Skip to main content

Tanaka Leads Five High Schoolers Under Nine Minutes in National Sports Festival Junior Women's 3000 m

The 2017 National Sports Festival took place over the long weekend, the last major track meet on the Japanese calendar as ekiden season gets into full swing. This year saw one of the greatest women's 3000 m races and certainly the best high school 3000 m ever held on Japanese soil, as 18-year-old Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) led five high school women under nine minutes to win in 8:54.27.


The daughter of Japan's best female amateur marathoner, 2:29:30 runner Chihiro Tanaka, Tanaka broke nine minutes for the first time in August with a runner-up finish to Kenyan Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) at the National High School Championships in 8:59.83. Last month she took that to 8:58.81 at a time trial meet in Shizuoka. At the National Sports Festival she ran at the front of a lead pack of eight featuring five Japanese runners and three Kenyans, the pace close to Kayoko Fukushi's 8:52.3 junior national record and Yuriko Kobayashi's 8:52.33 high school national record. At the bell Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) had the lead, Tanaka and Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) just behind. In the home straight it looked like Mokaya would take it, but this time Tanaka found what it took to get by with 50 m to go and cross the line first by a margin of 0.41.

With her 8:54.27 Tanaka moved up to all-time #2 on the high school 3000 m record list, #3 on the junior list, and #7 on the Japanese women's list, less than two seconds from the marks set by future 1500 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holders Fukushi and Kobayashi. And it wasn't just her. With a PB of 8:54.68 Mokaya moved up to 5th on the Japanese high school Kenyan all-time list. Ogasawara, 3rd in 8:54.98, and Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.), 4th in 8:56.29, also made the record lists, Ogasawara joining Tanaka on all three and Hironaka making both the high school and junior all-time top ten. For comparison, the top five all bettered then-18-year-old Mary Cain's 8:58.48 winning time at the 2014 World Junior Championships. The top six and eight of the top ten all ran PBs, altogether helping to cement the race's place in Japanese history.



By comparison the junior men's 5000 m was relatively conservative. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) outran three of the best current Japanese high school boys to take the national title in 13:55.92. Passing up the first big high school ekiden of the season in favor of the National Sports Festival, Yuhi Nakaya (Saku Chosei H.S.) was the top Japanese runner at 2nd in 14:00.39, just beating Ryuta Igawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) and Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) in the home straight. Another contingent of junior men faced off over 3000 m, with Hiroto Hayashida (Keiho H.S.) taking the win in 8:33.72.

In the senior women's 5000 m, teammates Tomoka Kimura and Azusa Sumi (both Universal Entertainment) went 1-2, Kimura getting the win in 15:33.14. Marathoner Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) beat last year's winner Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) for 3rd in 15:37.82.

In noteworthy non-distance news, Nanako Fujii (Kitakyushu Municipal H.S.) set a junior national record of 21:33.44 to win the senior women's 5000 m race walk, skimming less than a second off the old record which dated back to 2003. Meet records also fell in seven non-distance events:
  • Jr. women's 800 m: Maki Ueda (Funairi H.S.) - 2:07.12
  • Sr. men's 800 m: Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:48.00
  • Jr. women's 100 mH: Momoko Yamanishi (Shiraume Gakuen H.S.) - 13.52 (+0.1 m/s)
  • Jr. men's 110 mH: Yuto Higuchi (Nara Ikuei H.S.) - 13.40 (-0.1 m/s)
  • Sr. men's discus throw: Masateru Yugami (Toyota) - 59.24 m
  • Sr. women's javelin throw: Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) - 61.07 m
  • Jr. women's triple jump: Sayaka Nakamura (Ishida H.S.) - 12.86 m (+1.2 m/s)

2017 National Sports Festival

Matsuyama, Ehime, Oct. 6-10, 2017
click here for complete results

Junior Women's 3000 m
1. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 8:54.27 - PB
2. Marta Mokaya (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 8:54.68 - PB
3. Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 8:54.98 - PB
4. Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) - 8:56.29 - PB
5. Mary Shipuko (Kaishi Kokusai H.S.) - 8:58.45 - PB
6. Yuna Wada (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 9:01.36 - PB
7. Tabitha Kamau (Nomura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:01.51
8. Ema Hayashi (Takasaki Kenko Fukushi Prep H.S.) - 9:03.37 - PB
9. Mai Misaki (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 9:09.11
10. Saeka Kotera (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 9:11.72 - PB

Junior Men's 3000 m
1. Hiroto Hayashida (Keiho H.S.) - 8:33.72
2. Kosuke Ishida (Asakawa J.H.S.) - 8:35.48
3. Rui Sasaki (Morioka Daiichi H.S.) - 8:36.04
4. Kaishin Hattori (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 8:36.34
5. Masaya Yanagimoto (Toyokawa H.S.) - 8:36.42

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Benuel Mogeni (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 13:55.92
2. Yuhi Nakaya (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 14:00.39
3. Ryuto Igawa (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:00.98
4. Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) - 14:01.63
5. Peter Mwangi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 14:01.64
6. Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) - 14:03.21
7. Ren Tazawa (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 14:03.93
8. Yunosuke Chigira (Tokyo Nogyo Prep Daini H.S.) - 14:12.21
9. Shunsuke Taira (Shiraishi H.S.) - 14:23.72
10. Hibiki Yasuda (Mashita Seifu H.S.) - 14:24.73

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Tomoka Kimura (Univ. Ent.) - 15:33.14
2. Azusa Sumi (Univ. Ent.) - 15:37.12
3. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 15:37.82
4. Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:39.88
5. Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) - 15:42.06
6. Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 15:42.54
7. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:44.91
8. Hisami Ishii (Yamada Denki) - 15:47.08
9. Akane Sekino (Imabari Zosen) - 15:49.23
10. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 15:50.69

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

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…

Karemi Breaks Okukuma Half Marathon Course Record

As championship ekiden season wraps up Japan’s athletes have started the transition to the winter road season, with four decently competitive half marathons highlighting the first half of January.

At the hilly Okukuma Half Marathon, locally-based Africans Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) and Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) duked it out one-on-one, Karemi through in a series of surges in the last 5 km before breaking away decisively with 1 km to go. Crossing the finish line in 1:01:48, Karemi took nearly two minutes off the course record with Abera just under 62 for 2nd.

2nd on the Hakone Ekiden’s Seventh Stage less than two weeks ago, Masanori Sumida (Nittai Univ.) outran corporate league competition Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) and Shohei Kurata (GMO) to take the top Japanese spot at 4th in 1:03:11. Spending most of the race behind a pack led by 2015 National Univeristy Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) and 2:07:39 marathoner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu), Yuki Kawauchi (Sai…