Skip to main content

Yamanashi Gakuin's Omwamba After 1500 m Collegiate National Record - "I Want to Win at All Three University Ekidens"

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20150523-OHT1T50192.html

translated by Brett Larner
video by naoki620



With Yamanashi Gakuin University having scored a place in the Hakone Ekiden's seeded bracket for the first time in 3 years, on May 15 its star senior Enock Omwamba broke the 1500 m national collegiate record in winning the Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships in 3:35.69, at the time the fastest mark in the world this year.  He became the first man in 78 years to win four-straight Kanto 1500 m titles, and returning to win the 5000 m two days later he scored his third-straight Kanto double.  Heading into his last year of university in good form, we sat down to talk to the enthusiastic Kenyan star.

At Kanto Regionals you won your fourth-straight 1500 m title, and your time of 3:35.69 was the fastest in the world this year as well as big improvement on your 3:38.78 PB.  Tell us about your race.

Omwamba: When I started warming up I could tell I was feeling good.  The last 200 m were really tough, but the training I had done to get there was tougher [laughs].  I ran at 100% all the way to the finish.

You also broke both the 3:37.96 national collegiate record set by Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) and the 3:37.42 Japanese national record.

Omwamba: My target this time was 3:35.  Hitting it was the result of four years of hard work.

This was your third-straight 1500 m - 5000 m double at Kanto Regionals.  Are you going to go for the 10000 m title at the National University Track and Field Championships too?

Omwamba: I'd like to give it a try.  I think I can break my predecessor Mekubo Mogusu's 27:27.64 national collegiate record.

On the first day of Kanto Regionals YGU's new first-year Dominic Nyairo won the 10000 m but was disqualified for coming in from the outer lanes too soon at the start.

Omwamba: Nyairo was really depressed after that, so I gave him a lot of advice.  He just got to Japan.  I don't think he's going to blow it next time.

You usually practice together as well.  What advice have you given him?

Omwamba: I told him that the first year here is a nightmare, but that you have to give everything you have to both your training and your studies.  It's better to decide the pace in workouts together and run together than it is to do it by yourself, and more fun that way too.

The YGU team's motto this year is "Break your own shell."  What kind of shell do you have to break?

Omwamba: Up to now this season things have been good over the middle distances on the track, so in summer I want to build up a solid mileage base and really do it this ekiden season.  This will be the first time in three years that we are running all three of the Big Three University Ekidens.  I want to make everyone happy by winning my stages at the Izumo Ekiden, the National University Ekiden and the Hakone Ekiden.

Enock Omwamba: Senior, Yamanashi Gakuin University.  Born April 4, 1993 in Nairobi, Kenya.  22 years old.  Began running at age 12, first focusing on middle distance and then moving to long distance at Nakuru High School.  PBs this season include 3:35.69 for 1500 m and 13:28.41 for 5000 m.  Has also run 28:00.33 for 10000 m and 1:01:15 for the half marathon.  170 cm, 54 kg.  Family includes his parents and eight siblings, of which he is sixth-born.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…