Yamanaka Runs Steeplechase World Leader in Hyogo – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Yamanaka Runs Steeplechase World Leader in Hyogo

Written by on April 26, 2021

Even as several big races and meets canceled amid new states of emergency being declared across the country, two big two-day meets went off as planned this weekend.

At Kobe’s Hyogo Relay Carnival, Yuno Yamanaka (Ehime Ginko) ran a world-leading 6:19.55 to win the women’s 2000 m steeplechase. Both Yamanaka and runner-up Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) bettered Yabuta’s old national best in the little-raced distance, Yabuta more than 7 seconds under her old mark in 6:20.37. The national best mark also fell in the men’s 2000 m steeplechase, with 2019’s 3000 mSC national champion Ryohei Sakaguchi (SGH Group) clipping almost 2 seconds off the old mark in 5:29.89.

In the women’s 5000 m, 2021 national university half marathon champion Narumi Kobayashi (Meijo Univ.) the only woman to break 16 minutes at 15:57.87. Aoyama Gakuin University runners took the top three spots in the men’s 5000 m, new recruits Masaya Tsurekawa and Aoi Ota going 1-2 in 13:55.77 and 13:59.71.

In a windy women’s 10000 m with only 8 people on the starting line, Kenyan Joan Kipkemoi (Kyudenko) paced teammate Wakana Itsuki through 8000 m before pulling away to take the top spot in 32:31.19, her debut over the distance. Itsuki was next in 32:48.43, with club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto) just missing out on a sub-33 mark but still managing a PB of 33:02.64 for 3rd. Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) was 4th in 33:25.85, far off her pre-race target.

All three men’s 10000 m heats saw winning times under 28 minutes. Kiprono Sitonik (Komori Corp.) was the fastest, taking Saturday’s B-heat in 27:42.74. Sunday’s A-heat winner Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu) was next in 27:52.92. A-heat runner-up Tomoki Ota (Toyota) broke 28 for the first time in 27:56.49, just 0.90 off what his younger brother Naoki Ota (Waseda Univ.) ran at last December’s National Championships. C-heat winner Rodgers Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) rounded out the count with a 27:54.03 for the win.

But the fastest men’s 10000 m time of the weekend came at Kanagawa’s Nittai University Time Trials meet. There Stanley Waithaka (Yakult) soloed a 27:19.16 to take the top spot in Saturday’s A-heat. Ryota Natori (Konica Minolta) had the fastest 5000 m mark, winning the A-heat in 13:44.39. In the B-heat three members of Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University‘s new lineup broke 14 minutes, bringing the total number of Komazawa runners this year with sub-14 bests up to 16. Shunsuke Yoshii (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), younger brother of 5000 m U20 NR holder Yamato Yoshii (Chuo Univ.), won the 1500 m A-heat in 3:47.35.

Newcomer Judy Jepngetich (Shiseido) made a splash with an 8:59.58 win in the women’s 3000 m A-heat, almost 9 seconds up on runner-up Ai Hosoda (Edion). Another Japan-based Kenyan, Dorphine Nyaboke Omare (U.S.E.), won the 5000 m A-heat in 15:54.05, with club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) 2nd in a season best 16:07.16.

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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