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Study Finds 63.9% of Elite Japanese Track and Field Athletes Use Supplements

The degree to which elite-level Japanese track and field athletes utilize supplements has become clearer. Nearly 2/3 of athletes regularly use a supplement, with higher usage among women than men, higher usage among seniors than juniors, and higher usage in long distance than in other disciplines. Those are the findings of a paper by Shogo Tabata of the Keio University Sports Medicine Center published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Supplement usage is higher among athletes than in the general population, with some studies suggesting a typical usage level of about 60%. There are a wide variety of supplements such as vitamins and minerals, but few have clear evidence of efficacy. At the same time, some products have been known to include banned substances, creating the risk of "unintentional doping" by those who use them carelessly.

Although the number of reported cases of Japanese athletes caught for doping is small, the proportion of them d…
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National University Track and Field Championships to Go Ahead Without Spectators

Thank you for your continued support of the development of Japanese university athletics. In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Inter-Union Athletics Union of Japan (IUAU) is announcing that this year's 89th National University Track and Field Championships, scheduled for Sept. 11-13 at Niigata's Denka Big Swan Stadium, will not be open to spectators from the general public.

As the organizers we are deeply concerned by the resurgent nationwide spread of the virus since July, and as a consequence of those circumstances we have arrived at the conclusion that the meet must be held in a closed environment. We regret that this will disappoint and cause inconvenience for all those involved, including team members, alumni and alumnae, and family members who had planned to attend in support of their athletes, but this measure is necessary in order for the meet to take place at all under the current social situation and we ask for your understanding and cooperation.


First Two Major High School Ekidens of Season Canceled

After extensive discussion with all involved parties, the 35th Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and 40th Nihonkai Men's Ekiden scheduled for Oct. 11, the first major high school ekidens of the season, have been canceled to protect athletes, officials and local residents from the spread of the coronavirus. We would like to express our most sincere apologies to all the athletes and everyone else involved in putting on these races who had been looking forward to it with anticipation. In preparation for next year's races we will further study what countermeasures against the virus can be implemented to allow the event to be held as per usual. We look forward to seeing you next year and thank you for your support of our events.

Kurayoshi Board of Education Division of Lifelong Learning
Organizers, Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and Nihonkai Men's Ekiden

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translated by Brett Larner

2021 Kyoto Marathon, Kitakyushu Marathon and Koga Hanamomo Marathon Canceled

The 2021 Kyoto Marathon will take a step in a new direction and will be held as on online-only marathon. By using an app on their phones, runners can run the online marathon whenever and wherever they like.

To date 142,347 runners have traversed the streets of Kyoto and smiled at it riches, and we're grateful to every one of them. We extend our thanks to each of you, and to all those who have played a role in making our event possible. In return, we want to give something back and hope that the online marathon will motivate you all and serve as a bridge across these troubled coronavirus times to a better day to come. Even if we can't be together in Kyoto, our hearts are still as one. Think of Kyoto with each step you run and let this new kind of marathon give you strength to reach your tomorrow.

We'll also be holding a running event at the marathon's start point at Nishi-Kyogoku Sports Park on its original date, February 21, 2020. Details on both it and the online mar…

Mibu Town Government Hires Kenyan Runner Ngandu As Civic Running Coach

Video: Benjamin Ngandu passing 12 people to win the 2013 Hakone Ekiden Second Stage for Nihon University.

Placing a high importance on promoting a healthy lifestyle among its citizens through sports, the town government of Mibu, Tochigi has hired a Kenyan amateur runner who was once a star on the university ekiden and corporate marathon circuits to serve as running coach for local residents. The new civic employee is Benjamin Ngandu, 29.

On Aug. 3 at Mibu Town Hall Ngandu received an official letter of appointment from mayor Kazuya Kosuge. Competing against other top Kanto Region universities, Ngandu was a stage winner at the prestigious Hakone Ekiden, and as a corporate league runner he had success as a marathoner including a win at the 2016 Osaka Marathon. Three years ago he retired, taking a job at a company in Aichi and continuing to run as an amateur.

Ngandu will coach local residents in preparation for January's municipal ekiden, focusing on work with junior high school stud…

Running The Original 2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Part One - Women's Marathon

Today was the original date of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's marathon, before the coronavirus hit, before the IOC moved the race to Sapporo. Two years ago I went out and did test runs on the course on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 at the actual times that the women's and men's marathons were to have been run this year, taking temperature and humidity readings every half hour. Last year I did it three times, once on Aug. 2, once on Aug. 5 with European marathon champion Koen Naert of Belgium, and again on Aug. 9, all at the actual race time.

It doesn't really matter any more, but for the sake of completion I decided to do it this year too. If a lot of things had gone differently and the world's marathon women had run the streets of Tokyo today, what kind of conditions would they have ended up actually facing? Only one way to find out.

The picture at the top is the view down the marathon gate tunnel into the stadium right at the time the lead women would have been coming out.…

2019 Fukuoka Winner Dazza Suspended Four Years

On July 31 the Athletics Integrity Unit announced a four-year suspension for 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner El Mahjoub Dazza of Morocco. Dazza was busted on biological passport findings that indicated unrealistic hemoglobin values, the AIU rejecting his explanation of changes in intensity of altitude training as "highly improbable."

Dazza will lose all results from May 4, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020, with a four-year suspension to follow. Pending any appeals,  this means he will lose his 2019 Prague Marathon and 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon titles, in the latter case elevating runner-up Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) to winner. The correction of results will mean two straight Fukuoka titles for Toyota head coach Toshinobu Sato, whose star runner Yuma Hattori won Fukuoka in 2018, but Fujimoto will never get the same public recognition Hattori earned for his win.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Mt. Fuji Marathon, Last Remaining Japanese Marathon of 2020 With >5000 Runners, Canceled

The organizers of the Nov. 29 Mt. Fuji International Marathon announced on July 31st that this year's race has been canceled. In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis organizers had previously postponed opening race registrations, but in consideration of the health and safety of local residents in Fujikawaguchiko who would serve as race volunteers, and of the inevitability of crowded conditions at the start and at water stations, the decision was made to cancel.

In place of the marathon, the organizers plan to stage a virtual race in November. Runners from all over the world will be able to participate, and organizers are working hard on plans to make it an experience worthy of the Mt. Fuji name. Details will be announced in late August on the race website.

Translator's note: With 7,200 finishers last time, the M.t Fuji International Marathon was the last remaining Japanese marathon in 2020 with over 5000 finishers that had not yet canceled. Only the Dec. 6 Fukuoka Internati…