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Organizers Ask Public Not to Come Watch Hakone Ekiden in Person

On Sept. 20 the Inter-University Athletics Union of Kanto (KGRR), organizers of January's Hakone Ekiden, announced that all of its remaining competitions this academic year will be held without spectators in order to help minimize the spread of coronavirus infection. The KGRR asked for the public's cooperation in not turning out to cheer.

A statement released by the KGRR said, "Our major events will be live streamed and broadcast live or recorded by NTV. Please do not come to the race venues or the areas around them. Even if we go ahead with the ekiden, it cannot be put on without the agreement and cooperation of the local residents who live along the course. Courseside crowd support has always been one of the things that has helped our ekiden thrive. We want to ensure that it continues to have a long future as a beloved event and ask for your understanding and cooperation this time."

The extremely popular Hakone Ekiden is run every Jan. 2 and 3, attracting over a m…
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Njeri, Niiya and Hironaka Go Sub-15 - National Corporate Championships Day Three Results

With the first two days of the 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships bringing national records, world-leading marks and meet records, the last day saw one of the best races of the weekend. Fresh off her meet record win in the junior women's 3000 m, 19-year-old Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) took the women's 5000 m A-heat out hard in search of Japan's second sub-15 clocking ever. Right with her were Kenyans Rebecca Njeri (Daiso) and Joanne Kipkemoi (Kyudenko), and half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya (Sekisui Kagaku).

Together they went through splits of 3:02, 2:58, 3:01 and 2:59 to hit 4000 m in exactly 12:00, Niiya and Njeri taking their turns up front and Kipkemoi sliding off the back. Njeri pushed hard over the last 1000 m to open a gap, but while Hironaka couldn't stay with her Niiya kicked over the last 200 m to almost close it up, just about a first in her career and showing the effects of the work she put into the 1500 m over the summ…

Yamanishi Breaks 5000 m Race Walk National Record - National Corporate Championships Day Two Results

The National Corporate Championships men's 10000 m A-heat lived up to expectations as one of the best races of the year, the kind of race that shows how good a track 10000 m can be, tense and full of turnover between world top two Benard Kibet (Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (Toyota), and Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu). The trio wore down the rest of the competition, Koech and Karoki doing most of the hammering and Kimunyan only going to the front twice. On the last curve he made his final move, pulling away from Koech for the win in 27:01.42, Koech next in 27:02.39 and Karoki 3rd in 27:02.80. Kimunyan's time was briefly the world-leading mark before being overtaken at a race in Europe just hours later.

Further back, the top two Japanese men over 10,000 m this year, Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu), worked together to move up through the field to take 7th and 8th in new PBs of 27:47.55 and 27:49.16. Both had broken 28 minutes for the first time in July before…

19-Year-Old Hironaka Wins Jr. Women's 3000 m in 8:52.80 - National Corporate Championships Day One Results

The 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships kicked off Friday in Kumagaya, Saitama on what will probably end up being the last hot day of the year. Defending junior women's 3000 m champ Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) had the performance of the day, exactly tying Kayoko Fukushi's U20 national record with a negative split 8:52.80 to pick up a second title and move up to all-time Japanese #5 for the distance. Because she turns 20 in November Hironaka's mark won't make her the co-record holder, but as an 8-second improvement over her winning time last year it puts her in position to follow Fukushi as just the second woman under 15 minutes for 5000 m if she gets into the right race. Her first chance comes Sunday where she faces most of the contenders for the Tokyo Olympic team.

A few of them turned up in the 10000 m A-heat where women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the race out around 31:30 pace, dueling with 30 km NR holder Honami Maeda (Te…

Mt. Fuji University Women's Ekiden Confirmed, Will Be Held Without Spectators

Running in the foothills of Mount Fuji to lay claim to the title of best university women's team in the country, the organizing committee of the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden invitational national championships announced that they intend for this year's race to go ahead as scheduled on Dec. 30 with carefully prepared coronavirus countermeasures in place.

Covering 43.4 km in seven hilly stages starting at Fujisan Hongu Sengen shrine and ending at Fuji Sports Park Field, the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden brings together 24 of the best university womens teams and select teams from across the country every year.

As conditions for the race to take place, there must not be a government-declared state of emergency, and the municipal governments of host cities Fujinomiya and Fuji must both give their consent. Neither any team that has had an athlete or staff member test positive for COVID-19 within a week before the race nor any team with a suspected infection on the day of the race …

Thirteen National Record Holders Lead National Corporate Track and Field Championships

Another week, another national championships on the track. This weekend it's the 68th National Corporate Track and Field Championships Friday through Sunday in Kumagaya, Saitama, bringing together the corporate leagues across events on its usual date but just ahead of a series of meets relocated from the spring and early summer including the National Track and Field Championships.

Given everything that's happened to the calendar the field is higher-level than usual with seven national record holders, none of them the defending champion in their event. Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) leads the men's long jump with a 8.40 m NR, Haruka Kitaguchi (JAL) the women's javelin throw at 66.00 m, Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) the women's 5000 m race walk in 20:42.24, Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) the men's 5000 m race walk in 18:37.22, Asuka Terada (Pasona Group) the women's 100 m hurdles in 12.97, Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) the men's 100 m hurdles in 13.25, and Naoto Tobe (JAL) …

Feb. 28 Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Canceled

With regard to the 12th running of the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon on Feb. 28, 2021, although we have pursued preparations to hold the race, in the interests of the health and safety of the runners and everyone else involved in the event, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis we have made the decision to cancel the race.

As the race's organizing committee it is a great disappointment to have to cancel it for the third year in a row, but all we can do is hope for a resolution to the crisis soon so that we can return to putting on the best race possible. We will do everything in our power to make that happen and ask for your continuing support.

Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Organizing Committee

Translator's note: Iwaki is the twelfth Japanese marathon in the first three months of 2021 with over 5,000 finishers in its last edition to cancel so far. A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December and 2021 marathon announcements to date: