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Muchiri Karoki en route to his run away victory at the Chiba Cross Country (Kazutaka Eguchi/Agence SHOT) © Copyright
General News

Karoki and Shimizu the winners at Chiba Cross Country

Muchiri Karoki of Kenya and Yuko Shimizu of Japan won their respective senior races at the Chiba Cross Country in Chiba, Japan. 

Chiba Cross Country, one of the qualifying races for the upcoming World Cross Country Championships, was held in Showa Woods in Chiba.   Invited runners did not fare well, however, those who ran well last year did so again this year.  In the men’s 12Km, the first invited runner, Hiroyoshi Umegae, was sixth, while in the women’s 6Km the first invited runner, Aya Isomine, was only eighth. 

The trend was similar in the junior races.  In the junior women’s 5Km, Erika Ikeda in sixth place was the first invited runner in the race, while in the junior men’s race, the first invited runner was Yutaro Fukushi who finished eighth.  

On the other hand, the defending champion Akinobu Murasawa won the men’s junior race again this year, while Risa Takenaka, who was second in the junior race last year, was second in senior race this year.  Furthermore, Kazuka Wakatsuki, who was third last year in the women’s 6Km moved up a notch to finish second this year. 

Men’s 12Km -

Muchiri Karoki, a Kenyan who is attending Sera high school in Hiroshima, won the men’s 12Km race by more than 30 seconds from Julius Gitahi, a 2:08 marathon runner, who was 9th at 5000m in the 2000 Olympic Games.  Karoki is a superb ekiden runner also, for at the 2008 national high school ekiden championships Karoki recorded the stage record in the 8Km stage four. Makoto Fukui, who was second fastest in the 13.7Km third stage at the New Year Ekiden, was third; he was the first Japanese in the race. Fukui was followed by Yuta Takahashi, who won the junior 8Km race in 2006 Chiba Cross Country and then finished 30th in the junior race at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships. Takahashi is also a good track runner, having finished 9th at 10,000m in the 2006 World Junior Championships.  He was followed by Suehiro Ishikawa and then Hiroyoshi Umegae, who was first among the invited runners. 

Women’s 6Km –

Yuko Shimizu, who was fifth fastest in the stage 4 of Chiba Ekiden and fourth fastest in the 10Km ninth stage of the 2009 Inter-Prefectural Ekiden, won the women’s 6Km.  She was followed by Risa Takenaka, who was second in the junior race last year and then finished 26th in the junior division of the 2008 World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh.  Finishing third in the race was Kazuka Wakatsuki, who was third in Chiba Cross Country last year and then finished 71st in Edinburgh.

Junior Men’s 8Km -

Akinobu Murasawa, who won both the Chiba Cross Country and Fukuoka Cross Country race last year, won the junior men’s 8Km race in 23:15.  He was 18 seconds ahead of Tetsuya Yoroizaka, a 28:49 10,000m runner.  Murasawa is a premier high school distance runner in Japan.  Not only did he recorde the second fastest time in the stage 3 of national high school ekiden, but he also represented Japan in several international championships. Murasawa was 13th at 3000m in the 2007 World Youth Championships and 12th at 5000m in the 2008 World Junior Championships. However, he was only 37th in the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, a non-scoring position. 

Junior Women’s 5Km -

Chitose Shibata, who was second at 1500m in the 2006 national junior high school championships, won the junior women’s 5Km race in 16:15, one second ahead of Nanaka Izawa, who recorded the fastest second stage in the last year’s national high school ekiden championships.

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF

Results:
MEN (12 km) -
 1. Muchiri Karoki, KEN  34:40
 2. Julius Gitahi, KEN   35:16
 3. Makoto Fukui         35:19
 4. Yuta Takahashi       35:19
 5. Suehiro Ishikawa     35:20
 6. Hiroyoshi Umegae     35:22
 7. Naoki Okamoto        35:25
 8. Hideaki Date         35:29
..
13. Jon Brown, CAN       35:55  

MEN (4 km) -
 1. Kenta Sato     11:14
 2. Yasuhiro Tago  11:15
 3. Toru Miyahara  11:17 

WOMEN (6 km) -
 1. Yuko Shimizu         19:38
 2. Risa Takenaka        19:39
 3. Kazuka Wakatsuki     19:43
 4. Aki Otagiri          19:48
 5. Machiko Iwakawa      19;48
 6. Fumiko Hashimoto     19:49
 7. Rie Matsumoto        19:50
 8. Aya Isomine          19:51

Junior MEN (8 km) -
 1. Akinobu Murasawa   23:15
 2. Tetsuya Yoroizaka  23:33
 3. Kazuto Nishiike    23:33
 4. Kazuhiro Kuga      23:36
 5. Keita Shitara      23:38
 6. Kenta Chiba        23:41

Junior MEN (4 km) -
 1. Tatsuya Goto    11:43
 2. Yuhei Ushiyama  11:46
 3. Kotaro Minowa   11:49 

Junior WOMEN (5 km) -
 1. Chitose Shibata   16:15
 2. Nanaka Izawa      16:16
 3. Emi Kameyama      16:20
 4. Akane Yabushita   16:21
 5. Asami Kato        16:21
 6. Erika Ikeda       16:22