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Wanjiru and Ichikawa take Fukuoka XC wins

Samuel Wanjiru, a Kenyan attending Japanese high school, won the 2004 Fukuoka Cross Country 10Km race in 29:02.  Although still a teenager, Wanjiru, who also won the senior race in the Chiba Cross Country two weeks ago, was the defending Fukuoka Cross Country champion at the senior race. 

In the women’s 6Km senior race, Yoshiko Ichikawa who was fourth in Chiba Cross Country was first with 19:25. 

In the men’s 10Km race, a huge pack of runners covered the first Km in 2:49 and the second Km 5:43.  By 3Km (8:35) the lead pack was reduced to 19 runners, which was further reduced to 16 runners by 4Km. 

Soon after 4Km, as two Kenyans who live in Japan, Samuel Wanjiru and Samuel Muturi, surged to break away from the lead pack, the real racing started.  By 5Km (14:28), two Kenyans were 10 seconds ahead of the chase pack.  They ran together until 6.3Km, at which point Muturi could no longer keep up with Wanjiru.

By 7Km (20:13), Wanjiru was 4 seconds ahead of Muturi, who in turn was 10 seconds ahead of Yu Mitsuya and Tomohiro Seto, who left the chase pack behind to chase the Kenyans.  By 9Km, Mitsuya & Seto caught up with Muturi to form a three men chase pack behind Wanjiru.  However, they never caught him and Wanjiru won the 10Km race in 29:02, while Mitsuya who surged at 9.5Km secured second place ahead of Seto and Muturi.

Yoshitaka Iwamizu, a steeplechaser who finished fourth, the highest placed Japanese in Chiba Cross Country, was disappointing eighth in Fukuoka Cross Country.

 Ichikawa takes women’s title 

The women’s 6Km race which started with 3:12 for the first Km and 6:24 for the second Kilometre soon turned into a real race of attrition.

One by one, the runners fell off the lead pack, and by 4Km only five runners – Yoshiko Ichikawa, Miho Notagashira, Kazue Ogoshi, Mirisent Kariuki and Ayumi Hashimoto – were left in the front. 

On the next hill, Kariuki and Hashimoto both lost contact with the leaders, while Notagashira was the next to fall behind at 4.5Km. However, Notagashira was able to stay relatively close to the leader and Kariuki, a Kenyan high school student who lives in Japan, soon joined Notagashira and they started to chase Ichikawa and Ogoshi in front.

At the end Ichikawa outkicked Ogoshi in the homestraight leading up to the finish line to secure the win, while Kariuki in the third place almost caught Ogoshi, but fell by one second. 

Junior Races

In the junior men’s race, Yuichiro Ueno, high school 10000m record (28:27.39) holder, who won the Chiba Cross Country race two weeks ago, won the Fukuoka Cross Country junior 8Km race in 23:39.  Other top finishers in Chiba Cross Country - Satoru Kitamura and Yuki Sato - finished second and third respectively in Fukuoka with the same time. 

In the junior women’s race, Win Frida, a Kenyan attending a Japanese high school won the 4Km race in 12:45, while Hitomi Miyai who finished third in the Chiba Cross Country finished second in Fukuoka. 

Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
With assistance from Akihiro Onishi 

 Results(weather cloudy, 16.3C, 86% humidity, NNE wind 1.2m/s)
Men 10Km:
Samuel Wanjiru (KEN)  29:02
Yu Mitsuya   29:10
Tomohiro Seto 29:13
Samuel Muturi (KEN)  29:18
Tomoo Tsubota  29:22
Masayuki Obata  29:23
Kazuyoshi Tokumoto  29:24
Yoshitaka Iwamizu 29:36

13) Michael Aish (NZL)  30:00

Women 6Km:
Yoshiko Ichikawa     19:25
Kazue Ogoshi   19:28
Mirisent Kariuki (KEN) 19:29
Miho Notagashira  19:36
Hisae Yoshimatsu  19:38
Ayumi Hashimoto  19:39
Miki Ohira   19:40
Cristina Casandra (ROM)  19:42

12) Restituta Joseph (TAN)  20:06

 Junior Men 8Km:
Yuichiro Ueno  23:39
Satoru Kitamura  23:39 
Yuki Sato  23:39
Hidekazu Sato  23:40
Yuki Matsuoka 23:44

Junior Women 4Km:
Win Fridam (KEN)  12:45
Hitomi Miyai  12:50
Megumi Terada 12:54
Natsumi Fujita  12:55
Hitomi Niiya  12:55