Meet 4 of 5 in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place Wednesday in Kitami, Hokkaido. The men's 5000 m A-heat was the race of the day, with Tokyo 2020 steeplechase squad members Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) and Ryoma Aoki (Honda) going 1-2 in PBs of 13:26.78 and 13:32.31. Still just 19, Miura moved up to all-time Japanese U20 #2 less than a second behind record holder and rival Yamato Yoshii's record of 13:25.87. Another steepler, although not part of the Olympic team, Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) ran a PB of 13:48.40 to win the 5000 m B-heat.© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
Three women went under 15:20 in the women's 5000 m A-heat, Kenyans Agnes Mwikali (Kyocera) and Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) getting the top spots in 15:15.82 and 15:16.73 and planned Olympic doubler Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki) 3rd in 15:17.93. Paralympic team member Misato Michishita (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) was off the time she ran on Saturday in Abashiri but still picked up the win in the women's T11-13 5000 m, running 19:07.26. Men's T11 5000 m world record holder Kenya Karasawa (GSWC) had a good day, beating his Abashiri time by 14 seconds for the win in the T11-T13 men's race in 15:20.23.
The men's 10000 m produced four times under 28 minutes, all by Kenyans and led by Titus Wambua (SID Group) in 27:48.68. Olympic marathon squad alternate Shohei Otsuka (Kyudenko) was 9th in 28:37.41, 12 seconds off his PB. The women's 3000 m had two people under 9 minutes, again both Kenyan, Caroline Kariba (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) running 8:52.82 for the win and Dolphine Nyaboi Omare (U.S.E. RC) 2nd in 8:54.47.
The 2021 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wraps up Saturday in Chitose, Hokkaido.