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Kashiwabara and Nishihara Win Final Kyoto City Half Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In the 16th and final running of the Kyoto City Half Marathon on Mar. 8, the Hakone Ekiden's 'New God of the Mountain,' first-year Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) won his half marathon debut in 1:03:16. Although he beat 2008 World Half Marathon national team member Kazuo Ietani (31, Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), Kashiwabara had a mature view of his performance, saying, "I can't let myself be satisfied with a run like this."

In the women's race, Kyoto native Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) took over two minutes of her PB to win the women's race in 1:11:58. A pack of three stayed together until the final 5 km, when Nishihara attacked and dropped her two competitors. Yumi Sato (Team Shiseido) came second, with Chizuru Ideta (Bukkyo Univ.) finishing 3rd. Susumu Kangawa set a new course record of 11:02 in the 5 km wheelchair race.

Kashiwabara became a national name when he set a new stage record on the Hakone Ekiden's uphill 5th leg in January. In his half marathon debut here in Kyoto he ran alone after 4 km, racking up a commanding 46 second lead over eventual runner-up Atsushi Yamazaki (Juntendo Univ.) by 15 km. In high school Kashiwabara never made it to Kyoto's National High School Ekiden, so, he told reporters, "I'm really happy that my high school dream [of winning in Kyoto] came true." In mid-Feb. Kashiwara has some discomfort in his right knee and was unable to fully train for Kyoto, resulting in a slower time than he had hoped for. "My legs got pretty heavy after 15 km," he commented.

Looking toward July's World Student Games in Serbia, Kashiwabara says, "I want to run track." He plans to run the 10000 m. In addition he will run April's Hyogo Relay Carnival track meet. "I want to be the kind of athlete who focuses on each race one at a time," he concludes.

This year's Kyoto City Half Marathon was the event's final running as main sponsor Rohm is withdrawing its support due to current economic troubles. In 2011 Kyoto will launch a new international full marathon on a course which will take in many of the city's most famous sights.


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JAAF Announces Last-Chance Olympic Marathon Standards: 2:05:49 and 2:22:22

We hereby announce the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon Team qualifying standards for the MGC Final Challenge.
men: 2:05:49
women: 2:22:22 These times are one second faster than the fastest times run by Japanese men and women within the MGC Race qualifying period. The fastest athlete under these standards at one of the MGC Final Challenge series races will earn the third and final spot on the Tokyo 2020 team following the two to be decided at September's MGC Race. MGC Final Challenge series races:
Men:73rd Fukuoka International MarathonTokyo Marathon 202075th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Women:5th Saitama International Marathon39th Osaka International Women's MarathonNagoya Women's Marathon 2020 For more information on the overall Tokyo 2020 Olympic team qualification process please click here.
The official MGC site:
source press release:
translated and edited by Brett Larner

10000 m National Championships Lead Weekend Action

It's a busy weekend on the track across the country. In long distance action the main event is Sunday's 10000 m national championships, held this year a month and a half before the rest of the National Track and Field Championships in an effort to help people produce better performances to maximize their world rankings points. The 10000 m will be held in Osaka's Nagai Stadium just after the Golden Grand Prix Osaka meet, which maxes out this time around with the 3000 m steeplechase.

22 women are entered in the 10000 m including 6 of the 7 who have cleared the 31:50.00 Doha World Championships standard and the only one who has cleared the 31:25.00 Tokyo Olympics standard. That would be the currently world-ranked #3 Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC), who lapped 2nd place the last time she ran Nationals back in 2013 en route to a still-standing championships record 31:06.67. #16-ranked Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post), jointly #22-ranked Kaori Morita (Panasonic) and Mizuki Matsuda (Daiha…

Weekend Track Highlights

The IAAF World Relays in Yokohama were the weekend's main track action, but the first round of regional corporate championships and a few other meets brought distance action across the country.

The women's 10000 m was the highlight at the Kansai Region Corporate Championships, with Wacoal teammates Yuka Ando and Mao Ichiyama recovering from decent runs at the London Marathon last month to go 1st and 5th, Ando the fastest in 32:43.18. Their fellow MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifier Madoka Nakano (Noritz) was 2nd in 32:50.18, doubling the next day in the 5000 m where she was 5th in 16:07.24. Former Hakone Ekiden rivals and now teammates at NTT Nishi Nihon, Kenyans Patrick Wambui and Dominic Nyairo went 1-2 in the men's 10000 m in 28:41.84 and 28:43.86. Ryota Motegi (Sumitomo Denko) just missed the meet record in the men's 1500 m, winning in 3:44.12.

At the Chubu Region Corporate Championships Kenyans Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and Macharia Ndirangu