Skip to main content

Five National Records in Chitose Bring Hokuren Distance Challenge to an End


The 2021 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up Saturday in Chitose with a big day for Japanese middle distance. Hiroki Minamoto (Kantai Heiyo Univ.) started things off with a 1:45.75 to win the men's 800 m, exactly tying the national and collegiate records. The holder of both records, Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki), was 2nd in 1:45.83, with Mikuto Kaneko (Chuo Univ.) right there in 1:45.85 to come in at 3rd in the race and the all-time JPN lists.

Kazuki Kawamura (Toenec) kept it going in the men's 1500 m, taking over 1.5 sec off Nanami Arai's 7-week-old NR in 3:35.42. U18 NR holder Keita Sato (Rakunan H.S.) was 2nd in 3:37.18, breaking the U20, U18 and H.S. national records and moving up to all-time JPN #3.  Tokyo Olympics 5000 m team member Yuta Bando (Fujitsu) was 3rd in 3:37.99, good for all-time JPN #6, with his teammate in both Fujitsu and the Olympic 5000 m Hiroki Matsueda last in 3:52.01. Although they're listed as DNS in the official results, both Bando and Matsueda doubled in the 5000 m B-heat half an hour later, Matsueda running 8:07 and Bando 8:15 before stopping at 3000 m. Two other men, Ryota Matono (Mitsubishi Juko) and Hideonori Sakuma (Meiji Univ.) went under 3:40, adding to the depth of progress in the least-developed area of Japanese running.

Along with Bando and Matsueda, Olympic-bound Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki) shaved another fraction off her own record with a 4:04.08 to win the women's 1500 m. 17-year-old Caroline Kariba (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) broke the 3000 m high school girls' national record, winning in 8:47.85 over corporate leaguer Esther Muthoni (Nitori), 2nd in 8:48.90. Kariba's mark was an U18 world lead, and she came just 1.5 seconds short of an U20 WL to match. Struggling to develop fitness this season before the Olympic 10000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Sekisui Kagaku) tripled with two heats of 3000 m and a 1500 m in less than one hour, running 9:11.19, 9:09.27 and 4:28.03. 

Ethiopian Desta Burka (Denso) won the women's 5000 m B-heat in 15:19.17, almost fast enough to have taken the A-heat where Kenyan Naomi Muthoni Kariuki (Univ. Ent.) won in 15:17.70. 18-year-old Takushoku University first-year Seira Fuwa continued to impress, running a PB 15:20.66 for 3rd in the A-heat behind Muthoni and Joan Kipkemoi (Kyudenko). Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) soloed a 31:58.88 in the women's 10000 m, winning by almost a minute and a half.

Simon Musio Saiamu (Chuo Hatsujo) won the men's 5000 m B-heat in 13:24.17. With no men's 10000 m on the program the men's 5000 m A-heat brought the meet and series to a close. James Muoki (Konica Minolta) took his second win in the series, 1st in 13:19.92 over Kibet Antipas (SGH Group), 2nd in 13:21.98. Indoor 5000 m NR holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) was 3rd in 13:26.14, outkicking 2021 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University star Ren Tazawa who was the last runner under 13:30, just, in 13:29.91.

The end of the meet brought track season to a close for everyone except the few headed to the Olympics next week. From here out begins the build toward the fall and winter ekiden season, even as uncertainty surrounds which races will actually go ahead.

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Hokkaido's Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. Builds 330 m Greenhouse Indoor Track

Targeting its sixth-straight win at the Oct. 23 Hokkaido Prefecture High School Girls Ekiden, Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. has complete construction of the Asahikawa Ryukoku Indoor Track, at 330 m in length the nation's largest running-specific circuit course entirelyely enclosed in vinyl greenhouse material. The ceremony marking the track's official completion is scheduled for Oct. 28th. In a part of the country known for heavy snowfall, the hope is that Asahikawa Ryukoku's new year-round training ground will help it make the jump to becoming a factor at the national level. The indoor track was built on the 1650 square meter campus of the former Asahikawa Toei H.S., where Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. will relocate next summer. Coated in durable vinyl, the massive white torus of the track stands out from its surroundings. Ranging from 5.4 m to 7.2 m in width, the track's housing is wide enough to accommodate four lanes. In the future, two lanes will be covered with artificial turf

Meiji University Wins Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Half Marathon

After a surprise finish outside the top 10 at this year's Hakone Ekiden, Meiji University  was back to do the expected, winning the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon qualifier Saturday in Tachikawa, Tokyo by over 4 minutes. In windy conditions things went out slowly up front, the lead group of 6 Kenyans hitting the first km in only 3:01. Last year's winner Joseph Lemeteki Razini  (Takushoku Univ.) made a push to get things into gear and Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.), James Bunuka  (Surugadai Univ.), Charles Kamau Wanjiku  (Musashino Gakuin Univ.) and Paul Onyiego  (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) all took turns leading, but it wasn't until 14 km for Wanjiku to make a serous move. Running the rest of the way unchallenged, he took 1st in 1:01:23, more than a minute slower than Razini's winning time last year. The only two people in the front group not to take the lead at some point, Samson Ndirangu (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) and Noah Kiplimo  (Nihon Yakka Univ.) were 2nd an

Championship Ekiden Qualification Weekend

Championship ekiden season is on the way, and this weekend two of the main events will hold their official qualification races. Saturday in Tokyo's western suburb of Tachikawa is the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon, a chance for collegiate men to be on the starting line of the world's #1 race this coming January. 10 universities are already qualified for the Hakone Ekiden by having finished in the top 10 at this year's race, and at the Yosenkai another 10 will join them. 41 universities from the greater Tokyo area will run from 10 to 12 men each and are scored on the total time of their first 10 finishers. The fastest 10 teams go on to Hakone, pure and simple. Top individuals from teams that don't qualify will also be named to a select team, as long as they're Japanese citizens, to fill out Hakone's field of 21. NTV will broadcast the race and its tense qualifier announcement ceremony live starting at 9:25 a.m. Saturday local time, with official streami