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Running news

09 December 2020, 4pm

Times getting faster

Shoes impact on Japanese high school performances

by Brett Larner

The Japanese distance world keeps getting faster and faster. High school athletes are no exception.

This season 22 boys have broken 14 minutes for 5000m, not including foreign student athletes. This is almost double the previous record for a single season, 12 in 2010. In the last few years the number of boys running under 14 minutes has held steady: 10 in 2015, 10 in 2016 and 11 in 2019.

Kosuke Ishida topped last year’s list for 5000m at 13:51.91 but in July this year broke the16-year-old high school national record of 13:39.87 with a time of 13:36.89. He improved to 13:34.74 in September. Behind him, they kept coming. Even 1st and 2nd years were breaking into 13-minute territory.

One of the reasons is of course the shoes. As with seniors, high school runners used thick platform shoes and high-speed spikes in 2020. It also seems likely that the sharp drop in the number of races this season due to the coronavirus crisis will have reduced strain from racing, increased the freshness in runners’ legs and fired up the desire to race once they did get the chance to line up in a race.


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