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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…
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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:

Government Proposal Calls for Non-Japanese Athletes to Go Through At Least Five COVID-19 Tests to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

On Sept. 15 the Japanese government announced its proposal for anti-coronavirus measures that would allow non-Japanese athletes wishing to compete at next summer's postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to enter the country. Along with at least five tests for COVID-19 prior to competition, foreign athletes must submit a detailed itinerary of their planned movements within the country and a written oath to abide by the submitted plan. Rules and consequences for dealing with violations are still under discussion. The complete proposal is expected to be presented at a government planning meeting next week.

Under the proposal, the first test must be carried out less than 72 hours prior to departure and must return a negative result. Another test must be done at the airport upon arrival in Japan, another when entering the team's pre-Olympic base or host town, another when entering the Athletes' Village, and another before competing. Beyond these five tests, athletes will…

Revisiting the MGC Race

It's been a year since the Marathon Grand Championship race, Japan's trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games men's and women's teams. It's hard to believe it's only been a year. It seems like a different world now. The great racing, especially the men's race, the huge crowds along the course, the energy, the excitement, the anticipation of seeing Japan's best line up as legitimate contenders for medals on the streets of central Tokyo less than eleven months later. Everything may be different now, but it's worth revisiting that day now with a year's hindsight and seeing again what seemed at the time a sure sign of so many great things to come.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved