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The Alfee to End 31-Year Run of Osaka International Women's Marathon Theme Songs

At a Jan. 19 press conference in Osaka, Kansai Television CEO Sumio Fukui announced that rock band The Alfee, who for over 30 years have written and recorded a theme song for each edition of the Osaka International Women's Marathon, will sing for the final time at this year's 37th running on Jan. 28.



The Alfee began their string of marathon anthems with Osaka's 6th edition in 1987, producing memorable hits like "You Get to Run," "One Step," and the classic "Shining Run." Fukui expressed his gratitude to the band, commenting, "We cannot thank all the members of The Alfee enough for the 31 songs they have written for us."



At the same, Fukui looked to the future, saying, "In the marathon as well, as the Tokyo Olympics approach the selection process has changed and we have entered the days of a new generation. I hope to change our broadcast step by step as well and explore new ways to bring its excitement to the public. This step m…
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Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Rio Olympian Ito Heads Elite Field of 21 at Kumanichi 30 km

On Jan. 16 the organizers of the Feb. 18 Kumamoto-jo Marathon announced the elite field of 21 women and men for the 62nd running of the accompanying Kanaguri Kinen Kumanichi 30 km Road Race. Rio de Janeiro Olympics women's marathoner Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku), 2012 Kumanichi men's champion Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) 2018 Hakone Ekiden MVP Keisuke Hayashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) top the entry lists.

Seven corporate league men are on the entry list, which features Ugachi's teammate Gen Hachisuka (Konica Minolta), 28:15 10000 m runner Masato Terauchi (Aichi Seiko) and 2012 runner-up Yuki Oshikawa (Toyota Kyushu). Along with eight university men will also be in the race including two of the runners responsible for Toyo Univesity's 2018 Hakone Ekiden Day One win, Shuji Yamamoto and Akira Aizawa, and local Kyushu Gakuin H.S. graduate Shota Nakagawa (Nittai Univ.).

The women's field consists of six athletes including Ito. 2016 runner-up Mami Onuki (Sysmex), twins Yoko

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Iwade and Ishii Withdraw From Osaka International Women's Marathon

On Jan. 16 the organizers of the Osaka International Women's Marathon announced that invited elites Reia Iwade (Dome) and Hisami Ishii (Yamada Denki) have withdrawn from the Jan. 28 race with injuries. Iwade has developed discomfort in the rear of her right thigh, while Ishii has sustained a stress fracture in the left side of her pelvis.

source article:https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2018011600538&g=spo
translated by Brett Larner

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Karemi Breaks Okukuma Half Marathon Course Record

As championship ekiden season wraps up Japan’s athletes have started the transition to the winter road season, with four decently competitive half marathons highlighting the first half of January.

At the hilly Okukuma Half Marathon, locally-based Africans Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) and Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) duked it out one-on-one, Karemi through in a series of surges in the last 5 km before breaking away decisively with 1 km to go. Crossing the finish line in 1:01:48, Karemi took nearly two minutes off the course record with Abera just under 62 for 2nd.

2nd on the Hakone Ekiden’s Seventh Stage less than two weeks ago, Masanori Sumida (Nittai Univ.) outran corporate league competition Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) and Shohei Kurata (GMO) to take the top Japanese spot at 4th in 1:03:11. Spending most of the race behind a pack led by 2015 National Univeristy Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) and 2:07:39 marathoner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu), Yuki Kawauchi (Sai…