At Sunday's Kyoto Time Trials meet, 1500 m and 5000 m high school record holder Keita Sato, a 17-year-old 3rd-year at Rakunan H.S., added the 3000 m high school record to his resume with a mostly solo 7:50.81. In perfect fall conditions Sato frontran the entire way, tailed through a 2:34 first 1000 m by Kogakkan University's Shoya Suzuki but all on his own the rest of the way. From 1000 to 2000 m he split 2:38, more or less holding that pace the rest of the way with a 61-second final lap to split 2:38 again for the final 1000 m.
In terms of World Athletics scoring tables, Sato's three records break down like this:
1500 m: 3:37.18 - 1145 points
3000 m: 7:50.81 - 1110 points
5000 m: 13:31.19 - 1098 points
Sato's rankings on the all-time Japanese lists mirror this, his 1500 m putting him at all-time #3 along with #1 on the U20 and U18 lists, his new 3000 m time at #10 on the all-time list, #2 on the U20 and #1 on the U18 lists, and his 5000 m nowhere near the all-time top 10 but good for #4 on the U20 and #1 on the U18 lists. At the world level, on this year's U18 lists he now stands at #3 for 1500 m and #1 for both 3000 and 5000 m. On the U20 lists he's #7 for 1500 m, #6 for 3000 m, and #16 for 5000 m.
Next up Sato is scheduled to run the Dec. 26 National High School Ekiden, where individual stages range from 3.0 to 10.0 km for boys. Although he's currently performing better at shorter distances, it's all but a given that he'll end up on the 10.0 km opening leg, The 27:48 course record from 1995 by then-future Olympian Julius Gitahi is probably out of reach, but at the very least Sato should be able to give the record for the fastest time by a Japanese runner, 28:48 two years ago by Issei Sato, a solid shot.
© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved