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Osaka Women's Marathon to be Run on 2.8 km Loop Inside Nagai Park

On Jan. 17 it was learned that the Jan. 31 Osaka International Women's Marathon will be run on a multi-lap loop course inside Nagai Park. Some of the athletes scheduled to run were notified last week of the likelihood of the change from Osaka's traditional road course, a change made as a result of the continued spread of the coronavirus. It is the first time the race will be run on a circuit course in the years since its first running in 1982.  Tokyo Olympics women's marathon team members Mao Ichiyama  (23, Wacoal) and Honami Maeda  (24, Tenmaya) had planned to try to break the 2:19:12 national record in Osaka, but the impact of the change on times run there remains unclear at this point. Osaka organizers have recruited male pacers, a first for a domestic women's marathon, to help chase the record, but with the government's declaration of a state of emergency last week they had no choice but to make the last-minute course change.  Most road races over the last yea
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16-Year-Old Sato Runs 8:00.09 U18 NR in Kyoto

Already Japan's third-fastest high schooler ever over 3000 m, 16-year-old Keita Sato  (Rakunan H.S.) took another 5 seconds off his best with a 8:00.09 win at Saturday's Kyoto Time Trials meet. A second-year at Rakunan and set to turn 17 later this week, Sato bettered the U18 national record held by Hyuga Endo by almost two seconds, moved up to #2 behind Endo on the all-time high school rankings, and to #3 on the U20 list behind Endo and Athens Olympian Ryuji Ono . Post-race he tweeted, "One step away from 7 minutes! So disappointing. I don't know when the next time I can race is but 7 minutes is definitely coming!" 3000m→8'00"09 7分台まであと一歩だったのでめちゃくちゃ悔しいです😭次はいつ走れるか分かりませんが絶対に7分台出します! pic.twitter.com/d1y9ClJ5Mp — 佐藤圭汰 (@0rx2k) January 17, 2021 © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

High School National Record Holders Fujihara and Ishida to Enter Toyo University in Spring

Two high school national record holders are set to join Toyo University  at the start of the new academic year in April, Koki Fujihara  (Rakunan H.S.), holder of the 8.12 m long jump record, and Kosuke Ishida  (Tokyo Nogyo Daini H.S.), holder of the 13:34.74 record for 5000 m. Fujihara was the first high school boy to go over 8 m in the long jump, setting his record of 8.12 m (+1.7 m/s) at the August, 2019 National High School Championships as a second-year. It was the first time the high school long jump record had been broken in 30 years and bettered the old mark by 16 cm, enough to rank him all-time #9 among all Japanese athletes. Fujihara is currently 190 cm tall and is still growing, both physically and as an athlete. He follows in the footsteps of prominent Toyo alumni outside the distance events, including Japan's first sub-10 man in the 100 m and fellow Rakunan H.S. grad Yoshihide Kiryu  and 8.23 m long jumper Hibiki Tsuha .  But with a 3rd-place finish at this year's

Osaka Looks to Go Ahead Despite Pending State of Emergency

Despite the pending declaration of a state of emergency in the greater Osaka area as the coronavirus continues its rapid spread, the organizers of the Jan. 31 Osaka International Women's Marathon intend to go ahead with this year's race, in which Tokyo Olympic marathon team members Mao Ichiyama (23, Wacoal) and Honami Maeda (24, Tenmaya) are entered to run. Last year the JAAF published strict guidelines for the staging of road races amid the coronavirus pandemic. One of the requirements for holding a race is that no declaration of a state of emergency be in place. On Jan. 7 the government issued such a declaration for Tokyo and is surrounding three prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Osaka and neighboring Kyoto and Hyogo have asked to be added to that list. If the terms of the state of emergency are the same as the earlier one for the Tokyo area, it would last until at least Feb. 7. This would put the Osaka International Women's Marathon inside the emergency peri

Some Recent Podcast Appearances

A couple of recent podcasts I've appeared on, both recorded before the new year. Japan Sport Stories , hosted by Mike Salter and Noel Thatcher . Across the Runiverse , hosted by Konstantin Kan . Russian-language version can be had here .

Hakone Ekiden Broadcast Breaks Records With 41.8% Peak Viewership Rating and Audience of 65 Million

According to monitoring data announced by Video Research Ltd. on Jan. 4, Nippon Television's two-day broadcast of the Hakone Ekiden earned average viewership ratings of 31.0% for the first day's broadcast from 7:00 a.m. to 2:05 p.m. on Jan. 2 and 33.7% for the second day from 7:00 a.m. to 2:18 p.m. on Jan. 3. Last year's broadcast earned ratings of 27.5% on the first day and 28.6% on the second. The two-day average of 32.3% for the broadcast was the highest ever recorded since measurement of ratings began in 1987. To help reduce crowding along the course as part of the effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, this year's Hakone Ekiden encouraged people to "cheer from home." This is thought to have resulted in more people that usual watching the TV broadcast. The peak instantaneous viewership rating on the first day of the race, 36.2% came at 1:01 p.m. during the fierce competition for 4th place between Tokai University  and Teikyo University , and agai

Second Stage Course Record Breaker Vincent Yegon Named Hakone Ekiden MVP

Tokyo Kokusai University  2nd-year Vincent Yegon  was awarded the Kanaguri Cup as the MVP of the 2021 Hakone Ekiden for setting a new course record of 1:05:49 for the 23.1 km Second Stage. Yegon took 8 seconds off the record that 10000 m national record holder  Akira Aizawaa  of Toyo University  had set last year, the first new record on Hakone's most competitive stage in 11 years. "It's a great honor to receive this award," said Yegon. "I'm happy. This season this was the best performance I was capable of." Yegon is the first runner from Tokyo Kokusai University and the first non-Japanese athlete to win the Kanaguri Cup. He now holds the records on both the Second and Third Stages, having taken more than two minutes off the Third Stage record at the 2020 race . Motivated for more, he said, " I want to keep trying to break stage course records. Next time my main goal will be to have a good race on the Fourth Stage."   source articles:   http