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Marathoner Matsuda Dominates 10000 m - Japanese National Championships Day One Highlights

Returning from her stellar 2:22:44 marathon debut in Osaka in January, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) delivered the highlight of the opening day of competition at the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Yamaguchi. Starting with a conservative 3:20 for the first 1000 m the pace gradually picked up thanks in large part to National Corporate Half Marathon runner-up Yuka Hori (Panasonic). Anxious to avoid a repeat of last year when she was outkicked by Matsuda over the last lap, 2016 national champ Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) launched a long surge from four and a half laps out, a move only Matsuda could follow. With one lap to go Suzuki had opened a 2 second lead, but it was nowhere near a margin of safety. Summoning up the same winning move as last year, Matsuda blew by Suzuki to win by 5 seconds in 31:52.42. Hori held on to 3rd in 32:05.52.

The day's other track final was the men's 10000 m. On a roll since his 2:06:54 breakthrough at the Tokyo Marathon in February…
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Marathon National Record Holder Yuta Shitara Scores a Sweet Ride - "We're Going to Create a Legend Together"

At a ceremony in Sayama, Saitama on June 22, men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 26, was awarded a Legend luxury sedan by his corporate team sponsor Honda. Shitara was praised for cracking the national record with a 2:06:11 at February's Tokyo Marathon. "I didn't think I'd score a car out of it," he smiled. "I'm really happy to get it. I want to hit the road in it somewhere with my teammates."

The basic model of the car Shitara was awarded costs 7,000,000 yen [~$64,000 USD], but what he actually received came loaded with optional features. He was allowed to choose any model of Honda car he wanted, but it was the model's name, "Legend," that caught his attention. "I want to accomplish legendary things in the marathon," he commented. "The Legend and I are in to together for the long haul, and together we're going to create a legend."

【納車記念式典】#マラソン#日本記録 を樹立した #設楽悠太 選手に
所属会社 #Honda より「#LEGEND」が贈呈…

National Track and Field Championships Preview

Japan's National Track and Field Championships are happening this weekend in Yamaguchi. Somebody is always being selected for something at Nationals, and this year it's the Jakarta Asian Games. Most of the action will be streamed live on the JAAF site Friday through Sunday, with some breaks for the major events which will only be shown on TV.

In three of the biggest events the defending champs are absent. 100 and 200 m winner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Univ. of Florida) and 10000 m champ Suguru Osako (NOP), both U.S.-based, having bowed out with injury in Sani Brown's case and purportedly to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in Osako's. In the 100 m and 200 m the door is open for the other members of Japan's medal-winning relay squad to take home a national title, national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) the #1 seed in the 100 m and Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) ranked #1 in the 200 m.

The men's 10000 m is surprisingly weak this year, with no Japanese men und…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

Yang Runs 10.11 NR, 5000 m Meet Records Fall at National University Individual Championships

Unusually cool weather throughout the weekend worked to the advantage of the athletes in distance events at Kanagawa's National University Individual Track and Field Championships, where the meet records fell in both the men's and women's 5000 m. The poorer cousin of September's National University Track and Field Championships, the individual meet features a reduced program, no team scoring, and some competition from Taiwan. Coming just a week before the National Track and Field Championships many of Japan's best collegians tend to give it a miss, but the level of competition is often high all the same.

In the women's race first-year Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) surprised the field, breaking the meet record set six years ago by current top-level pro Rina Nabeshima by 6 seconds to win the B-heat in 15:46.84. Fourth-year Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) were both under Nabeshima's record in the A-heat in 15:49.37 and 15:5…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.

The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

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