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Arai Breaks 1500 m National Record in Portland

The weekend's main action took place overseas, most of it at the Portland Track Festival. Men's indoor 1500 m national record holder Nanami Arai (Honda) made the biggest news, breaking the 2004-era outdoor 1500 m national record by 0.37 with a 3:37.05 for 12th. Arai is still over two seconds off the Olympic qualifying standard, but progress is progress and a national record in one of Japanese athletics' weak spots was a welcome development.

5000 m national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike), scheduled to run the marathon at the Olympics, turned some heads by doubling in two heats of 10,000 m, winning the first heat in 27:56.44 and taking 2nd in the second heat in 29:04.28. 2020 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Yuya Yoshida (GMO) went under 28 minutes for the first time, taking 3rd in the first heat in 27:58.68, His teammate Yuki Kawasaki was a DNF.

Indoor 5000 m national record holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) had a decent comeback from his most recent injury, taking 8th in the men's 5000 m in 13:28.07. Now 48, women's 3000 mSC national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) ran 10:42.34 to finish 5th in the steeplechase B-heat.

In the Czech Republic at Prague's Battle of the Teams marathon, in her third marathon so far in 2021 Reia Iwade (Adidas) finished 10th in 2:32:33, the fastest time outside Japan so far this year by a Japanese woman.  Iwade's team Skupina Cez finished 4th of four in the event's team scoring competition.

Hayakari photo © 2021 Sarah Lorge Butler, all rights reserved
text © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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