Day One course record, two broke the overall course record, and one broke the Day Two record. This all mirrored what happened a day earlier at the New Year Ekiden, where eight men broke the records on four of the seven stages, at least one other missed by seconds, the top two teams broke the official overall course record and two more broke the record for the actual current version of the course.

And not just records. Some of them were historic, epoch-making marks. None more so than Tokyo Kokusai University's Vincent Yegon, who busted the greatest performance in Hakone history, a 59:25 course record for the 21.4 km Third Stage, 2:01…