by Brett Larner
As road season got underway, three track time trials and one regional high school meet across Japan on Oct. 1 saw competitive action.
Sato leading the Otani twins in Hiroshima. Photo by rikubaka. Click for complete photo album.
At the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Time Trials meet in Hiroshima, half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) ran his final tuneup for next weekend's Chicago Marathon, leading the 5000 m A-heat the entire way before being outkicked. Sato finished 3rd in 14:05.76 with Masaki Sekido (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) taking the win in 13:59.27. Kenta Otani (Team JFE Steel) was 2nd in a PB of 14:04.13 with his identical twin brother Keita Otani (Team JFE Steel) 5th in 14:07.54. Daegu World Championships marathoner Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) returned to action with an easy win in the women's 5000 m in 16:24.07. Hiroki Ishida (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) took the 10000 m in 29:07.48, half a second up on teammate Taku Miyahara.
World champ Jeilan before his pacing duties. Photo by ekiden mania. Click to enlarge.
In Tokyo's western suburbs, Ethiopian Fekele Assefa (Team Kanebo) had an easy win over Aoyama Gakuin University ace Takehiro Deki, 13:56.65 to 14:04.30. Fekele's countryman Ibrahim Jeilan (Team Honda) appeared on the track in Japan for the first time since winning the Daegu World Championships 10000 m gold medal and Africa Games 10000 m gold medal, pacing the Saitama Jitsugyodan Time Trials 10000 m A-heat for his Honda teammates. 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) benefited with a 28:54.29 for the win after having cancelled a planned run in last weekend's Berlin Marathon. Along with Fujiwara, Hakone Ekiden star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo University) ran his first race of the season, winning the 5000 m A-heat in 13:55.93.
Further north in Kitakami, Iwate, Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru (Aomori Yamada H.S.) was the star of the Tohoku High School Newcomers meet as she set a new meet record of 9:12.98 to win the girls' 3000 m by more than 35 seconds.
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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