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138 runners go sub-29 in Japanese 10,000m races

The astonishing Japanese distance results continue as racers near Ekiden start lines

Vernon track facility

Following the astonishingly fast half-marathon finishes (400 runners under 1:10) at the Ageo City Half-Marathon in Japan two weeks ago, more quick results are coming from the country’s distance-running events.

This week it’s 10,000m results from the Hachioji Long Distance at Hosei University and the Kanto Region University 10,000m Time Trials which took place on Saturday. Between those two races, 138 runners went sub-29:00 in the 10,000m.

Japan Running News reports that the weather was miserable for both events which are a build up to the January 1 New Year Ekiden and January 2 and 3 Hakone Ekiden, making the results even more impressive. Tomoya Nakamura of Aoyama Gakuin University was the winner at the time trials in 28:31.68. In the women’s results Kako Okada of Matsuyama University took the win in 33:13.24.

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The Hakone ekiden in Japan showcases teams of 10 male students from different universities in the Tokyo region. Each runner completes just over a half-marathon and the race generally draws more than a million spectators. The level of performance is comparable to the NCAA. The ekiden is seen as a showcase of the values of Japanese culture, as it demonstrates participation within a larger group through individual perseverance, as well as loyalty to tradition and the established institutions of the universities.

Outside of championship racing, the 10,000m is an event that’s difficult to find in North America. The fastest 10,000m that ran on Canadian soil in 2019 (and possibly one of the only) was the Pacific Distance Carnival in Burnaby B.C. This meet doubled as the Canadian championships. In that race Ben Flanagan threw down at 64 second lap with five to go that broke up the race. He took the win in 28:37.49, second place went to Luc Bruchet in 28:44.29 and Rory Linkletter was third in 28:55.38.