Skip to main content

Kamulu Runs 10000 m World Lead, Ahn Breaks Korean National Record, Tamura Clears 28 Minutes, Niiya Back on Track in Fukagawa


National records fell for the third meet in a row in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Longtime Japan resident Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) had a shockingly good run in the women's 10000 m A-heat, following up her 1:06:56 bronze medal run at the Valencia World Half Marathon Championships by lopping over a minute off her 10000 m best and 9 seconds off the Japanese all-comers record with a 2018 world-leading time of 30:41.85.

Kamulu lapped the entire field, her nearest competitor Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) returning from a 2:23:46 marathon PB in Osaka in January to take 30 seconds off her own best in 32:13.87. Further back, Seul Ki Ahn broke the South Korean national record set 13 years ago in Fukagawa with a new mark of 32:33.61. Ahn's NR followed the 2:25:41 NR set by Do Yeon Kim at the Seoul International Marathon in March, a miniature renaissance in South Korea women's distance running.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was also decently fast, Andrew Lorot (Subaru) leading four men under 28 minutes with a 27:52.39 for the win. The fourth of them, Aoyama Gakuin University grad Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko), was the first Japanese man to clear 28 minutes in what has been something of a dry year for the distance to date, running a PB of 27:58.35. Popular former Komazawa University captain Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) had his best result after years of injury setbacks, taking 6th in 28:17.63 as the next Japanese man behind Tamura.

Japan-based Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) easily won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:20.95, but the bigger story in that race was 2nd-placer Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC). After memorably heartbreaking races on the track at the London Olympics and Moscow World Championships Niiya abruptly retired. This spring she quietly made a comeback after almost 5 years with a low-key track time trial to get a qualifying mark for Hokuren. At Fukagawa, just her second race since 2013, she ran 15:35.19, a long way from her best but what has to be a big confidence booster as she tries to suss out how realistic a comeback would be by 2020.

Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta) won a relatively uneventful men's 5000 A-heat in 13:29.53 by 0.19 over Kiprono Sitonik (Kenya). The more interesting race was the men's 3000 m, a tuneup for fast times in the 5000 m Saturday at the series' final meet. Bernard Koech (Kyudenko) won the 3000 m in 7:54.39, with Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) leading four Japanese men under 8 minutes in 7:55.45.

Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet

Fukagawa, Hokkaido, 7/11/18
complete results

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Andrew Lorot (Subaru) - 27:52.39
2. Ledama Kisaisa (Obirin Univ.) - 27:52.74
3. Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) - 27:56.81
4. Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) - 27:58.35
5. Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 28:08.01
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 28:17.63
7. Charles Ndungu (Komori Corp.) - 28:18.22
8. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) - 28:18.39
9. Takumi Komatsu (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 28:24.39
10. Shuhei Yamamoto (Toyota) - 28:27.10

Women's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) - 30:41.85 - WL
2. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) - 32:13.87
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:17.54
4. Natsuki Omori (Daihatsu) - 32:24.27
5. Misaki Hayashida (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:29.11
6. Seul Ki Ahn (South Korea) - 32:33.61 - NR
7. Mizuki Tanimoto (Tenmaya) - 32:33.76
8. Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 32:34.37
9. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) - 32:51.09
10. Hiroko Miyauchi (Hokuren) - 32:51.71

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Dominic Langat (Konica Minolta) - 13:29.53
2. Kiprono Sitonik (Kenya) - 13:29.72
3. Wesley Ledama (Subaru) - 13:34.64
4. Daiji Kawai (Toenec) - 13:45.91
5. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 13:50.92
6. Makoto Mitsunobu (Kyudenko) - 13:52.62
7. Masaki Toda (Nissin) - 13:53.31
8. Junnosuke Matsuo (Tokai Univ.) - 13:54.65
9. Noritoshi Hara (Honda) - 13:57.79
10. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) - 13:59.54

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) - 15:20.95
2. Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) - 15:35.19
3. Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:58.10
4. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:59.44
5. Eri Utsunomiya (Japan Post) - 16:00.70

Men's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Bernard Koech (Kyudenko) - 7:54.39
2. Robert Kipchirchir Mwei (Asahi Kasei) - 7:55.40
3. Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) - 7:55.45
4. Nanami Arai (Honda) - 7:56.35
5. Daichi Takeuchi (Toenec) - 7:57.42
6. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) - 7:59.30

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Andrew Armiger said…
Promising performances, go Niiya!

Most-Read This Week

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 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. Click any image to enlarge.


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

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…