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Justus Soget and Benard Koech Clear Worlds Standards at Hokuren Distance Challenge


The Hokuren Distance Challenge 20th Anniversary Meet, a last chance set up by the JAAF for Japanese athletes to hit 2022 World Championships standards ahead of Sunday's deadline, produced two new qualifier. Pacing the men's 5000 m, Justus Soget (Honda) kept going when the rest of the field dropped off and crossed the line in a new PB of 13:12.90, the 18th Kenyan to qualify for Worlds in the 5000 m. Men's 10000 m pacer Benard Koech (Kyudenko) did the same, getting under the standard in 27:20.66 and also becoming the 18th Kenyan to qualify. Half marathon great Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) almost joined Koech but came up just short in 27:29.85 for 2nd.

Among Japanese men the performance of the day was former 1500 m NR holder Nanami Arai (Honda), who ran an all-time JPN #3 PB of 3:36.63 for the win, short of the Worlds standard but adding further to the incremental step up this season for Japanese middle distance as a whole. Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) gave the 8:22.00 standard a serious go in the men's 3000 mSC, but over the last lap he was totally spent, coming to an almost complete stop at the last water barrier as he summoned up the strength to get over it. He ended up with a time of 8:29.33, enough to get him up into the quota but not to overtake Japan's #3 man Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo), who has to wait a few more days to see if he survives in the quota's top spot.

In the women's 3000 mSC Yuzu Nishide (Daihatsu) was also short of the standard, soloing the 2nd-fastest time of her career but missing her minimum goal of 9:40 with a winning time of 9:49.66. Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki) shaved a fraction of a second off her own 1000 m NR in 2:37.33, possibly earning enough points to squeeze into the bottom of the 800 m quota. Likely to be picked for the 5000 m, Kaede Hagitani (Edion) couldn't pull off the 10000 m standard despite the help of Kenyan pacers Hellen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) and Judy Jepngetich (Shiseido), finishing 23 seconds off her best in 31:58.17.

Complete results are available here. The Hokuren Distance Challenge series continues July 2.

© 2022 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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