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Weekend Track Roundup (updated)

The first meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge in Hokkaido was the main meet of the weekend, but there was more action near Tokyo than in a normal year too as organizers sought to keep the number of people in one location down. At the HDC Shibetsu Meet the men's 3000 m was the highlight, with Yohei Ikeda (Kanebo) winning in 7:56.10 to lead the top eight under eight minutes. Even just five years ago it was rare to see more than one Japanese man break eight in an entire year, a sign of how much things have changed in both shoes and priorities. 

Titus Wambua (SID Group) ran 13:22.49 for 1st in the men's 5000 m A-heat, Kenyans sweeping the top four spots. In 5th Kotaro Kondo set a new school record for ekiden power Aoyama Gakuin University, running 13:34.88.  34-year-old Yuki Sato (SGH Group) was 6th in 13:35.74, bettering the time he ran at Nationals less than two weeks ago by 3 seconds.

Women's results in Shibetsu were low-key, Sakiko Naito (Panasonic) taking the 3000 m A-heat in 9:15.57 and Aoi Nomura (Sekisui Kagaku) the 5000 m in 15:58.89. The Nittai University Time Trials in Kanagawa seemed to be more the meet of choice for women, Despite heavy rain, Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) took the 3000 m A-heat at Nittai in 8:56.50, Narumi Kobayashi (Meijo Univ.) next in 9:02.54 and the top five all bettering Naito's mark in Shibetsu. 

Marathoner Mao Kiyota (Suzuki) won the women's 5000 m in 16:00.50. Taiyo Yasuhara (Komazawa Univ.) won the men's 5000 m A-heat in a PB 13:50.01 with teammate Yuto Akahoshi running 13:57.55 for 6th to give this year's Hakone Ekiden champs 18 men with sub-14 bests for 5000 m. Ethiopian great Imane Merga (Yachioyo Kogyo) continued his comeback with a 13:54.17 for 3rd.

At Chiba's Juntendo University Time Trials Keigo Kurihara turned in the fastest time in the men's 5000 m A-heat at 13:46.96, with eight Juntendo men breaking 14 minutes for 5000 m. Yusaku Nomura led the home team in 13:49.23. Juntendo first-year Mao Kogura won the women's 3000 m in 9:23.03, teammate Ryosuke Harada winning the men's 3000 m in 8:08.46.

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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