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Last Chance for Tokyo 2020? - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

With just under three weeks to go the organizers of the Mar. 10 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon's 74th running have finally released the elite field. For Japanese men it's the last chance - almost - to qualify for September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials, the last domestic race with up to six spots up for grabs for anyone under 2:11:00 or 2:10:00 and more for anyone else under 2:08:30 or averaging under 2:11:00 between Lake Biwa and another marathon in the last year and a half. The window on that last two-race option runs through April 30th so there will still be a few chances left, but realistically for most of the men at Lake Biwa this is it, all or nothing for a home soil Olympic team.

There's a good international field of twelve African-born runners of eight nationalities at the 2:06 to 2:09 level to help pull the Japanese men. Last year's winner Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) is back, ranked 6th in a field led by 2:06 men Deribe Robi (Ethiopia) an…
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Cheboitibin Breaks Seko's Course Record at Ome 30 km

One of Japan's longest-standing course records at its elite races fell Sunday as Kenyan Ezekiel Cheboitibin (Sunbelx) beat the great Toshihiko Seko's 38-year-old Ome 30 km Road Race record by almost 30 seconds.

Tough and hilly with a net climb in the first half and descent on the return trip, Ome is a standard spring marathon prep run and a natural partner for April's Boston Marathon, with which it has a longstanding athlete exchange program. The 2017 Ome winner, this time out Cheboitibin was gunning for Seko's record from the start, hitting the mostly uphill 10 km completely solo in 29:47, 20 km midway through the return trip in 59:30, and saving his fastest 10 km split for the end as he crossed the finish line in 1:29:06. Seko's 1:29:32 just two months before his first Boston win had made him the only man in Ome history to break 90 minutes. With the best performance of his career Cheboitibin turned the page on that history.

With the withdrawal of Fukuoka winner

Shimokado and Imada Scratch From Sunday's Ome 30 km

Following the earlier announcement of the withdrawals of Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post), on Feb. 15 the organizers of the 53rd Ome 30 km Road Race announced that two more athletes have pulled out of the women's 30 km division of Sunday's race. Miharu Shimokado (28, Brooks) has withdrawn due to a pulled muscle in her right calf, while Marie Imada (29, Iwatani Sangyo) is suffering from inflammation in her right foot.

Both Shimokado and Imada ran December's Saitama International Women's Marathon. Imada broke her PB by 2 minutes and 25 seconds to take the top Japanese position at 4th in 2:29:35 but missed qualifying for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials by 35 seconds. The last race in the MGC qualifying series is the Mar. 10 Nagoya Women's Marathon, with the wildcard qualifying window running until Apr. 30.

Waseda University 3rd-year Kosuke Magara has also withdrawn from the men's 30 km division.

source article:
https://headlines.yahoo.c…

Beppu-Oita Marathon to Review Staff Training After Interpreter Refers to African Athletes as "Chimpanzees"

On Feb. 14 the organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon confirmed that a local woman in her fifties who served as an interpreter at this year's race had published a blog post in which she referred to the African athletes on whose behalf she had worked as "chimpanzees." The woman said she had no malicious or racist intent behind her comments, but a spokesperson for the organizers called her choice of words "inappropriate." Organizers plan to review their training and guidance procedures for all race management staff members.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon took place in the two cities on Feb. 3. According to the spokesperson, the blog to which the woman posted the comments is for members of a sports club to which she belongs to report on what they have been doing. On Feb. 10 she wrote about her work with the African athletes, posting it with public access so that anyone could read it. She described the struggle of talking to the African athletes, saying …

Japan Names National Team for 23rd Asian Athletics Championships

Japan has named a team featuring ten individual medalists from the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games to get an early taste of this year's World Championships  at April's Doha Asian Athletics Championships. Along with its gold medal-winning men's 4x100 m team, standouts include Jakarta gold medalists Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko) in the men's 200 m, Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) in the men's pole vault and Keisuke Ushiro (Kokushin Univ. AC) in the decathlon.

The women's long distance roster is strong, led by 2018 World U20 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka (ND28 AC) in the 5000 m and the resurgent Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) in the 10000 m, while the most interesting name among the men is Jakarta 3000 m steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.).
23rd Asian Athletics ChampionshipsJapanese National Team
Doha, Qatar, Apr. 21-24, 2019
complete team listing
underlined athletes are 2018 Asian Games medalists

Women
Sprints
Chisato Fukushima (Seiko) - 100…

Hattori and Suzuki Scratch From Ome 30 km

The organizers of the Ome 30 km Road Race announced on Feb. 10 that both of its feature invited elite athletes Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) have scratched from the Feb. 17 race.

Hattori won December's Fukuoka International Marathon in a strong 2:07:27 to position himself as a leading candidate for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and its trials event, September's MGC Race. He is reportedly not feeling well currently. In the organizers' statement he commented, "I'm simply not in the best condition to run Ome, and thinking about the future I've decided not to do it. I'm very sorry to disappoint everyone who was looking forward to Ome. I will do everything I can to be on the starting line of the MGC Race in perfect condition and ask for your continued support."

Suzuki ran an all-time Japanese #3 time of 1:07:55 at the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, demonstrating the potential to make the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. A…

Toyota On Fire - Weekend Road Race Roundup

Everything right now in Japanese distance is about qualifying for September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials. On the men's side Toyota currently leads the way, Yuma Hattori running 2:07:27, Taku Fujimoto 2:07:57 and Chihiro Miyawaki 2:08:45 last year to qualify. Five more Toyota runners ran big today to set up some exciting last-shot bids at qualifying in Tokyo and Lake Biwa.

The National Corporate Half Marathon men's race went out relatively conservatively with a pack of 30 rolling through 10 km in 29:28. A series of runners including 35-year-old full-time-working amateur Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) took turns trying to get it moving before Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) took off for good to win unchallenged in 1:01:06. Along with Kenyans Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) and Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) Toyota's trio of Hideyuki Tanaka, Tsubasa Hayakawa and Minato Oishi emerged at the front of a chase group of 14.

As the pace picked up over the last 5 km th…