What was the Japanese men's performance of the year?

What was the Japanese men's performance of the year?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yoko Shibui Sets 5000 m and 10000 m Meet Records and Earns 5000 m Olympic B-Standard (updated)

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/top/sp200805/sp2008051808.html
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/long/news/20080518-OYT1T00443.htm?from=nwla

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Translator`s note: I had previously posted the article about Shibui`s 10000 m performance but just came across the news of her impressive double in the next day`s 5000 m. Shibui is only the second Japanese woman to qualify for the 5000 m in Beijing, raising the possibility that she will double in the Olympics.

On the first day of the East Japan Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, held May 17th and 18th at Kumagaya Sports Park`s Track and Field Grounds, women`s 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (29, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) ran a new meet record of 31:21.92 to break the Beijing Olympics A-standard (31:45.00) for the second time.

On the second day of the meet, Shibui ran 15:20.13 to set another meet record in the women`s 5000 m. Her time also met the Olympic B-standard (15:24.00). It was Shibui`s second straight and third-ever victory in the 5000 m at this meet and together with the 10000 m made for a successful double.

19 year old Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) set a meet record in the women`s 200 m with her winning time of 23.60, while Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) also set a men`s 200 m meet record of 20.62. 400 m national record holder Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) won by a margin of only 0.04 seconds. In the men`s 110 m hurdles, Yuji Ohashi (24, Team Mizuno) scored his first-ever victory at the East Japan meet by running 13.44 (adjusted for tailwind). Naoyuki Daigo won the men`s high jump for the fourth year in a row, clearing a height of 2 m 15 cm.

Translator`s note: Shibui is the national record holder in the 10000 m. Her previous 10000 m A-standard performance was three weeks ago at the Hyogo Relay Carnival. Her time in East Japan was 2.19 seconds slower than in Hyogo. In the men`s 10000 m, world-leaders Josephat Ndambiri and Gideon Ngatuny, who finished 1-2 in Hyogo, were again 1-2, this time in 27:38.13 and 27:39.27 respectively.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

'Mara Homes in on Tokyo in Her Build-up to Beijing'

http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-1022285/Mara-homes-Tokyo-build-Beijing.html

Ndereba, Mogusu, Rothlin and Japanese Olympic Marathon Men`s Team to Headline Sapporo International Half Marathon

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/marathon/news/20080528-OYT1T00424.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/beijing2008/athletics/news/20080527-OHT1T00073.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Rikuren announced on May 26 that this year`s Sapporo International Half Marathon, to be held June 16, will feature all three members of Japan`s Beijing Olympic men`s marathon team, namely Atsushi Sato (30) and Tsuyoshi Ogata (35) (Team Chugoku Denryoku), and Satoshi Osaki (31) (Team NTT Nishi Nihon). It will be the first time Sapporo has been used as an Olympic test event and the first time in 16 years that all members of a Japanese Olympic marathon team have competed against each other in a single race.

The list of invited foreign runners includes Osaka World Championships bronze medalist and 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), 2-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya) and Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Lee Bong Ju (South Korea).

Returning is Kenyan defending champion Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), who last year set the Sapporo course record of 59:54, in January set the stage record on the 2nd leg of the Hakone Ekiden, and comes fresh from winning the 1500 m, 10000 m and half marathon at last week`s Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships. Mogusu hopes to run for Kenya in the 10000 m at the Beijing Olympics and says of his plans for Sapporo, "I will run much faster than last year`s course record."

Osaka World Championships women`s marathon gold medalist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) heads the list of foreign women. The domestic women`s field includes Osaka World Championships marathon 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo).

The Sapporo International Half Marathon is usually held in July, but this year the city of Sapporo is in preparation for the G-8 economic summit to be held later in the summer in the town of Toyako. Rikuren official Toshio Kiuchi explained, "Due to security concerns related to the summit meeting we opted to hold the race one month earlier than in normal years." The change had the side effect of making the Sapporo Half an ideal preparatory race for the Olympics.

As a result, all three members of the Japanese Olympic men`s marathon team opted to compete against each other on the road. In the 51 editions of the race since the Sapporo Half`s founding in 1958 it is the first time that the race will host such a competition. Atsushi Sato is doing altitiude training at a height of 850 m in his native Fukushima Prefecture. Tsuyoshi Ogata is at a training camp in New Zealand. Satoshi Osaki is praticing in Osaka and plans to run the 5000 m at the Golden Games in Nobeoka on May 31st. As the three teammates prepare to their showdown, the knowledge that they will also be facing world-class rivals raises the heat.

Mizuki Noguchi Plans to Compete in World Half Marathon Championships

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2008/05/27/0001078429.shtml
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008052600810

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On May 26, Rikuren announced that Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team leader Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) will compete in October`s World Half Marathon Championships in Brazil. Noguchi won the Sendai International Half Marathon earlier this month and expressed her interest in competing in the World Half following the Olympics.

Noguchi also announced that due to the recent earthquake in China she has cancelled her planned altitude training camp in Kunming, China. Noguchi will instead continue her training for the Olympics at an alternate location in Japan.

June`s Sapporo International Half Marathon is the last of the three domestic races Rikuren will use to select the five-member team for the World Half Marathon Championships. The top male and female Japanese finishers at March`s All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon and May`s Sendai International Half Marathon have already been named to the World Half team.

Translator`s note: Although the article does not explicitly name the World Half team members who have already been selected other than Noguchi, the top Japanese woman in the Jitsugyodan Half was Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), who broke Noguchi`s course record to win in a PB of 1:08:11. The top Japanese man in the Jitsugyodan Half was Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK), 3rd in 1:02:35, while the top Japanese man in Sendai was Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) who ran a 3:34 PB to finish 2nd in 1:02:00.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yamauchi 2nd in Inaugural BUPA London 10000

http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines/display.var.2297651.0.Farah_edged_into_third_by_Kogo_and_Tadese.php

and

http://www.iaaf.org/WHM08/news/kind=100/newsid=45047.html

Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships - Results

Partial results from the distance events and some shorter races at the 2008 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, held May 17, 18, 24 and 25 at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Complete results can be found here. Some events listed below include links to race videos.

Men`s 1500 m Final - May 17
1. Mekubo Mogusu (senior, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 3:45.66
2. Atsuro Kikuchi (junior, Juntendo Univ.): 3:48.32
3. Atsushi Yamazaki (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 3:48.34
4. Keisuke Tanaka (sophomore, Josai Univ.): 3:49.12
5. Hikaru Miyazaki (senior, Nittai Univ.): 3:49.55
6. Yuichi Tokuchi (senior, Chuo Univ.): 3:49.63
7. Hiroyuki Uno (frosh, Toyo Univ.): 3:49.82
8. Kazuya Takahashi (senior, Waseda Univ.): 3:49.84
9. Takafumi Yanase (junior, Chuo Univ.): 3:50.35
10. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu (senior, Toyo Univ.): 3:50.35

Men`s 3000 m SC Final - May 24
1. Atsuro Kikuchi (junior, Juntendo Univ.): 8:42.06
2. Aoi Matsumoto (junior, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 8:42.66
3. Kyosuke Suda (sophomore, Juntendo Univ.): 8:43.21
4. Tsuyoshi Takada (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 8:45.58
5. Takamori Yamashita (sophomore, Chuo Univ.): 8:49.64
6. Shintaro Nara (frosh, Nittai Univ.): 8:51.23
7. Cosmas Ondeiba (frosh, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 8:54.42
8. Yuki Munakata (frosh, Chuo Univ.): 8:54.81
9. Ken Akazome (sophomore, Tokai Univ.): 9:04.49
10. Taichi Saito (senior, Waseda Univ.): 9:05.07

Men`s 5000 m Final - May 25
1. Daniel Gitau (junior, Nihon Univ.): 13:38.75
2. Takuya Fukatsu (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 13:50.56
3. Tomoya Onishi (senior, Toyo Univ.): 13:50.93
4. Cosmas Ondeiba (frosh, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 13:52.91
5. Ryuji Kashiwabara (frosh, Toyo Univ.): 13:58.28
6. Hiroyuki Ono (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 13:59.76
7. Takafumi Yanase (junior, Chuo Univ.): 14:01.11
8. Takahiro Mori (junior, Nittai Univ.): 14:04.53
9. Sota Hoshi (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 14:06.83
10. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu (senior, Yoyo Univ.): 14:08.60

Men`s 10000 m Final - May 18 click for video
1. Mekubo Mogusu (senior, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 27:27.64 - Meet Record, National Student Record
2. Daniel Gitau (junior, Nihon Univ.): 27:59.05
3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (frosh, Toyo Univ.): 28:44.42
4. Takuya Fukatsu (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 28:44.73
5. Sota Hoshi (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 28:45.26
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 28:46.48
7. Takahiro Mori (junior Nittai Univ.): 28:49.52
8. Kazuyuki Ito (senior, Josai Univ.): 28:50.17
9. Hiroyuki Ono (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 29:02.28
10. Yohei Yamamoto (junior, Chuo Univ.): 29:07.55

Click here for video of the men`s 10000 m B-group final.

Men`s Half Marathon Final - May 25 click for video
1. Mekubo Mogusu (senior, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 1:02:23 - Meet Record
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 1:04:19
3. Takahiro Ozaki (junior, Waseda Univ.): 1:04:26
4. Yuki Takamiya (junior Josai Univ.): 1:04:30
5. Nobuhiko Hirakawa (senior, Chuo Univ.): 1:04:30
6. Hidehito Takamine (senior, Hosei Univ.): 1:04:32
7. Tomoya Mizukoshi (junior, Chuo Univ.): 1:04:32
8. Yuki Kyoyama (senior, Hosei Univ.): 1:04:39
9. Kenta Kawasaki (senior, Kokushikan Univ.): 1:04:52
10. Norimasa Yoshida (senior, Tokai Univ.): 1:04:55

Men`s 4 x 100 m Relay Final - May 24 click for video
1. Waseda Univ.: 39.46
2. Tsukuba Univ.: 39.72
3. Nihon Univ.: 39.83
4. Chuo Univ.: 39.83
5. Kokushikan Univ.: 40.16

Click here for video of the men`s 4 x 100 m relay B-group final.

Men`s Decathlon 1500 m Final - May 18 click for video
1. Taisuke Ikeda (senior, Nihon Univ.): 4:32.48
2. Kodai Hori (junior, Waseda Univ.): 4:33.63
3. Shohei Yagi (sophomore, Toyo Univ.): 4:34.10
4. Ichiro Arima (sophomore, Waseda Univ.): 4:35.38
5. Akinori Hayashida (junior, Juntendo Univ.): 4:36.65

Click here for video of the decathlon 1500 m B-group final.

Women`s 1500 m Final - May 17
1. Kieko Shinada (junior, Tsukuba Univ.): 4:30.85
2. Chihiro Sunaga (sophomore, Sozo Gakuin Univ.): 4:31.40
3. Maya Hirokawa (junior, Tamagawa Univ.): 4:31.95
4. Jemima Maina (junior, Nihon Univ.): 4:32.07
5. Yukari Nomura (sophomore, Chuo Univ.): 4:32.70
6. Maki Kudo (senior, Tamagawa Univ.): 4:33.31
7. Sakie Ishibashi (senior, Waseda Univ.): 4:33.33
8. Yuko Ishibashi (senior, Tokyo Nogyo Univ.): 4:33.84
9. Yuka Hashimoto (junior, Nittai Univ.): 4:35.03
10. Myu Kobayashi (frosh, Hakuo Univ): 4:35.30

Women`s 5000 m Final - May 24 click for video
1. Yui Sakai (junior, Josai Univ.): 16:00.02
2. Sakie Ishibashi (senior, Waseda Univ.): 16:04.00
3. Ann Kingori (junior, Nihon Univ.): 16:05.27
4. Eriko Noguchi (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 16:08.33
5. Jemima Maina (junior, Nihon Univ.): 16:14.14
6. Tomomi Tanaka (junior, Tamagawa Univ.): 16:14.49
7. Mai Tamura (junior, Tokyo Nogyo Univ.): 16:14.85
8. Maki Kudo (senior, Tamagawa Univ.): 16:16.30
9. Natsuko Godo (junior, Nihon Univ.): 16:16.85
10. Yukari Abe (frosh, Josai Univ.): 16:16.95

Women`s 10000 m Final - May 17
1. Yui Sakai (junior, Josai Univ.): 32:58.47
2. Eriko Noguchi (senior, Juntendo Univ.): 33:19.06
3. Manami Hirabayashi (junior, Tokyo Nogyo Univ.): 34:01.30
4. Manami Murayama (junior, Tamagawa Univ.): 34:12.09
5. Ami Nishio (senior, Chuo Univ.): 34:18.07
6. Yuka Aoyama (senior, Tokai Univ.): 34:19.44
7. Kyoko Aizu (senior, Josai Kokusai Univ.): 34:33.79
8. Michiyo Oniki (senior, Josai Kokusai Univ.): 34:33.42
9. Kazuyo Okuyama (senior, Tamagawa Univ.): 34:48.25
10. Haruka Noda (senior, Ibaraki Univ.): 34:56.02

Women`s 4 x 100 m Relay Final - May 24 click for video
1. Nittai Univ.: 45.40 - Meet Record, Regional Record
2. Chuo Univ.: 45.60
3. Tsukuba Univ: 45.73
4. Nihon Jotai Univ.: 46.42
5. Heisei Kokusai Univ.: 46.60

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mogusu Sets Meet Record in Half Marathon at Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner




Mekubo Mogusu in the lead. Click image for video of the race.

One week after winning his third titles in the 1500 m and 10000 m events, setting a PB, meet record and Japanese university record of 27:27.64 in the latter, Yamanashi Gakuin University senior Mekubo Mogusu of Kenya broke his own course record to win the half marathon on the final day of the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships at Tokyo`s National Stadium.

The half marathon was contested over a ten-loop course. Beginning in the National Stadium, runners completed 1 km on the track before exiting the stadium for a hilly, twisting section on the roads. Runners then re-entered the stadium before beginning the next iteration of the road loop. The course is notoriously difficult; last year Mogusu set the course record of 1:03:10 in the midst of a year in which he broke one hour for the half marathon three times. This year competitors faced the additional challenge of rain and wind brought by the latest in a series of early-season typhoons which have buffeted Japan so far this spring.


The lead bicycle struggles to stay ahead of the B-group on the road loop`s long uphill.

The B-group of 57 runners started at 9:00 a.m. sharp as a light drizzle began almost simultaneously. Three minutes later, just as the B-group approached the 1 km point, the A-group of 35 began. Perhaps not ready for the start, Mogusu, sporting a baseball cap, was immediately gapped by the rest of the A-group. Within 300 m he had overtaken the pack and moved into the lead, followed only by Komazawa Univ. junior Tsuyoshi Ugachi, who had led the Japanese pack behind Mogusu for most of last week`s 10000 m. The two runners quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field. After one loop of the road course they were far ahead of the pack, with only Nihon Univ. senior Takuma Sasaya and Hosei Univ. senior Hidehito Takamine making any attempt to bridge the distance.

Ugachi stayed near Mogusu throughout the first half of the race. Conditions worsened as the laps went by, the rain growing steadily heavier as Mogusu and Ugachi began to overtake stragglers from the B-group. Despite the rain it was clear that Mogusu was trying to set yet another course and meet record as he relentlessly targeted B-group runners. By the sixth loop Ugachi was trailing Mogusu by a gap which grew steadily larger. Likewise, Sasaya and Takamine paid for their early aggression as the rest of the pack began to pull them in.


The A-group overtakes Takuma Sasaya (bib #7) and a B-group runner.

Ahead, a large pack remained together as none of the B-group runners was willing to make a break for the lead. As the rain began to lighten in the second half of the race, the half marathon became a game of whether or not Mogusu would be able to catch this pack of leaders. With one lap of the road course remaining he was approximately 100 m from the B-group pack. Tension grew as the rowdy crowd of university student spectators and more reserved track fans awaited the outcome. Six minutes later, amazed laughter and cheers of support and admiration greeted Mogusu when he entered the stadium for the final lap of the track. The cheers doubled when the top B-group runner, Chuo Gakuin University senior Shigeki Tsuji, came onto the track seconds behind Mogusu and clearly trying to kick with the Kenyan. Mogusu coasted the last straightaway to a new course and meet record of 1:02:23, while Tsuji finished six seconds back in 1:05:29.

Tsuji did not realize the precariousness of his situation. Despite coming into the stadium clear of the rest of the B-group field he was almost overtaken by Meiji Univ. junior Masamichi Yasuda. Yasuda ran a last 200 m worthy of a 5000 m race but finished a step behind Tsuji. Yasuda held his hands to his head and fell to his knees in despair at so narrowly missing the B-group win.

Ugachi was the second finisher among the A-group, but despite having built a substantial lead while running with Mogusu he was nearly overtaken by the leaders of the chase pack. It was almost a replay of the previous weekend`s 10000 m in which he finished 6th after running in 3rd place for most of the race, but this time Ugachi held on to his position, even raising his hands in joy at his 1:04:19 finish as the top Japanese runner. Waseda University junior Takahiro Ozaki was close behind in 1:04:26 for 3rd, with a pack of five more runners close behind.

Complete results from the A-group and B-group races are available from the race website. Top finishers:

A-Group
1. Mekubo Mogusu (senior, Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 1:02:23 - course and meet record
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (junior, Komazawa Univ.): 1:04:19
3. Takahiro Ozaki (junior, Waseda Univ.): 1:04:26
4. Yuki Takamiya (junior, Josai Univ.): 1:04:30
5. Nobuhiko Hirakawa (senior, Chuo Univ.): 1:04:30
6. Hidehito Takamine (senior, Hosei Univ.): 1:04:32
7. Tomoya Mizukoshi (junior, Chuo Univ.): 1:04:32
8. Yuki Kyoyama (senior, Hosei Univ.): 1:04:39
9. Kenta Kawasaki (senior, Kokushikan Univ.): 1:04:52
10. Norimasa Yoshida (senior, Tokai Univ.): 1:04:55

B-Group
1. Shigeya Tsuji (senior, Chuo Gakuin Univ.): 1:05:29
2. Masamichi Yasuda (junior, Meiji Univ.): 1:05:30
3. Keita Baba (senior, Teikyo Univ.): 1:05:33
4. Kazuaki Shimizu (junior, Tokyo Nogyo Univ.): 1:05:34
5. Naoki Inoue (junior, Senshu Univ.): 1:05:36
6. Chiharu Nakamura (senior, Meiji Univ.): 1:05:37
7. Kazuya Fujii (senior, Kanagawa Univ.): 1:05:40
8. Takamitsu Kuramochi (senior, Tokyo Nogyo Univ.): 1:05:41
9. Yuki Kawauchi (senior, Gakushuin Univ.): 1:05:43
10. Shinpei Fujita (senior, Asia Univ.): 1:05:51

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, May 23, 2008

Olympic Marathoner Atsushi Sato Training in Hometown Fukushima

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2008/05/20080522t64013.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Atsushi Sato (30, Team Chugoku Denryoku) of Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, has returned home to prepare for Beijing. On May 19th Sato arrived at Bandaihibara Kohan in Kita Shiobaramura, Fukushima, for an intensive training camp. "It`s time to get ready for this marathon. I thought that looking at Bandaihibara Kohan`s beauty would help inspire me to make a clean start," Sato smiled.

Sato`s training camp runs from the 19th through the end of the month. He previously trained in Bandaihibara Kohan while preparing for last December`s Fukuoka International Marathon, where he qualified for the Olympics. "I have a good feeling about this place," Sato said of the area as a marathon training ground.

Bandaihibara Kohan is situated at 850 m elevation. "I saw the Beijing course last month. It`s not as easy as I expected and has a fair amount of up and down, so it`s going to be important to have built up a lot of strength for this one," Sato commented. Besides training, Sato will be enjoying horseback riding and eating many of his favorite local delicacies.

Following Fukushima, he will be doing further altitude training in Niigata before running the Sapporo International Half Marathon on June 15.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Olympic Marathon Champion Mizuki Noguchi Runs Anchor Leg on 4x400 m Team at Kansai Jitsugyodan Championships

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008051800123
http://beijing2008.nikkansports.com/athletics/f-sp-tp0-20080518-361526.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Running for two-time defending champions Team Sysmex, Beijing Olympic marathon team leader Mizuki Noguchi ran the anchor leg of the 4 x 400 m relay on May 18 at the Kansai Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships in Hyogo. Noguchi received the baton in 5th place but, despite being an Olympic marathon gold medalist and ekiden ace, was unable to pass even a single runner and came home in 5th.

For Noguchi, who turns 30 on July 3rd, this was the last race she will run in her 20`s. "I did what I could," commented Noguchi afterwards. "It goes without saying that the 400 m is a speed race, so it was pretty tough. I did kind of want to end [my 20`s] with a little stronger performance than this, but I feel freed now to put all my focus into my marathon preparations." Asked for her opinion of marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe`s current injury troubles, Noguchi replied, "She is the kind of woman who can do anything."

Noguchi leaves for her high-altitude training camp in Sugadaira, Nagano on May 20 to begin her final training for Beijing.

Mekubo Mogusu Sets Olympic A-Standard 10000 m Meet Record at Kanto University Track and Field Championships (updated)

by Brett Larner


Click image for complete video footage.

On May 18 at Tokyo`s National Stadium, Yamanashi Gakuin University senior Mekubo Mogusu ran a sensational 25 second PB to win the Kanto University Track and Field Championships men`s 10000 m in a meet-record time of 27:27.64. Mogusu`s time cleared the Olympic A-standard by a wide margin and established him as the 3rd-fastest man in the world so far this year behind fellow Japan-based Kenyans Josephat Muchiri Ndambiri and Gideon Ngatuny.

After a fast first lap Mogusu took the lead just before the 400 m point, followed only by Nihon University sophomore Daniel Gitau. Despite having a PB of 27:44.73 compared to Mogusu`s 27:52.79, Gitau remained in the trailing position for almost the entire race. The large field of top Japanese university runners made no attempt to follow. Juntendo University`s Hiroyuki Ono, famous for collapsing during this year`s Hakone Ekiden, took turns leading the pack with Komazawa University ace Tsuyoshi Ugata and Toyo University`s star recruit, first-year Ryuji Kashiwabara. Mogusu and Gitau lapped the first of the Japanese runners after less than 5 km and quickly reeled in the rest of the field. Gitau made a brief move to take the lead during the 7th kilometer, but Mogusu refused to relinquish his position.

When the two Kenyans overtook the large chase pack the Japanese runners quickly split into two parts, one group of seven which tried to match Mogusu`s pace and another which simply solidered on. Mogusu responded by accelerating, dropping all pursuers including Gitau. As with almost all his performances in Japan, including three sub-1 hour half marathons last year, Mogusu ran the rest of the race alone, apart from occasional company provided by runners being lapped for the second time who tried to go with him. The outcome was never in doubt. Gitau, while far off his PB, also managed to squeeze under the 28 minute mark, finishing in 27:59.05.


Toyo Univ. 1st-yr. Ryuji Kashiwabara outkicks three Komazawa Univ. runners.

Further back, the race for 3rd intensified as Ono, Ugachi and Kashiwabara were passed by Ugachi`s Komazawa teammates Takuya Fukazu and Sota Hoshi. Kashiwabara, one of the top high school runners in Japan last year, showed that he will be one of the major new faces on the university scene this year by coming back in the last 200 m to beat out his more experienced rivals.

The Kanto University Track and Field Championships continue next weekend. Mogusu is expected to defend his title in the half marathon, which he won last year in course-record time.

Results
1. Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.): 27:27.64 - meet record, Olympic A-standard
(splits: 2:41-2:42-2:44-2:45-2:47-2:44-2:46-2:45-2:50-2:44)
2. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.): 27:59.05
3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.): 28:44.42
4. Takuya Fukazu (Komazawa Univ.): 28:44.73
5. Sota Hoshi (Komazawa Univ.): 28:46.26
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.): 28:46.48
7. Kendai Mori (Nittai Univ.): 28:49.52
8. Kazuyuki Ito (Josai Univ.): 28:50.17
9. Hiroyuki Ono (Juntendo Univ.): 28:5*.**


The B-group race saw a major pileup after 1200 m. Click the image for complete video footage of the B-group race.

Also click here for footage of the decathlon 1500 m Group A and Group B races.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Inagaki Breaks Own World Record in 48-hr. Ultramarathon (updated)

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/news/20080519k0000e050087000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

Sumie Inagaki of Aichi Prefecture broke her own world record to win the women`s race at the 2008 Surgeres 48-Hour Ultramarathon. Held in Surgeres, France from May 16th to 18th, the Surgeres Ultra features a loop course 300 m in length. Inagaki set a new world record of 382.718 km to take 1st. Masae Kamura of Tokyo was 3rd.

Ryoichi Sekiya of Kanagawa Prefecture likewise won the men`s competition, running 401.416 km to take the top spot. Last year`s winner Masayuki Otaki of Tokyo was 6th. This year`s event was the 23rd running of the Surgeres Ultra, making it one of the world`s great races.

JRN reader Jaris sent a link to complete Surgeres results: http://www.48heures-surgeres.net/archive/2008/05/13/pointage_live_2008?hour=48

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Samuel Wanjiru Sets Meet Record in Kyushu Jitsugyodan Championships 10000 m While Pacemaking Teammate Yu Mitsuya

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/item/23243

translated by Brett Larner

The men`s and women`s 10000 m events were held on the first day of the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, May 17 at Sayagatani Field in Kitakyushu, Kyushu Prefecture. The men`s race was won in a meet record time of 27:56.79 by Team Toyota Kyushu`s Samuel Wanjiru, who will compete in the Beijing Olympics as part of the Kenyan marathon team. 0.07 seconds behind Wanjiru in 2nd place was Athens Olympics 10000 m competitor Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei). Ono`s time met the Olympic B-standard of 28:10.00 but was not sufficient to meet the 27:50.00 Olympic A-standard. 3rd place finisher Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), who ran the 5000 m at the Osaka World Championships, likewise made the Olympic B-standard with his time of 28:05.45. Osaka World Championships 10000 m competitor Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudendo) was a disappointing 7th in 28:26.04. Pauline Wanguru (Team Kyudenko) won the women`s race in 32:10.86.

Ono collapsed upon finishing. His time met the Olympic-B standard but failed to match his goal of an Olympic A-standard. "I couldn`t do it. I`m crushed," he muttered dejectedly shortly after the race. Nevertheless, he later returned to brighter spirits; his time was a new PB and the first time he has broken 28 minutes since setting his old PB in qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics. He has been plagued by anemia and a series of injuries since Athens, but his marriage last year and the birth of his daughter in January have added new motivation to his running. "I feel that I have more responsibility to perform well now that I have a family to support," Ono explained. "It`s helped me to train with more discipline." To make another attempt on the Olympic A-standard, Ono said he plans to run in the Niigata Time Trial meet on June 1.

Mitsuya was also targeting the Olympic A-standard and started off at the pace set by his teammate Wanjiru. Together with Ono they ran consistent 67-second laps, a pace Mitsuya afterwards dismissed as "too slow." After only 6000 m, however, Mitsuya was unable to keep with Wanjiru`s pacemaking and began to drift back, lagging 30 m behind at 8000 m. Wanjiru abandoned Ono to drop back to Mitsuya, then returned to the front to take the victory. Mitsuya, running his first track race of the season, was unsatisfied with his B-standard performance. "My stamina was OK today, but I didn`t have any speed or guts." Like Ono, he will try for the Olympic A-standard again in Niigata next month.

Sato 2nd, Ogata 5th in Central Japan Jitsugyodan Championships 10000 m

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200805180258.html

translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

On the 2nd day of the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, held May 17th at Miyoshi Sports Park in Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Joseph Gitau of Team JFE Steel won the men`s 10000 m in a time of 28:16.07. Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team members Atsushi Sato and Tsuyoshi Ogata, both of Team Chugoku Denryoku, also ran. Sato was 2nd in 28:16.94, while Ogata was 5th in 28:51.59.

Team Uniqlo`s Danielle Filomena won the women`s 10000 m in 32:38.66, completing a successful double after winning last week`s 5000 m. Ruriko Kubo of Team Deodeo set a new meet record of 57.63 in the women`s 400 m.

While Ogata was content to run with a relaxed pitch at the head of the second pack, Atsushi Sato was again aggressive. As in his winning run in last week`s 5000 m, Sato led from the start together with Gitau. Although Sato claims his fitness is only at about 60%, he ran with high pace and quickly opened a large gap on the second pack. Gitau only escaped from Sato`s control in the very last moment of the final sprint, beating him to the line by less than one second. "After this comes the last push to the Beijing Marathon," commented Sato in eager anticipation of this summer`s Olympic race.

Ogata, who ran poorly in the 5000 m, showed better form today. He ran with the steady, light rhythm familiar in his marathoning, coming 5th overall. "It could have been better," said Ogata, "but although it was less than ideal I think I did well." His 4th track race since April, Ogata found something solid in his performance in Miyoshi.

Looking toward the prospect of a mid-summer marathon, Team Chugoku Denryoku coach Yasushi Sakaguchi gave his views after the race. "Both of them did well, but unless they have a fountain of stamina they won`t be able to compete in Beijing." After sharpening their speed at these championships, Chugoku Denryoku`s two Olympic marathoners leave May 19 for their full marathon training camp.

Kenyans displayed their domination by winning both the men`s and women`s 10000 m races. Both winners were first time victors at the Chugoku Jitsugyodan championships. Men`s winner Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) won with a razor-sharp last spurt. Speaking of losing to Sato in the 5000 m by a slim margin, Gitau said, "I was very disappointed, so I really didn`t want it to happen again today." He got his revenge.

Women`s winner Danielle Filomena (Team Uniqlo) dropped Beijing Olympics marathon team alternate Tomo Morimoto to score a runaway victory. In June she plans to return to Kenya for her home country`s Olympic trials. "I think the Olympics are within my reach and I want to do my best," Filomena told reporters.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tokyo Marathon Adds Prize Money to Attract Top Runners

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080515-00000930-san-spo

translated by Brett Larner

Drawing 30,000 runners to the streets of Tokyo, the Tokyo Marathon is set to become the first large race in Japan to offer significant prize money to top-placing elite runners. On May 14 the race`s organizing committee announced tentative plans for the addition of prize money to next year`s Tokyo Marathon in March in order to attract bigger-name overseas athletes and to reward them on a par with IAAF gold-label race standards. The move comes as Tokyo prepares its bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. Final confirmation of the planned changes is expected in June.

Last year the IAAF released a worldwide rating of road races, with 12 major events such as the London and New York marathons receiving the highest label `gold.` The Tokyo Marathon received only a `silver` rating. The IAAF standards for a gold rating include international television broadcast in at least 5 countries as well as both elite men`s and women`s fields. While New York is broadcast in 50 countries, the Tokyo Marathon`s domestic-only broadcast has contributed to low interest levels among international media.

Because Tokyo is a selection race for the Olympics and World Championships, the men`s field to date has included both world-class foreign and domestic athletes. However, the women`s field has not yet included runners of the same caliber. As Tokyo moves forward with preparations for its 2016 Olympic bid, the Tokyo Marathon has recognized the need to bring itself up to the standards necessary to make it a truly top-class international event.

Among IAAF gold-label events, the New York City Marathon offers 1st-place prize money of $130,000, while the London Marathon offers winners $55,000. The Tokyo Marathon intends from now on to offer comparable prize purses.

With 30,000 runners, the Tokyo Marathon is the largest marathon in Asia. 156,000 people applied for this year`s race. Next year running will be the event`s 3rd running. The course offers a tour of many of Tokyo`s noteworthy areas, including Ginza and Asakusa, and is an excellent course for top runners targeting a fast time.

Kiyoko Shimahara Training in Albuquerque to Prepare for Chicago

by Brett Larner

JRN reader John Schrup reports that 2007 Osaka World Championships women`s marathon 6th place finisher and 2006 Asia Games women`s marathon silver medalist Kiyoko Shimahara is in Albuquerque, New Mexico for altitude training with Second Wind AC. Shimahara is a talented heat runner but was not selected for the Beijing Olympics team. Schrup reports that Shimahara is preparing for this year`s Chicago Marathon and came to his running shop during a break in training.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Noguchi and Njoroge Win Sendai International Half Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner

Athens Olympic marathon gold medalist and Japanese marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) successfully defended her title at the Sendai International Half Marathon on May 11, running 1:08:25 to beat her time from last year`s race by 29 seconds and erase doubts about her fitness level after a spring filled with minor setbacks. The Sendai course, which features a 35 m elevation gain over the final 9 km, played to Noguchi`s strengths as she employed a similar strategy to that she used in winning last November`s Tokyo International Women`s Marathon.

Noguchi went out hard, running course record pace through 15 km despite the cold, rainy conditions which blanketed most of Japan over the weekend. Despited dropping off record pace, she applied pressure on rival Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) of Kenya over the length of the uphill, finally breaking away with an attack around 20 km. Mombi held on to finish 2nd in 1:08:31, a sizeable PB over her previous best mark of 1:09:34 from this past January. The rest of the field was far behind, with 3rd place finisher Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) coming to the goal in 1:11:44.

Noguchi told reporters after the race that she was very pleased with her result and what it means for Beijing. She said her body felt strong and that she is now highly confident for the Olympics.

In the men`s race, Team Komori Corp.`s young ringer Harun Njoroge captured a tight competition, winning in 1:01:55 while rookie Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) ran a massive 3:34 personal best to take 2nd in 1:02:00. It was a near-replay of Njoroge`s victory in February`s Marugame Half Marathon, where he won by a narrow margin in cold and rainy conditions despite moving to Japan only days before.

Half marathon ace Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko) and Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was close behind Njoroge and Nakao, finishing in 1:02:05 and 1:02:08 respectively. 12 more runners recorded times under 1:03 including marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka who was 9th in 1:02:32. Defending champion Onbeche Mokamba was 32nd with a time of 1:04:44.

Top Results

Women
1. Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex): 1:08:25
2. Julia Mombi (Team Aruze): 1:08:31 PB
3. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon): 1:11:44
4. Mikiko Hara (Team Nihon ChemiCon): 1:12:38
5. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon): 1:13:26
6. Mai Tagami (Team Aruze): 1:14:47
7. Mizuho Kishi (Team Yamada Denki): 1:15:02 PB
8. Tomomi Higuchi (Team Daihatsu): 1:15:06
9. Miki Oka (Team Daihatsu): 1:15:55
10. Saki Matsumoto (Ritsumeikan University): 1:17:30

Men
1. Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.): 1:01:55
2. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku): 1:02:00 PB
3. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko): 1:02:05
4. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 1:02:08 PB
5. Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica-Minolta): 1:02:23
6. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR East): 1:02:26 PB
7. Takahiro Kitagawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 1:02:28 PB
8. Yuki Abe (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki): 1:02:28 PB
9. Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo): 1:02:32
10. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica-Minolta): 1:02:39

Complete men`s and women`s results are available from the Sendai International Half Marathon website.

The IAAF`s report on Sendai is here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Atsushi Sato Wins Men`s 5000 m at Central Japan Jitsugyodan Championships Day 1

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200805110093.html

translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

The men`s and women`s 5000 m were the feature events on Day 1 of the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships at Miyoshi Sports Park`s track and field grounds in Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture. Beijing Olympics men`s marathon team member Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) won the event for the first time, clocking a 13:47.13 result. Sato`s fellow Beijing men`s marathon team member Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) ran 14:15.14 to finish 20th.

In the women`s race, Danielle Filomena (Team Uniqlo) won in a meet record time of 15:38.83. Beijing women`s marathon team member Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) was 2nd in 15:51.06. The championship meet continues May 17.

Atsushi Sato ran the men`s 5000 m "according to plan." He tried to hang on to the high-pace Africans in the race, saving himself and breaking away in the last stages of the race. Sato`s first track race of the season was an excellent rehearsal for the strategy he plans to use in the Beijing Olympic marathon. He was the only Japanese runner who went with Kenyans Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) and Peter Kariuki, who recently transferred from Team Suzuki to Team Mazda. "Finding my rhythm was the same as in the marathon," said Sato. He was patient once he found his rhythm, not making a move until his brave spurt with one lap left to go in the race. "At the end I was only thinking about winning." Sato beat Gitau by a narrow margin, just outleaning him at the line.

After confirming his Olympic spot at last December`s Fukuoka International Marathon, Sato concentrated on improving his speed over 10000 m, intending to target the Japanese national record of 27:35.09 this season. However, he was unwell during the spring and changed his plan. "After focusing on getting rid of my fatigue, I could concentrate on my base training." Sato is now on the way to building up his fitness again with positive thinking.

Following the race, Sato commented, "I felt light while cooling down," confirming that his body is ready to run the 10000 m on May 17th. "Next time I`d like to lead the race and take the initiative." Such a race will be one more rehearsal of a possible strategy for this summer`s main event.

Tsuyoshi Ogata and Yurika Nakamura`s results in their races showed that they still have room for improvement in their preparations for the Beijing Olympic marathons. Ogata was lacking speed right from the start of the men`s 5000 m, finishing nearly 30 seconds behind his teammate Sato. "I had a target for how far I`d be able to go with Sato, but I really didn`t have it today. I was running this race in marathon mode," he told reporters, his disappointment evident on his face. Nakamura was likewise unsatisfied with her result, slower than the pace of the 31:31.95 PB she set for 10000 m just 2 weeks ago. "Since I had a good result in the 10000 m recently I was a bit too complacent and out of focus. I have to get my concentration back." Nakamura will run the women`s 3000 m on May 18th.

Translator`s note: The men`s and women`s 5000 m at the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Championships took place in cold, windy, heavily rainy conditions.

Osaka Officials Once Again Misdirect Competitors

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20080510-00000942-san-spo

translated by Brett Larner

Officials at the Osaka Grand Prix misdirected competitors in the men`s 1600 m relay. The American and Portuguese teams were already on their 2nd leg when it was discovered that they had been directed to a handoff zone 10 m past the actual zone. Japan`s 2nd leg runner Takumi Kanemaru (Hosei University) was not directed to this incorrect starting zone but followed the other two countries` runners while on standby. Consequently, 1st stage runner Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba University) was forced to run 410 m.

The error is an unwelcome reminder of last year`s Osaka World Championships, where officials in the men`s 50 km racewalk misdirected Yuki Yamazaki (Team Hasegawa). Kanemaru analyzed the incident by saying, "It meant less work for me," but Junji Karube, the head of Japan Rikuren`s short distance division, was more serious. "The runners themselves may have been partly responsible, but this is a grave incident because it happened in Osaka again."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Typhoon Slows Osaka Grand Prix

by Brett Larner

An early-season typhoon brought cold, windy, rainy conditions to this year`s Osaka Grand Prix meet, causing weak results among competitors in all events.

In the most anticipated event of the meet, women`s 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi easily defeated her rivals to win but missed her goal of an Olympic qualifying time. Kobayashi started well, leading the chase back a few meters behind leaders Sonja Roman of Slovakia and Lisa Corrigan of Australia. The two leaders hit 400 m in 64', with Kobayashi tying her national record split of 65' for the first lap. She spent the 2nd lap bridging the gap to the leaders, still on national record pace at 800 m with a 69' second lap.

In the 3rd lap Kobayashi made a move to take the lead but abruptly pulled back into the 1st lane to sit behind Roman and Corrigan, missing her chance to go after her goal time. The three runners hit 1100 m in 3:06, making even an Olympic B-standard 4:08 highly unlikely, then clocked 70` for the 3rd lap. With 200 m to go Kobayashi went past Corrigan, then with 30 m to go outkicked Roman to win in 4:13.96, slower than her 2nd place time at last week`s Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University. Roman held on to 2nd with a 4:14.24, while Corrigan was 3rd in 4:14.44.

In her post-race victory interview Kobayashi expressed disappointment in her time, saying she didn`t feel good in the poor conditions and promising to try again for an Olympic qualifying time. Her national record of 4:07.86 barely brings her under the B-standard 4:08, but Kobayashi already holds an A-standard qualifying time in the 5000 m and thus will likely be in Beijing this August one way or another.

For complete results, visit the Osaka Grand Prix site here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

3 Olympic Marathoners to Run in Central Japan Jitsugyodan Championships

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn200805090039.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Chugoku Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships take place May 10 in Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture at Miyoshi Sports Park`s track and field grounds. 3 men and women from the Beijing Olympic marathon team are scheduled to take part, namely male runners Tsuyoshi Ogata and Atsushi Sato (both of Team Chugoku Denryoku) and female runner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya).

All three athletes will run the 5000 m on the 10th. On May 17th Ogata and Sato will compete in the men`s 10000 m, while Nakamura intends to run the women`s 3000 m on May 18th. The three Olympians are focusing on speedwork at this phase of their training for the Olympic marathon in August.

A complete timetable and list of entrants is available here.

Noguchi, Takaoka, Fujiwara and Njoroge to Compete in Sendai International Half Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner

On May 8, the Sendai International Half Marathon released the names of the invited runners for this year`s 18th edition, to be held May 11 in Sendai. Headlining the field are Japanese national marathon record holders Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo).

Noguchi will be using Sendai as a tune-up for the Beijing Olympics after a spring season which saw her drop out of her other preparatory races after a series of minor setbacks. She is the defending champion, having won last year`s Sendai in a strong 1:08:54, and is also the overwhelming favorite in a somewhat limited women`s field which includes only one other Japanese runner with a PB under 1:10. Her strongest competition will likely come from Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon), a member of Japan`s team at last year`s World Road Running Championships, and Kei Terada (Team Tenmaya), 2nd place finisher at last year`s Universiad Half Marathon Championships. Machida`s teammate Hiroko Shoi also has potential for a good showing.

Takaoka comes to Sendai a month after finishing 16th in the Paris Marathon. The half marathon is the only standard distance from 3000 m to full marathon in which Takaoka has never been the national record holder, but he still holds one of the fastest PBs in the field. He will, however, face a difficult challenge in Sendai from many of the younger runners. Potential winners include defending champion Ombeche Mokamba (Team Aidem), Kenyans Harun Njoroge (Team Komori) and Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica-Minolta), who finished 1-2 at February`s Marugame Half Marathon, Arata Fujiwara (Team JR East), a half marathon specialist who finished 2nd at February`s Tokyo Marathon, Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Special Steel), the 2nd place finisher at March`s Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships, and Masaki Shimojo (Team Konica-Minolta), winner of February`s Kumanichi 30 km Road Race.

Top competitors in Sendai:

Women
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), PB: 1:07:43 (2006)
Tomoko Tamamushi (Harriers AC), PB: 1:09:50 (2000)
Nozomi Iijima (Team Sekisui Kagaku), PB: 1:10:40 (2003)
Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon), PB: 1:11:55 (2007)
Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon), PB: 1:12:22 (2008)
Kei Terada (Team Tenmaya), PB: 1:12:37 (2007)
Seyo Hayakawa (Team Sekisui Kagaku), PB: 1:14:22 (2008)
Chiyuki Mochizuki (Team Yamada Denki), PB: 1:15:26 (2005)
Kozue Saito (Team Sports Yamagata 21), PB: 1:15:34 (2007)
Saori Hieda (Bukkyo University), PB: 1:16:28 (2007)
Megumi Oshima (Team Shimamura), PB (marathon): 2:24:25 (2005)
Mizuho Kishi (Team Yamada Denki), PB (5000 m): 17:42.68

Men
Masatoshi Ibata (Team Aisan Kogyo), PB: 1:00:55 (1996)
Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo), PB: 1:01:07 (2003)
Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Special Steel), PB: 1:01:30 (2001)
Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.), PB: 1:01:35 (2008)
Toshihiro Iwasa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), PB: 1:01:36 (2005)
Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica-Minolta), PB: 1:01:39 (2008)
Tetsuo Nishikawa (Team YKK), PB: 1:01:48 (2001)
Ombeche Mokamba (Team Aidem), PB: 1:02:29 (2007)
Arata Fujiwara (Team JR East), PB: 1:02:17 (2006)
Seiji Kobayashi (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), PB: 1:02:44 (2007)
Masaki Shimojo (Team Konica-Minolta), PB (30 km): 1:30:33 (2008)
Hideyuki Obinata (Team Fujitsu), PB (marathon): 2:08:52 (2001)

A complete listing of the inivted athletes for this year's Sendai Half can be found at:

http://www.sendaihalf.com/jp/history/18-2008athletes/

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, May 9, 2008

Terumi Asoshina Returns from Retirement to a New Career in the Marathon With Team Toyota Shatai

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/chuspo/article/sports/news/CK2008050302008460.html

translated by Brett Larner

A great new hope joined Team Toyota Shatai in April. Holding a spot in the Japanese women`s 10000 m all-time top 10 is Terumi Asoshina (25). Asoshina grabbed attention as a hope for the future when she won the 2005 All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon, but an imbalance in her form resulted in a general weakening of condition and loss of motivation which forced her to quit Team Kyocera in February last year. Despite losing her passion at the time, Asoshina explains, "I decided I didn`t want to quit running just because I wasn`t enjoying it." After a period of rest and renewal, she found a chance for a new start with the Ominami twins at Team Toyota Shatai. Planning a career in the marathon, Asoshina has once again found joy in running and is aiming for a rebirth. "I`m truly grateful. My running isn`t finished yet, but still, to get another chance to enter a team....."

Asoshina has long been hailed as one of the next generation of world-class long-distance runners. She won the All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon in March `05, then in April the same year she clocked a mark of 31:23.55 to join the all-time top 10 Japanese women in the 10000 m. However, in her debut marathon in the following January`s Osaka International Women`s Marathon, she was poorly prepared and dropped out partway through the race. Since then something has been out of gear in her running. "For some reason," she says, "I stopped being able to put my full weight on my left leg. It didn`t hurt, but my balance always being off made practice really draining."

Asoshina knew something was wrong but couldn`t identify the source and compensated by training with crazed focus and intensity. At the 2006 National Track and Field Championships her performances were disappointingly slow. She began to worry that she was going astray. Bit by bit Asoshina lost the feeling that running had any value in her life. In February 2007 she quit Team Kyocera and returned home to her parents` house in Kumamoto. "I thought that if I got away for a while I might be able to get myself back together," said Asoshina, but being home wasn`t what she hoped. Training alone, she put on 6 kg. Gradually Asoshina found that although she had been serious about her retirement, the sound of her true feelings was beginning to come through. "I didn`t want to quit running just because I wasn`t enjoying it. Quitting would be easy, but if I did it this way I`d always regret it."

After a one year blank in her life, Asoshina found understanding intervention in the person of the Ominami sisters, who introduced her to their team Toyota Shatai. She is now working to restore her delicate sense of balance. Team Toyota Shatai coach Masahiko Takahashi commented, "She`s very talented. Her running will come back." Asoshina now practices in Aichi. If she can smoothly handle her coach`s training menu she will try running in the team`s time trials in June and July. "Right now I`m content, but I`d like to try again sometime in the marathon." From the depths of burnout, Asoshina found new value in running. Her "second running life" will now continue on until the goal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Liu, Asahara, Kobayashi and More on the Schedule for Osaka Grand Prix

by Brett Larner

An international field including famed Chinese 110 m hurdler Xian Liu, Helsinki World Championships 400 m hurdler silver medalist James Carter of U.S.A., Paris and Edmonton World Championships 100 m bronze medalist Chandra Stirrup of Bahamas, and Helsinki World Championships 400 m bronze medalist Christine Amertil, also of Bahamas, will take part in the IAAF Japan Grand Prix in Osaka this Saturday, May 10.

Hosts Japan will field a team including star sprinter Nobuharu Asahara, top hurdler Dai Tamesue, women`s 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi, and women`s long jump national record holder Kumiko Ikeda. Athens Olympics discus gold medalist Koji Murofuji will be appearing as an honorary participant.

Of particular interest to distance running enthusiasts will be the appearance in the men`s 1500 m of former Hakone Ekiden stars Yuichiro Ueno, formerly of Chuo University and now running for Team SB Shokuhin, and Yuki Matsuoka, formerly with 2007 Hakone winners Juntendo University and now running for Team Otsuka Seiyaku. Both runners graduated in March and debuted as professionals last month. Also listed to start in the 1500 m is Team Chugoku Denryoku's Yasuhiro Tago, who suffered injuries after falling and being trampled by a number of runners in the 1500 m at last Sunday`s Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University.

The Osaka Grand Prix will be broadcast nationwide and commercial-free on NHK starting at 3:05 p.m. A complete list of entrants is available at: http://www.osaka-sports.gr.jp/events2/gp2008/2008gp_athlete.html

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, May 5, 2008

Matsumiya Gets Olympic A-Standard, Kobayashi 2nd in Stanford Cardinal Invitational

by Brett Larner
photos by Randy Miyazaki - used with permission

Takayuki Matsumiya and Satoshi Irifune at Stanford

5000 m national record and 30 km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya of Team Konica-Minolta ran a sensational 9-second PB to finish 4th in the men`s Kim McDonald memorial 10000 m at the 2008 Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational track meet at Stanford University. Running comfortably back in the pack for the first third of the race, Matsumiya soon moved up to join the leaders and held his position in the top 5 until the final km. With two laps to go he made a move to catch breakaway leader Craig Mottram of Australia, passing the other members of the lead pack to move into second place. Just after taking the second spot, Matsumiya abruptly tightened and slowed, missing his chance to break Toshinari Takaoka`s 27:35.09 Japanese national record, set at the Cardinal Invitational in 2001. Matsumiya nevertheless held on for 4th in 27:41.75, a 9-second PB and well under the Olympic A-standard of 27:50.



Sato Yuki dropping out in Stanford

Satoshi Irifune of Team Kanebo finished 9th in 27:56.33, just missing both his PB and the Olympic A-standard but clearing the B-standard of 28:10. His time was 36 seconds faster than at last week`s Hyogo Relay Carnival and puts Irifune in a good position to make the Japanese Olympic team. The third Japanese runner with a PB under 28 minutes, Tokai University`s Yuki Sato, started aggressively near the front of the pack but soon faded and eventually dropped out of the race.


Yuriko Kobayashi at Stanford

In the women`s 1500 m, national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi ran a strong tactical race to finish 2nd. Second to last during the first lap, Kobayashi moved up during the 2nd lap to lead the chase pack behind a breakaway group of 3 runners. She spent the 3rd lap bridging the gap to the leaders but was too late to catch eventual winner Shannon Rowbury before Rowbury`s final kick. Kobayashi outran the other 2 frontrunners to finish in 4:12.11, well off her national record of 4:07.86 and short of the Olympic A and B standards but a solid placing against strong competition.


Hiromi Ominami at Stanford

Full results are here.

Japanese results (click event for video courtesy of flotrack.org):

Men`s 800 m - Heat 3
Taiki Tsutsumi (Team Acom): 1:52.56 (4th)

Men`s 1500 m - Heat 2
Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku): DNF

Men`s Kim McDonald 10000 m
Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta): 27:41.75 (4th) - PB, Olympic A-standard
Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo): 27:56.33 (9th) - Olympic B-standard
Yuki Nakamura (Team Kanebo): 28:30.99 (14th)
Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda): 28:34:31 (20th)
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku): 28:48.21 (22nd)
Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku): 29:03.98 (24th)
Yuki Sato (Tokai University): DNF

Women`s 800 - Heat 1
Akari Kishikawa (Team Noritz): 2:13.58 (10th)

Women`s 1500 m - Heat 1
Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki): 4:12.11 (2nd)
Nanae Kuwashiro (Team Acom): 4:17.30 (9th)

Women`s 3000 SC - Heat 1
Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Noritz): 10:14.71 (11th)

Women`s 5000 m - Heat 2
Korei Omata (Team Acom): 16:26.86 (9th)

Women`s Kim McDonald 10000 m
Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai): 32:17.48 (13th)- Olympic B-standard

Women`s 10000 m - Heat 2
Takami Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai): 33:27.46 (6th)

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, May 2, 2008

Takayuki Matsumiya, Yuriko Kobayashi, Yuki Sato and Hideaki Date to Run in Stanford (updated)

by Brett Larner

5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta), women`s 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi, university star Yuki Sato (Tokai University) and Sato`s former teammate Hideaki Date, making his professional debut with Team Chugoku Denryoku, are scheduled to headline the Japanese contingent at the May 4 Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University. Stanford has historically been an important meet for Japanese runners, with marks including Toshinari Takaoka`s 10000 m national record set at the meet.

Japanese entrants by event:

Men`s 800 - Heat 3
Taiki Tsutsumi (Team Acom), PB: 1:49.22

Men`s 1500 - Heat 2
Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku), PB: 3:40.36

Men`s 10000 - Heat 1
Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta), PB: 27:50.20
Yuki Sato (Tokai University), PB: 27:51.65
Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo), PB: 27:53.92
Yuki Nakamura (Team Kanebo), PB: 28:12.37
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku), PB: 28:15.52
Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda), PB: 28:18.30
Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku), PB: 28:21.32

Women`s 800 - Heat 1
Akari Kishikawa (Team Noritz), PB: 2:04.62

Women`s 1500 - Heat 1
Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), PB: 4:07.86 (NR)
Nanae Kuwashiro (Team Acom), PB: 4:14.05

Women`s 3000 SC - Heat 1
Yoshika Tatsumi (Team Noritz), PB: 9:57.02

Women`s 5000 - Heat 2
Korei Omata (Team Acom), PB: 16:14.09

Women`s 10000 - Heat 1
Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai), PB: 31:35.18

Women`s 10000 - Heat 2
Takami Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai), PB: 32:17.19


A complete list of entrants for all events is available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Reiko Tosa Returns to Boulder Training Camp After 7 Years

http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2008/05/01/0000996944.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women`s marathon team member Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) left Narita Airport on May 1 for a high-altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado. "My preparations start with this camp," Tosa told reporters. "I`m going to be training very hard." She will return to Japan on June 4.

Tosa last trained in Boulder while preparing for the 2001 Edmonton World Championships where she won a silver in the marathon. Tosa first visited Boulder in 1999 as a training partner for some of her teammates, and rapidly improved while training there. Last year she did most of her training in Kunming, China, but, as she explained, "I`ve always had a good image of Boulder because of how much faster I`ve gotten there in the past."

3 days before leaving Tosa had the dental braces she has worn since the spring of `05 removed. Tosa got the braces on the recommendation of her husband, Keiichi Murai, who said they would help her performance. Her fresh new smile has yielded the planned side benefits. "When I had the braces I was always a little off-balance. Now that they`re off I`m standing up straighter and running better." Her renewal comes just in time as Tosa prepares to run her second Olympics.