Since July 23 official track time trials have returned to Miyagi prefecture. Despite this summer's National High School Championships having been canceled local high school athletes have been training hard, and the work they put in has paid off with good results.
On July 25 the 41st Sendai Long Distance Time Trials meet took place at Athlete Park Sendai Field in Sendai's Miyagino Ward. Sendai Ikuei H.S. 2nd-year Nanako Yonezawa 16, produced the biggest result of the day in the women's 1500 m. Last season as a first-year she won the Second Stage at the National High School Ekiden Championships, contributing to Sendai Ikuei's team victory.
In the 1500 m she led from the early stages of the race, kicking off the last corner to take the win. Her time of 4:18.52 was a PB that broke the 25-year-old Miyagi prefecture high school record. It was also the fastest U18 time in the world this year and second-fastest U20 time by just 0.22. "My goal was to hit the National Championships qualifying standard of 4:21.50, so I'm really happy that I did it," said Yonezawa. "I want to stay focused on doing my best and overcoming each challenge that faces me one by one."
Also running a strong time of 4:20.82 was Sendai Ikuei 1st-year Kokone Sugimori, 15. Last year's 1500 m winner at the National Junior High School Championships, Sugimori graduated from the same junior high as Yonezawa a year later and followed her to Sendai Ikuei. "I always wanted to go to Sendai Ikuei, so it's really exciting to finally get to wear the uniform," she said. "I always respected Yonezawa even in junior high, and I want to keep trying to stay with her."
Along with Yonezawa and Sugimori, a third Sendai Ikuei runner, 2nd-year Natsumi Yamanaka, also cleared the National Championships qualifying mark in 4:21.18. All three doubled in the 3000 m, with Yonezawa running 9:36.35 for 2nd behind teammate Haruka Kokai, winner in 9:36.14.
At a separate meet in Osaki, Miyagi on July 23, Sendai Daiichi H.S. third-year Kohei Kanno ran the a PB of 50.67 in the men's 400 m hurdles, the fastest U20 time in the world this year. At another meet in Kurihara, last year's National High School Championships 100 m and 200 m winner Towa Uzawa, 17, was just off his 100 m PB, running a strong 10.46. Like Yonezawa and Sugimori, the cancelation of Nationals didn't stop Kanno or Uzawa from putting in the work, and they finally had the chance to show what they could do.
translated and edited by Brett Larner