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Today's Race - 2005 National High School Girls Ekiden First Stage

17-year-old 12th-grader and future half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya breaks her own course record, going under 19 minutes for the second time to run the still-standing CR for the 6.0 km First Stage at the 2005 National High School Girls Ekiden Championships. She remains the only woman to ever break 19 minutes for the stage and the only Japanese woman to ever win it all three years of high school.

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July's Hokuren Distance Challenge Series May Go Ahead On Limited Scale

Following the nationwide lifting of the state of emergency earlier this week, Hokkaido's Hokuren Distance Challenge may be held on its planned dates from July 4th to 18th on a reduced scale. According to a source involved with the series, based on the advice of experts the 10000 m will be cut, with only events of 5000 m and shorter held in order to reduce the size of the series' meets and keep them in line with government social distancing guidelines. The JAAF earlier requested that meets and races refrain from going ahead through the end of June, but if the Hokuren series happens it will likely signal a restart of the track and field season.

The number of people allowed to participate in the series will likely be limited, with priority given to upper-tier athletes. Many issues such as accommodations and the number of race and athlete support personnel permitted on-site have yet to be worked out. One of the organizers commented, "The series will bring in a lot of people …

Today's Race - 2004 National High School Girls Ekiden First Stage

16-year-old 11th-grader and future half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya becomes the first and only woman to break 19 minutes on the 6.0 km National High School Girls Ekiden Championships First Stage at the 2004 race.

Hakone Champ AGU's Coach Hara Critical of Aoba's Naming as Nihon University Head Coach

While offering words of congratulations on the nomination of former Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) director Yoshiyuki Aoba, 77, to the head coach position at Nihon University, Susumu Hara, 53, head coach of 2020 Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University, voiced caution about the potential for Aoba to wield too much influence.

The move by Nihon University, which finished 18th at Hakone this year, came as a surprise to the university men's ekiden scene, replacing retiring coach Yoshiyuki Musha, 36, with the 77-year-old veteran and Nihon alumnus Aoba who had led Daito Bunka University to four Hakone titles in younger days. Aoba hasn't coached since he left Daito Bunka in 2000 to take up the position of KGRR director.

Currently the core figure in the university ekiden world, in a telephone interview Hara reacted with surprise to the news of Aoba's return. "To begin with, I would like to congratulate Coach Aoba on his return to the scene," said H…

National Championships Rescheduled for October 1-3 in Niigata

Postponed from its original June dates due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the JAAF plans to reschedule the 2020 National Track and Field Championships for October 1-3 in Niigata's Denka Big Swan Stadium, according to a source involved in the decision. The plan is expected to be confirmed at a June 4 executive board meeting.

The National Championships were originally planned to be held June 25-28 in Osaka. Initially the JAAF hoped to hold the rescheduled competition at Tokyo's New Olympic Stadium, but in their view it was determined that the virus crisis made it impossible to make the necessary preparations. This year's Nationals will not serve as a trials event for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, as World Athletics has previously announced that performances before the end of November this year will not count toward Olympic qualification.

Translator's note: The JAAF previously announced that the 10000 m National Championships, originally scheduled for May, will be hel…

Today's Race - 2003 National High School Girls' Ekiden First Stage

15-year-old 10th-grader and future half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya makes her national debut, winning the 6.0 km First Stage at the 2003 National High School Girls Ekiden Championships.

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…

Today's Race - 1986 Tokyo International Marathon

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