Fumikazu Kobayashi, Japanese national record holder at 1500m, added the 1000m to his collection. He won the 1000m in 2:19.65 in the “Hokuren Distance Challenge” in Abashiri on19 June, thus improving on the previous record of 2:20.7 by Tomonari Ono, which was set over 10 years ago in San Luis Obispo in March of 1994. On his way to the record Kobayashi passed 400m in 54.4 and 800m in 1:51.3.
This was not the first time Kobayashi has broken an ancient record. Last year in the Night of Athletics in Heusden on 31 July, Kobayashi set the 1500m national record of 3:37.42, thus breaking the oldest record in the book, 3:38.24 by Takashi Ishii from 1977, set in the World Cup of Athletics in Düsseldorf. After returning to Japan on August 3, Kobayashi said, “I was able to break the oldest record in the book. I hope this can trigger the resurrection of the middle distance in Japan. As Mr. (Takashi) Ishii has said from time to time middle distance speed is important even for the marathon.”
Kobayashi first started to think about the national 1500m record in 2002 when he first cracked 3:40 barrier. From that time Kobayashi repeatedly said, “I won’t quit running 1500m until I break the record.” Now that he did break the record he hopes to run even faster. “I hope to run 3:35.” Kobayashi won the national championships in June, and with the “B” standard he recorded last year, he was selected to run the 1500m in Helsinki.