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Former Hakone Ekiden Director Yoshiyuki Aoba Named Head Coach at Nihon University

Nihon University, 18th at this year's Hakone Ekiden, has named former Daito Bunka University head coach and former Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) director Yoshiyuki Aoba, 77, as its new head coach. It is almost unheard-of for someone who has risen to the top position of the KGRR, organizers of the Hakone Ekiden, to return to coaching. Previous head coach Yoshiyuki Musha, 36, has retired from coaching and will remain at Nihon University in another capacity.

With 12 Hakone Ekiden titles to its name, ranking it #3 in the event's history, and 89 Hakone appearances, the second-most in history, the change is a surprising move from the powerhouse Nihon University. The young Musha stepped down following this year's 18th-place finish, the sixth year in a row that Nihon has missed a prestigious top ten finish, leaving the door open for the 77-year-old veteran Aoba to come in.

Aoba graduated from Nihon University, becoming head coach at Daito Bunka University at just…
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Today's Race - 1986 Tokyo International Marathon

Takeyuki Nakayama vs. Juma Ikangaa for the Tokyo International Marathon course record.

Today's Race - 2017 Marugame Half Marathon

One of the better domestic fields at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon at its 2017 race.

Today's Race - 1987 Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage

More vintage Hakone Ekiden action with its uphill Fifth Stage from the 1987 race.

Nov. 8 Okayama Marathon Canceled - 13,491 Finishers Last Year

Scheduled for Nov. 8, the 2020 Okayama Marathon has been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis. We carefully considered whether we could safely hold a race that brings together 16,400 runners from across the country and determined that it would not be possible to complete eliminate the risk of infection to the runners, staff, volunteers, and spectators along the road.

It is very disappointing to have to convey this news to everyone who had been looking forward to our race, runners, citizens of Okayama prefecture, our supporters across the country, sponsors, partner organizations and everyone else involved with our event, but we thank you and ask for your understanding. We will work to improve the Okayama Marathon so that we can make it an even better and more enjoyable event the next time we are able to put it on. Thank you all.

Okayama Marathon Organizing Committee

Translator's note: The current state of Japan's 27 main marathons, those with 5,000 or more finishers or elite-…

Today's Race - 1987 Hakone Ekiden First and Second Stages

Some vintage Hakone Ekiden action with the opening two stages of the 1987 race.



Yamanashi Gakuin University Resumes Team Training, Limiting Group Size

Aiming to make a return to the Hakone Ekiden after missing out on qualifying for this year's race, on May 20 Yamanashi Gakuin University resumed team track training for the first time in a month and a half. Team practice has been suspended since Apr. 6 due to the coronavirus crisis, and since then it has been up to members to run and do strength training on their own.

Thirty athletes, about a third of the team roster, attended the May 20 session at Kawata Sports Park Field in Kofu. Another group trained separately at Midorigaoka Sports Park Field elsewhere in the city. To avoid too many people coming too close together, athletes started and ran at fixed time intervals between each other. Stretching was also done at staggered intervals, and strength training equipment was disinfected between each use.

May's Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships have been canceled, but, said ekiden team head coach Masaaki Iijima, "I want us to prepare so that we're read…

Today's Race - Samuel Wanjiru Rocks the 2004 National High School Ekiden

Future Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru runs a still-standing Third Stage course record to lead Sendai Ikuei H.S. to the National High School Boys Ekiden Championships title. The team's winning time, a course record at the time, is still the second-fastest ever.