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Yugami and Kanai Set National Records - Japanese National Championships Day Three Highlights

Masateru Yugami (Toyota) and Taio Kanai (Fukui Pref. Sports Assoc.) wrapped up the last day of the 2018 Japanese National Track and Field Championships in style, delivering national records in the men's discus throw and men's 110 m hurdles.

Coming into Nationals with a best of only 59.30 m, Yugami threw PBs on five-straight throws, breaking the national record set last year by rival Yuji Tsutsumi (Alsok) on his last three. By the time the dust settled he held a new record of 62.16 m, an improvement of almost a minute and a half over Tsutsumi's record. "I'm happy to get this," he said afterward, "but I know other athletes are coming up too and I hope that we can take it further together."

With a 0.7 m/s tailwind, the #4-ranked Kanai won the 110 mH final in 13.36, a PB by 0.17 and bettering both the year-old meet record and 2004-era national record. 3000 mSC winner Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) came up short of the national record, but his 8:29.14 …
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Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Ishizawa, Seko and Yamagata the Stars of Japanese National Championships Day Two

The 100 m final got most of the attention on the second day of the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships, but arguably the best race of the day came in the women's 3000 m steeplechase. 4 of the top 5 women ran PBs and broke 10 minutes, winner Yukari Ishizawa (Edion) coming in at all-time Japanese #5 in 9:53.22, runner-up Nana Sato (Starts) all-time JPN #9 in 9:56.95, and 5th-placer Manami Nishyama (Matsuyama Univ.) running a PB 10:04.70 to land all-time Japanese collegiate #9.

The women's 100 m final provided one of the bigger surprises of the day, with the relatively unheralded Nodoka Seko (Crane) outrunning defending national champ Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) and national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Seiko) to win in 11.64 (+0.8 m/s). A tense men's 100 m final saw 2013 national champ Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) better national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) and 2017 London World Championships 4x100m relay team members Aska Cambridge (Nike) and Sh…

Marathoner Matsuda Dominates 10000 m - Japanese National Championships Day One Highlights

Returning from her stellar 2:22:44 marathon debut in Osaka in January, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) delivered the highlight of the opening day of competition at the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Yamaguchi. Starting with a conservative 3:20 for the first 1000 m the pace gradually picked up thanks in large part to National Corporate Half Marathon runner-up Yuka Hori (Panasonic). Anxious to avoid a repeat of last year when she was outkicked by Matsuda over the last lap, 2016 national champ Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) launched a long surge from four and a half laps out, a move only Matsuda could follow. With one lap to go Suzuki had opened a 2 second lead, but it was nowhere near a margin of safety. Summoning up the same winning move as last year, Matsuda blew by Suzuki to win by 5 seconds in 31:52.42. Hori held on to 3rd in 32:05.52.

The day's other track final was the men's 10000 m. On a roll since his 2:06:54 breakthrough at the Tokyo Marathon in February…

Marathon National Record Holder Yuta Shitara Scores a Sweet Ride - "We're Going to Create a Legend Together"

At a ceremony in Sayama, Saitama on June 22, men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 26, was awarded a Legend luxury sedan by his corporate team sponsor Honda. Shitara was praised for cracking the national record with a 2:06:11 at February's Tokyo Marathon. "I didn't think I'd score a car out of it," he smiled. "I'm really happy to get it. I want to hit the road in it somewhere with my teammates."

The basic model of the car Shitara was awarded costs 7,000,000 yen [~$64,000 USD], but what he actually received came loaded with optional features. He was allowed to choose any model of Honda car he wanted, but it was the model's name, "Legend," that caught his attention. "I want to accomplish legendary things in the marathon," he commented. "The Legend and I are in to together for the long haul, and together we're going to create a legend."

【納車記念式典】#マラソン#日本記録 を樹立した #設楽悠太 選手に
所属会社 #Honda より「#LEGEND」が贈呈…

National Track and Field Championships Preview

Japan's National Track and Field Championships are happening this weekend in Yamaguchi. Somebody is always being selected for something at Nationals, and this year it's the Jakarta Asian Games. Most of the action will be streamed live on the JAAF site Friday through Sunday, with some breaks for the major events which will only be shown on TV.

In three of the biggest events the defending champs are absent. 100 and 200 m winner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Univ. of Florida) and 10000 m champ Suguru Osako (NOP), both U.S.-based, having bowed out with injury in Sani Brown's case and purportedly to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in Osako's. In the 100 m and 200 m the door is open for the other members of Japan's medal-winning relay squad to take home a national title, national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) the #1 seed in the 100 m and Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) ranked #1 in the 200 m.

The men's 10000 m is surprisingly weak this year, with no Japanese men und…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…