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Japan Withdraws From World University Cross-Country Championships

Thank you for your ongoing support. It has been decided that the Japanese national team will not take part in the 22nd World University Cross-Country Championships in Mar. 7 Marrakech, Morocco as originally planned.

We regret the inconvenience and disappointment this will cause to the student athletes, coaches and supporters who had planned to participate, but we ask for your understanding. Due to the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, consideration was given to the danger of infection and health risks posed to the athletes and staff members.

source article:
https://iuau.jp/ev2019/22wuxc/22wuxc_chushi.pdf
translated by Brett Larner

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Six People in Close Contact With Person Infected With COVID-19 Ran Kumamoto Castle Marathon

The Kumamoto municipal and prefectural governments have released further information on three new cases of infection with the COVID-19 coronavirus within the prefecture. Prefectural officials have identified the bus an infected person used to travel between Fukuoka and Kumamoto, while city officials revealed that six people who came in contact with one of the infected people ran the Feb. 16 Kumamoto Castle Marathon.

At a press conference this week, city officials explained that prior to the onset of her symptoms, a nurse in her 20s came into close contact with eleven friends and colleagues, saying, "She went to the marathon with six of them to cheer at Kumamoto Castle's Ninomaru plaza, and went out for dinner with the other five." However, that information was corrected to eight people who cheered with her and ten who had dinner.

Six of the woman's colleagues in fact ran the marathon, having ridden to it in a car she was driving. Two others had lunch with her in the…

Shibuya Wins 2020 Tokyo Tomin Ekiden

Like Saturday's National Cross Country Championships going ahead in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus scare, the Tokyo Tomin Ekiden, the championship ekiden for Tokyo citizens representing their home districts, held its 73rd running Monday along the Arakawa river in the northeastern suburb of Katsushika. 23 teams fielded 6 runners apiece, each of them covering the same 5.0 km stage under beautifully sunny early spring skies.

The First Stage was the fastest of the day, with Takuya Saito of Meguro covering it in 15:00. Starting 40 seconds back in 7th, Shibuya's second runner Gary Wilberforce moved into the top spot just past halfway and pushed on to open a 22-second lead over the Hamura team and win his stage on time. That dropped to 15 seconds on the Third Stage, but with another stage win from fourth runner Issei Mori Shibuya's lead grew to 1:03.

On the Fifth Stage it fell again to 46 seconds due in large part to a stage win from 2nd-place Adachi's fifth runner Shu…

Yamaguchi, Matsueda, Morimoto and Niiya Win in Auckland

With the New Zealand and Australian summer series rolling on, four Japanese athletes won events at Auckland's Sir Graeme Douglas International meet.

Kosei Yamaguchi took the men's 3000 m steeplechase just a fraction of a second off his PB in 8:31.25, resisting the early fast pace set by Yasunari Kusu and then dispatching Australian James Nipperness over the last two laps to take the win. Japan's #3-ranked steepler, Yamaguchi's performance moves up to the cusp of top 45 in the world, limited to three athletes per country, putting this summer's Tokyo Olympics in range.

Qualifying for Tokyo for sure in the women's 5000 m was half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya. Like Yamaguchi running with early pacing from other Japanese athletes, Niiya mostly soloed her way to a 15:07.02 PB, taking just over 3 seconds off her old best from the 2012 London Olympics and clearing the Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard by almost as much. Niiya said pre-race that this ra…

Urano and Ishizawa Win Senior National Cross-Country Titles, Ishida and Kosakai Win Junior Races

One of the few events to survive the wave of race cancelations currently sweeping Japan as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, the National Cross-Country Championships took place Feb. 22 in Fukuoka.

The senior men's 10 km was almost a replay of last year's race, with Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage star Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) replacing Yuta Bando (Hosei Univ.) in the leading role of outrunning brothers Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) and Yusuke Tamura (Kurosaki Harima) for the national title. Despite windy conditions times were quicker than in recent years, with Urano winning in 29:18 by 6 seconds over Kazuki Tamura and Yusuke Tamura another 10 seconds back.

In the senior women's 8 km, last year's 5th-place and 2018 national 3000 m steeplechase champion Yukari Ishizawa (Edion) came back from a mid-race dropoff to outrun a group of women more than a decade younger for the win in 26:57, beating 20-year-old Yuna Wada (Meijo Univ.) by 1 second and 19-year-old teamm…

Mayor Vows That Soja Kibiji Marathon Will Go Ahead: "What Is This Trend of Canceling Everything That Brings People Together?" (updated)

At a press conference on Feb. 19, Soichi Kataoka, mayor of Soja, Okayama, said that the Feb. 23 Soja Kibiji Marathon will go ahead as scheduled. As concern over the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread throughout Japan races scheduled for the next few weeks have been canceling one after another. Kataoka bucked the trend, saying that organizers would take every step possible such as distributing disinfectants at the race venue to make sure it could be staged safely. "What is this trend of canceling everything that brings people together?" he said.

The Soja Kibiji Marathon has 21,000 entrants from across the country, of whom 18,000 live within Okayama prefecture. It has no entrants residing abroad. If the situation worsens, for example if cases of infection with the virus within Okayama are confirmed before Sunday, Kataoka indicated that additional measures including cancelation will be considered.

At the same time, other events within Okayama have had cancelations. The c…