BENDIGO athlete Andy Buchanan has marked his first race in Japan by winning the Year End half marathon in Tachikawa.
The star from Bendigo University surged clear of the pack from about the 15km mark and gained a 16-second lead on his nearest rival in the 21.1km classic.
A winning time of 1 hour 2.50 minutes has put Buchanan at 23rd place in Australia's best for the distance.
Also on the trek to Japan was Kye Jenkyn, a clubmate of Buchanan's at Uni Pride.
From Charlton, Jenkyn ran the 10km in Tachikawa.
A temperature of eight degrees in Tachikawa was in stark contrast to the 41 in Bendigo on Sunday.
Buchanan's build-up to the Japan event included this month's 10,000m at the Zatopek Classic at Box Hill's track.
He broke his own residential record by more than 40 seconds as he completed the event in 28 minutes 26.14 seconds.
Buchanan was seventh in the race which doubled as the Australian 10,000m track championship.
He clocked a time of 29.07 when runner-up in the Burnie 10km road classic in October.
In winter, Buchanan played a key role in Flack Advisory Bendigo Region's team in division two of Athletics Victoria's XCR19.
Bendigo's line-up put up a great fight to earn promotion to premier division for 2020, but ended its campaign in second place.
In June, Buchanan competed at the Oceania track and field championships in Townsville.
He earned a bronze medal as he completed a gruelling run in the heat and humidity in 14:19.53.
Buchanan was the Australian 10km cross-country champion in 2017 and '18.
He was runner-up in this year's classic at Kembla Grange.
When not racing or training, Buchanan plays a crucial role as athletics coach for the Athlete Development Program at Bendigo South East Secondary College in Flora Hill.
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