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2021 Kyoto Marathon and Koga Hanamomo Marathon Canceled

The 2021 Kyoto Marathon will take a step in a new direction and will be held as on online-only marathon. By using an app on their phones, runners can run the online marathon whenever and wherever they like.

To date 142,347 runners have traversed the streets of Kyoto and smiled at it riches, and we're grateful to every one of them. We extend our thanks to each of you, and to all those who have played a role in making our event possible. In return, we want to give something back and hope that the online marathon will motivate you all and serve as a bridge across these troubled coronavirus times to a better day to come. Even if we can't be together in Kyoto, our hearts are still as one. Think of Kyoto with each step you run and let this new kind of marathon give you strength to reach your tomorrow.

We'll also be holding a running event at the marathon's start point at Nishi-Kyogoku Sports Park on its original date, February 21, 2020. Details on both it and the online mar…
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Mibu Town Government Hires Kenyan Runner Ngandu As Civic Running Coach

Video: Benjamin Ngandu passing 12 people to win the 2013 Hakone Ekiden Second Stage for Nihon University.

Placing a high importance on promoting a healthy lifestyle among its citizens through sports, the town government of Mibu, Tochigi has hired a Kenyan amateur runner who was once a star on the university ekiden and corporate marathon circuits to serve as running coach for local residents. The new civic employee is Benjamin Ngandu, 29.

On Aug. 3 at Mibu Town Hall Ngandu received an official letter of appointment from mayor Kazuya Kosuge. Competing against other top Kanto Region universities, Ngandu was a stage winner at the prestigious Hakone Ekiden, and as a corporate league runner he had success as a marathoner including a win at the 2016 Osaka Marathon. Three years ago he retired, taking a job at a company in Aichi and continuing to run as an amateur.

Ngandu will coach local residents in preparation for January's municipal ekiden, focusing on work with junior high school stud…

Running The Original 2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Part One - Women's Marathon

Today was the original date of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's marathon, before the coronavirus hit, before the IOC moved the race to Sapporo. Two years ago I went out and did test runs on the course on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 at the actual times that the women's and men's marathons were to have been run this year, taking temperature and humidity readings every half hour. Last year I did it three times, once on Aug. 2, once on Aug. 5 with European marathon champion Koen Naert of Belgium, and again on Aug. 9, all at the actual race time.

It doesn't really matter any more, but for the sake of completion I decided to do it this year too. If a lot of things had gone differently and the world's marathon women had run the streets of Tokyo today, what kind of conditions would they have ended up actually facing? Only one way to find out.

The picture at the top is the view down the marathon gate tunnel into the stadium right at the time the lead women would have been coming out.…

2019 Fukuoka Winner Dazza Suspended Four Years

On July 31 the Athletics Integrity Unit announced a four-year suspension for 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner El Mahjoub Dazza of Morocco. Dazza was busted on biological passport findings that indicated unrealistic hemoglobin values, the AIU rejecting his explanation of changes in intensity of altitude training as "highly improbable."

Dazza will lose all results from May 4, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020, with a four-year suspension to follow. Pending any appeals,  this means he will lose his 2019 Prague Marathon and 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon titles, in the latter case elevating runner-up Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) to winner. The correction of results will mean two straight Fukuoka titles for Toyota head coach Toshinobu Sato, whose star runner Yuma Hattori won Fukuoka in 2018, but Fujimoto will never get the same public recognition Hattori earned for his win.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Mt. Fuji Marathon, Last Remaining Japanese Marathon of 2020 With >5000 Runners, Canceled

The organizers of the Nov. 29 Mt. Fuji International Marathon announced on July 31st that this year's race has been canceled. In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis organizers had previously postponed opening race registrations, but in consideration of the health and safety of local residents in Fujikawaguchiko who would serve as race volunteers, and of the inevitability of crowded conditions at the start and at water stations, the decision was made to cancel.

In place of the marathon, the organizers plan to stage a virtual race in November. Runners from all over the world will be able to participate, and organizers are working hard on plans to make it an experience worthy of the Mt. Fuji name. Details will be announced in late August on the race website.

Translator's note: With 7,200 finishers last time, the M.t Fuji International Marathon was the last remaining Japanese marathon in 2020 with over 5000 finishers that had not yet canceled. Only the Dec. 6 Fukuoka Internati…

World's #1 10-Miler, Dec. 6 Kumamoto Kosa Road Race Canceled for First Time

On July 29 the organizing committee of the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race, the world's premier 10-miler, announced that due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, this year's 45th running scheduled for Dec. 6 has been canceled. It is the first cancelation since the race was first held in 1976.

According to organizers, they had taken steps to reduce the risk of infection at the race, but with the rapid spread of new cases within Kumamoto prefecture they decided it would be too difficult to still manage successfully.

A JAAF-certified course, the race begins and ends at the Kosa village office. Last year 170 elite athletes domestic and foreign ran in the 10 mile (16.093 km) division with additional runners in the high school boys' 10 km, junior high school boys' 5 km and women's 5 km.

Translator's note: Kosa is held the same day as the Fukuoka International Marathon, on the same island just to the southwest.

source article:…

Mar. 14, 2021 Shizuoka Marathon Canceled

At its general meeting on July 28, the organizing committee of the Shizuoka Marathon came to the decision to cancel next year's race, scheduled for Mar. 14, 2021. With no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, the organizing committee did not feel it would be possible to follow government coronavirus guidelines and ensure an environment completely free of infection risk for fans, volunteers, staff and others.

The Shizuoka Marathon is a popular event that attracts roughly 14,000 runners from across the country and abroad. Following its cancelation this year in the early days of the crisis, this represents the event's second-straight cancelation.

Translator's note: Shizuoka is at least the fourth large Japanese marathon of 2021 to have canceled so far. In its last running it had 9,802 finishers along with thousands more in accompanying shorter distances. A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December, representing over…

Marathons and Ekidens at Risk of Extinction Due to Overly Strict JAAF Coronavirus Guidelines

an unsigned editorial in the Nikkan Gendai

"The hurdles are just too high to overcome." Those are the words of a staff member at one of the Hakone Ekiden regulars.

On July 27 it was announced that the Oct. 11 Izumo Ekiden had been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis. As the first of the Big Three University Ekidens, its cancelation is bound to have an impact not just on the Nov. 1 National University Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, but on the corporate league, junior high and high school national ekiden championships, the National Women's Ekiden and National Men's Ekiden, and the major marathons' chances of being held.

"The JAAF's 'Road Race Staging Guidance' preconditions that it issued in June are extremely strict," commented the same university team leader. "It goes without saying that being able to stage a race depends upon any declaration of a state of emergency having been canceled, but if you look at the conditions listed i…