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Chugoku Denryoku and Mazda Break Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden Course Record

The Chugoku Denryoku and Mazda men's corporate teams raced each other to new heights at the 56th Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden, each taking over two minutes off the course record Mazda set just last year. 5 of the race's 6 stages saw new records with runners from both teams breaking the record on 3 of them.

Mazda's Kenji Yamamoto took an early lead on the opening stage, but on every remaining stage the two teams swapped position, Mazda never more than 13 seconds in front and Chugoku Denryoku never more than 28.  Chugoku Denryoku anchor Kaido Kita was down 13 seconds when he took the tasuki, but with only 5.49 km to work with he managed to turn that around and open 17 seconds on Mazda anchor Shori Arai after catching him.
Mazda's record for the 43.82 km course was 2:08:10. This year Chugoku Denryoku won in 2:05:52 with Mazda running 2:06:09. 3rd-placer Chudenko was also just off the record at 2:08:20, briefly taking the lead on the Second Stage thanks to a stage record ru…

Fukushi Leads Wacoal to Top of Wild National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier

In one of the wildest elite-level ekidens in memory, half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi ran her best race in almost 3 years to anchor the Wacoal team to the win at the Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

The field of 27 teams raced 6 stages totaling 42.195 km for one of 14 spots at Nationals alongside last year's top 8. Things were complicated by the disqualification of 2017 national champion Universal Entertainment, which found itself back at the Princess Ekiden to requalify. Sayaka Sato got things off to a good start for Sekisui Kagaku, winning the 7.0 km First Stage in 22:36 just off the CR. 4 seconds back was Shiori Yano, whose Canon AC Kyushu team missed Nationals by a minute last year. and another 5 seconds behind was Miku Daido of the debuting Iwatani Sangyo team.

Coached by marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi's former coach Hisakazu Hirose, Iwatani Sangyo's next …

Kamino Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

With last week's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai having changed from 20 km to the half marathon distance the Takashimadaira 20 km Road Race is now Japan's premier 20 km, four laps of a perfectly flat 5 km loop in Tokyo's northwestern suburbs. Working his way back from a DNF last month at the Berlin Marathon, independent Daichi Kamino (New Balance) went head-to-head this year with 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), a regular at Takashimadaira.

After a slow 15:27 opening lap Kamino went to the front, picking up the pace to 15:18 for the second lap and cutting the lead group down from a dozen to six. 2014 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Koki Takada (Sumitomo Denko) and collegiate men Kotaro Hirata (Teikyo Univ.), Fuma Nakamura (Teikyo Univ.) and Tomoya Yoneda (Tokai Univ.) hung with Kamino and Kawauchi through a 15:15 third lap until Kamino attacked again.

Hirata and Kawauchi tried to follow, but Kamino was too much to keep up with. Running alone the …

Kimunyan Runs World-Leading 10000 m at Nittai - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF may have unilaterally declared the long distance track season over last week, but in Japan autumn track is in full swing as athletes at all levels prepare for championship ekiden season.

The biggest race of the weekend was the men's 10000 m A-heat at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials. Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu) led a small group including 2014 Commonwealth Games 5000 m gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) out at a steady pace around 27:10. By halfway Kimunyan was alone but still rock steady with a 13:35 split.

From 7000 m on he slowed gradually toward the 27:19.62 world-leading time run by Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) at this year's Commonwealth Games, but with a hard kick over the last lap Kimunyan crossed the line 5 seconds up on Cheptegei's mark in 27:14.70, a PB by 38 seconds. Ndiku also got under 28 minutes in 27:50.38. Half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) was the top Japanese man in 28:11.25, continuing to ro…

Marathon Legend Ikangaa Visits With Yamagata Middle Schoolers

Tanzanian marathon legend Juma Ikangaa, 58, visited and talked with students at Kita J.H.S. in Nagai, Yamagata on Oct. 19. In the 1980s and early 1990s Ikangaa was one of the top marathoners in the world, representing Tanzania at three Olympic Games. Ikangaa was part of a Tanzanian delegation visiting Nagai, which will host the Tanzanian national team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The welcome event and exchange with students took place in the school gymnasium, where the visiting delegation sampled local products. After watching students show off their skill at difficult kendama moves Ikangaa tried his hand with the traditional toy. Afterwards while eating lunch he talked to students via an interpreter about various aspects of Tanzanian culture.

"Listening to Mr. Ikangaa made me interested in Tanzania," said one male student. "I'd like to try to learn Swahili." Ikangaa commented, "I was delighted to speak with the students today. I hope …

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier, Amsterdam, Changsha and More - Weekend Preview

It's a busy weekend ahead on the track and the roads at home and abroad. Saturday and Sunday's Nittai University Time Trials feature 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) in the 5000 m A-heat, where he hopes to run a season best time ahead of a return next month to the track where he set the national record at the Hachioji Long Distance Meet. Half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) is also entered in the 10000 m A-heat along with pretty much the entire Honda roster, in Shitara's case a tuneup for November's Ageo City Half Marathon.

There's also a fast 3000 m on deck Sunday at the Sumitomo Cup meet in Hyogo, where wunderkind Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) is going for time with pacing from Ethiopian Yeneblo Biyazen (Yachiyo Kogyo) and Kenyan John Maina (Fujitsu). One of Japan's top current men on the track, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) is entered both there and in the Nittai 5000 m. Saturday's Heisei Kokusai University Time …