Sunday is the main event at the 102nd Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships, with finals for the half marathon, 3000 m steeplechase, 800 m and 5000 m. Complete meet schedule and entry lists here.
The D2/D3 men's half marathon kicks off at 9:00 a.m., with the D1 race starting 6 minutes later. Runners do four laps of the track, then head out onto the roads for 12 laps of a 1.58 km circuit before returning to finish on the track. 2023 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University's Takuma Yamakawa is the fastest man in the D2/D3 field at 1:01:36, with Goki Takayama (Koku Gakuin Univ.) and Komazawa teammate Yuto Akahoshi just behind at 1:01:42 and 1:02:00.
Four men in the D1 race have run under 1:03, led by Kazuki Ishii (Juntendo Univ.) at 1:02:20. But there's a lot of potential in newcomer Brian Kipyegon (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), already 27:51.65 for 10000 m in his first year on the collegiate circuit.
The D2 men's, D1 men's and D1 women's 3000 mSC go off back-to-back starting at 11:10 a.m. The 8:42.57 D2 men's meet record looks at risk of falling at the hands of Asahi Kuroda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.), but the fastest man in the race, Kento Uchida (Rikkyo Univ.) twisted his ankle after the last jump while leading in yesterday's heats and fell twice in the last straight as he limped in to finish 3rd. Whether he's ready to go remains to be seen. The 8:35.2 D1 men's MR will be more of a stretch, and the 9:57.46 D1 women's MR looks out of reach of this year's field.
The D2 men's, D1 women's and D2 men's 800 m finals are also back-to-back starting at 12:50. Nao Kurihara (Josai Univ.) is the fastest man in the D2 race at 1:50.00 but had the 2nd-slowest qualifying time, 1:55.93. The D1 men's race looks likelier to have a winning time under 1:50, with five guys holding PBs in 1:48-1:49 range and two of them, Kaishi Kitamura (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and Hiroto Takamura (Nittai Univ.) having been just a fraction over in their heats. The D1 women's race is likely to be in the 2:08 range, but a good run from 1st-year Kiho Tanaka (Josai Univ.) or Heat 1 winner Salina Hiller (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) could push it down to 2:07.
The D2 men's, D1/D2 women's, and D1 men's 5000 m wrap the distance action at this year's Kanto Regionals, starting at 14:05. D2 men's 10000 m winner Victor Kimutai (Josai Univ.) is the favorite in the 5000 m too with a best of 13:26.77, his toughest competition being Taiyo Yasuhara (Komazawa Univ.) at 13:37.01.
It's the same story in the D1/D2 women's race, where 10000 m winner Sarah Wanjiru (Daito Bunka Univ.) leads the field at 15:33.29 and top woman Yuiri Ogata (Nittai Univ.) trails at 15:42.87. Risa Yamazaki (Nittai Univ.) and Moe Koda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) aren't far behind at 15:48.46 and 15:48.60 and should be in the race for the podium.
The D1 men's race should be the race of the meet. High school NR holder Hiroto Yoshioka (Juntendo Univ.) is the fastest man in the field at 13:22.99, D1 10000 m winner James Mutok (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) is right behind him at 13:24.73, 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) another step behind at 13:26.78, Shotaro Ishihara (Tokai Univ.) just back at 13:29.21, and the Waseda University duo Tomonori Yamaguchi and Taishi Ito both right around 13:35.
© 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved