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Japan's Beijing Olympics Men's 4x100 m Relay Team Officially Elevated to Silver After 10 Years

On Dec. 11 the Japan Olympic Committee announced that Japan's 2008 Beijing Olympics men's 4x100 m relay team has been officially elevated from the bronze medal position to silver. The leading runner for former gold medalists Jamaica, Nesta Carter, tested positive for prohibited substances in an antidoping test, leading to the IOC stripping the Jamaican team of its medals. Carter appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but lost the appeal in June this year. The International Olympic Committee released a statement on the official change in status on Dec. 7. A medal ceremony will be held for the four team members at a later date.

The Japanese national team ran 38.15 at the Beijing Olympics. Its four members in running order were Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara. Their bronze medal was only the second Japanese Olympic medal on the track in history, the first coming 80 years earlier at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics where Kinu…
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2019 Hakone Ekiden Entry Lists and Rankings

Entry lists are out for the world's biggest running event, the Jan. 2-3 HakoneEkiden university men's championships. Aoyama Gakuin University has built a near monopoly on Hakone, winning the last four years and looking this year to follow Chuo University and Nittai University as the third team in Hakone's 95 years of history to win it five years straight. But with its weakest lineup since 2015, the year AGU first rose to Hakone dominance, that won't be easy.

Using the chart above from JRN's January, 2016 article "The Shape of Things to Come" which predicted the breakthrough we've seen this year in Japanese men's marathoning based on the last 20 years of Hakone results, we've ranked the 23 teams in the 2019 Hakone Ekiden based on the combined scores of the 10 best runners on each team's 16-man entry roster.
The Win 1. Tokai University - 70 pts.
2. Komazawa University - 69 pts.
3. Teikyo University - 62 pts.
4. Aoyama Gakuin University - 61 …

Defending Champs Return to 2019 Boston Marathon

Defending champions Marcel Hug (Switzerland), Yuki Kawauchi (Japan), Desiree Linden (U.S.A.) and Tatyana McFadden (U.S.A.) will return to the April 15 Boston Marathon to lead the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team.

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…

Gosa Over Habtegebrel in Ethiopian Bahraini Duel at Saitama International Marathon

For the second year in a row Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel found herself knocked down to 2nd in the Saitama International Marathon's home straight, this time to fellow Ethiopian-born emigrant Dalila Gosa.

Part of a group of nine that immediately separated from the main body of the elite women-only race behind three pacers, both Gosa and Habtegebrel stayed at the front of the pack on mid-2:25 to low-2:26 pace as its five Japanese constituents and lone Ethiopian national Fatuma Sado dropped off one by one. When the last pacer stepped off at 30 km Habtegebrel and Gosa took turns leading in a successful effort to drop Kenyan Sylvia Kibet.

Last year Habtegebrel lost out to Flomena Cheych Daniel of Kenya by 3 seconds in the home straight, both of them ultimately having their times disallowed due to poor direction on the final corner. This time both Gosa and Habtegebrel successfully turned at the right spot thanks to improved course marking and marshaling, but Habtegebrel again lacked the…

Yamanouchi Leads Six Under Doha Standard in Deepest Women's 10000 m in World This Year

With the 31:50.00 standard for the 2019 Doha World Championships 10000 m announced earlier this week following the IAAF's about-face on its new world rankings system, Japan wasted no time in getting its people under the mark.

In cold conditions for the mid-afternoon Corporate Women's Time Trials meet at Yamaguchi's Ishin Me-Life Stadium the women's 10000 m A-heat went out strong and steady, 15:45 through halfway before the lead group began to splinter. Just two weeks after a season-worst performance at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden the Atsushi Sato-coached Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) roared back into form with a 31:16.48 meet record for the win, outkicking Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) to land at #2 in the world so far this year and #8 on the all-time Japanese list. Yamanouchi and Kimanzi were the only two to clear 31:20, but all told six women made it under the 31:50 Doha standard, making the race the year's deepest worldwide.

Having fully recovered f…

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Hitomi Niiya Leaves for Australia for Comeback 10000 m: "Everything That Can Be Done Is Done"

5th in the 10000 m at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, Hitomi Niiya (30, Nike Tokyo TC) left Japan Dec. 7 for her first 10000 m since returning from five years away from the sport, the Dec. 13 Zatopek:10 in Melbourne, Australia. The Zatopek:10 will be her fifth race in a year that saw her run a 31:08 course record on the anchor stage of November's East Japan Women's Ekiden. Her condition is even better than at the time of her come-from-behind East Japan victory.
"The result is important, but everything that I could do to be ready for it is done," she told reporters. "All that's left is to run hard for 30 minutes." Since starting her comeback Niiya has run mostly 5000 m, but now her focus has shifted to 10000 m. "If you consider when I was running before a 10, I'm at about 6 or 7 right now" she said. As a test of her fitness she is setting 31:30 as her target. That is more than 30 seconds off her best but would rank her #1 in Japan and…