Track season in Japan goes almost year-round, with the fall time trial meets acting mostly as tune-ups for ekiden season. Both of the big meets this weekend played that role. At the Chugoku Corporate Time Trials meet Saturday in Hiroshima, the top five men, all Kenyan, broke the old 5000 m meet record of 13:36.36 thanks in part to the presence of a large number of teams from the Kyushu region. Emmanuel Kiplagat (Mitsubishi Juko) got the win in 13:19.05. Africans took the top seven spots, Shunya Kikuchi (Chugoku Denryoku) the first Japanese man at 8th in 13:53.33. Kenyans went 1-3 in the women's 3000 m, Teresiah Muthoni (Daiso) taking 1st in 9:03.11 over teammate Rebecca Mwangi, 2nd in 9:03.47, and Rose Wangui (Sera H.S.), 3rd in 9:04.40. Honoka Tanaike (Otsuka Seiyaku) was the top Japanese woman at 4th in 9:30.52.
The 298th Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama was smaller than usual, with only twelve heats of men's 5000 m on Sunday. Saturday saw newcomer Nelson Mandela Mubiti (Obirin Univ.) make his Japanese debut, running a PB of 28:41.53 to win the men's 10000 m A-heat over a group of other 1st-year Kenyans at minor Kanto Region universities. 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (JR Higashi Nihon) was the first Japanese man across the line, 5th in 29:22.76.
Women's 5000 m NR holder Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) doubled in the 1500 m and 3000 m, winning both in 4:21.42 and 8:56.20. Minami Yamanouchi was a surprise in 2nd, making her debut with the Shimamura team, if not in its uniform, with a solid 8:57.15, just 0.13 off her PB. That PB came in 2018, the same season she set her 5000 m and 10000 m bests of 15:21.31 and 31:16.48, and almost equalling it here was the first good result she's had since losing Atsushi Sato as a coach when he left his position at the Kyocera team. Two high schoolers went under 9:06, Haruka Ogawa (Junten H.S.) 5th in 9:05.46 and Mariya Noda (Kitakyushu Shiritsu H.S.) 6th in 9:05.85.
Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) soloed a 15:10.97 for the win in the women's 5000 m A-heat. Erika Tanoura (Sekisui Kagaku) outkicked Hokkaido Marathon winner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) for 2nd, 15:43.75 to 15:48.67, with another lost veteran, marathon collegiate record holder Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu), dropping a surprise comeback with a 15:58.43 for 5th. Women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama (Shiseido) was 6th in 16:06.61 in her first race since a last-second positive COVID test kept her out of this summer's Oregon World Championships marathon.
When Sunday rolled around the men's 5000 m wasn't quite as fast as what had happened in Hiroshima the night before, but it wasn't far off. James Muoki (Konica Minolta) ran 13:23.36 for 1st in the A-heat, with Hakone Ekiden star Vincent Yegon (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) 2nd in 13:25.68 and Muoki's KM teammate Dominic Langat 3rd in 13:31.33. The top Japanese man was Nagiya Mori (Honda), 6th in 13:56.51.
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