Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tokyo's Olympic Bid in the Overseas Media

With two days to go until the selection of the host city for the 2016 Olympics here is a list of some interesting recent articles looking at Tokyo's bid from various overseas perspectives.

We Do Show Emotion, Says Tokyo Olympic Bid Chief - AFP: Olympic bid chair Ichiro Kono indirectly suggests cultural insensitivity by the IOC in its criticisms of Japan's bid committee as 'lacking emotional punch.'

Tokyo Hope [sic] Its Emphasis on a Green Games Will Help Deliver 2016 Olympics - Telegraph.co.uk: An essentially positive assessment of Tokyo's bid from an environmental perspective, but one which contends that the lack of a major celebrity pushing the bid will hurt Tokyo's chances.

Tokyo Olympic Bid and Hatoyama Risks Loosing [sic] His Credibility - The Seoul Times: A fascinating propaganda piece which uses Tokyo's Olympic bid to attack the xenophobia, racism and development policies of Tokyo mayor and principal Olympic (and Tokyo Marathon) backer Shintaro Ishihara, suggesting fledgling prime minister Yukio Hatoyama will become widely hated throughout Asia for giving his support to Ishihara by appearing in Copenhagen to push Tokyo's bid.

Tokyo Pushing Green Games in Olympics Bid - The Peninsula: A relatively balanced article from Qatar looking favorably at the environmental aspects of Tokyo's bid while at the same questioning their feasibility and relevance.

Tokyo's Chances Fade for 2016 Olympics - BusinessWeek: Polls from last February reportedly indicate only a 55% support level among Japanese citizens in contrast to more up-to-date data.

Tokyo 2016 Guarantees 'Unprecedented Legacy Promise for Humankind' - Sports Features Communications: A press release which says the support levels in Tokyo and Japan as a whole are 'unprecedented,' giving numbers far higher than the BusinessWeek piece.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yuri Kano and Mary Wittenberg Discuss Kano's New York Debut

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The New York Road Runners held a press conference at Tokyo's Conrad Hotel on Sept. 28 to formally announce the ING New York City Marathon debut of World Championships women's marathon 7th place finisher Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC). Kano, her coach Manabu Kawagoe and, via conference call, NYRR CEO and NYCM race director Mary Wittenberg took part in the press conference with JRN editors Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin serving as the interpreters between Wittenberg and Kano, Kawagoe, and the Japanese media. Below is a transcript of comments and responses.

For clarification of the questions regarding Second Wind AC, most Japanese teams are corporate-sponsored and exist largely removed from and invisible to the everyday world of amateur runners and running fans. Second Wind is trying to operate on a new model in which amateurs can run in the same club with elite athletes such as Kano and 2009 Hokkaido Marathon 1-2 finishers Kiyoko Shimahara and Akemi Ozaki, training with them and receiving coaching tips and advice while at the same time helping to support the elites who lack the funding provided by the corporate team structure. The Sept. 28 press conference took place just before a party to celebrate Kano, Shimahara and Ozaki's successes last month. Among those in attendance alongside the club's supporter members were other elite athletes and top Rikuren officials.


Wittenberg: I'm so glad to join you and to announce today that we are pleased to welcome to New York City for the 40th running of the ING New York City Marathon our best Japanese contender to win or stand on our podium in years. No Japanese man or woman has ever won the New York City Marathon. Today we announce a woman who is no stranger to the streets of New York City, having run three of our last four New York City Half Marathons and having run our New York Mini. She'll be celebrating her 31st birthday here in New York City during race week on October 27th. Today we welcome Yuri Kano back to New York City and to the ING New York City Marathon for the first time. We're so pleased to welcome Yuri back and we hope it's the beginning of a new generation of Japanese runners running in New York.

Q: Would you be able to tell us some of the competition Kano will be facing in New York this year?

Wittenberg: I sure can. We will have the top two finishers from Boston this year in their closest finish ever, Salina Kosgei and Dire Tune. We will have Lyudmila Petrova, a former champion of course, Tatiana Petrova, the winner of Los Angeles, and Christelle Daunay from France. It's a long list, but of course the athlete not yet announced who we're very hopeful will join is Paula Radcliffe. She is not signed yet but we are hopeful to say that soon.

Q: Ms. Kano, why did you decide to run the New York City Marathon and what is your target in the race?

Kano: The decision to do it had been made before I ran the World Championships. There wasn't really a special reason. People usually say it's hard to do another major race two months after a serious effort, but last year most of the top international women from the Beijing Olympics ran in New York, so I wanted to be in that circle too. I know the course is hard and it's not one where you can really focus on time, so instead of setting a time goal I'm looking to be at least in the top three.

Q: When you hear that there's a good chance Paula Radcliffe will run how does it affect your thinking about the race, and what kind of impression do you have of her?

Kano: I just want to see what it's like to run with her more than actually competing with her. When I think of Radcliffe I remember watching her at last year's New York. She looked like someone from another world. She went through the hills in the second half like they were nothing. I don't know how she can do that. It was amazing. To run like that every moment of her life must be dedicated to the marathon.

Q: In terms other than just her overall placing, Ms. Wittenberg, what kind of race would you like Kano to show to the people of New York City?

Wittenberg: In New York City we're famous for our fabulous finishes. In New York it's all about the race much more so than the time. We would like to see a great race to the finish among some of the top stars of the sport.

Q: When you invite overseas athletes do you usually do an international teleconference like this?

Wittenberg: We do it where we have a top athlete and where it's a country of great importance to us, and certainly that is the case in Japan. We have a great commitment to bring Japanese athletes here and as I said hopefully this is the beginning of doing that. I'd be very happy to get up very early or go to sleep very late to turn out the Japanese athletes. They'll appreciate that I'm going out for my morning run right after this [appr. 5:00 a.m. New York time - general laughter].

Q: It's been a month since the Berlin World Championships. What have you been doing since then, Ms. Kano?

Kano: I took two weeks easy after Berlin, then I've been getting my body used to training again over the last three weeks. If you let your body go too long it's hard to come back, so having the next goal already in sight helps you focus, make the best recovery and get back into training after a big race. Things are going really well right now.

Q: Coach Kawagoe, after the World Championships do you have a different view of Kano as an athlete than you did before?

Kawagoe: During the qualification period it wasn't clear until the very end whether Kano would be on the team, so she was feeling unstable and insecure the whole time. There was also some uncertainty because her physical condition wasn't very good and we weren't sure whether she'd be ready in time for the World Championships. We had some blood tests done and found that she had problems with anemia. That was the lowest point, but we did our best to work from there and she ended up 7th. I would say that's pretty good. There wasn't really enough time when she was in a condition to do the kind of training we wanted, so I can't help wonder what would have happened if she had been in the shape she was in at the Tokyo International Women's Marathon last year, for example. I'm sure she can be competitive against a top international field if she does the right training. World-level races these days are tricky. Sometimes they are strategic but often it's about pure speed like a track race. The quality of the field worldwide is getting higher and we want to be ready for Kano to perform in that kind of high-level race.

Q: New York will be just over two months after the World Championships. Back in the 70's doing that kind of thing was common, but these days it's unusual to race twice in such a short span. How is it going to be possible?

Kawagoe: Well, there are a lot more pro runners around these days, so from a business standpoint it makes sense to do it. At Second Wind we are following this worldwide trend, but we think about quality, not just quantity. For example, where many top athletes train up to 1200 km in a month, we barely do half of that. We pay attention to speedwork all the time and try to train in a way that doesn't damage the body. We do marathon training all year round, but we don't break the year up and say, "OK, this is when we are focusing on base mileage and this in when we are working on speed." Our athletes are ready to race at any time and we're constantly trying to raise the level at which this is possible. Since we're dealing with the human body it can't always take everything that's on the training plan, but doing it this way we can avoid major injuries and keep consistency. That's why two months isn't impossible.

Q: Where and what kind of training will Kano be doing to get ready for New York?

Kawagoe: As Kano said, she took about a week or two off after the World Championships and then built back up, so after just four or five weeks she's back to the point where she can train seriously again. On October 1st she's leaving for a month at our training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico to get ready. From there we plan to go straight to New York and race.

Q: What was the reaction among the Second Wind club supporters when you came back from the World Championships?

Kano: I came back on August 25th and there was a Second Wind practice session with all the supporter members that night, so I went there right after I arrived. I was a bit nervous about meeting everyone. Even though I felt good about things, at the same time inside I was feeling kind of disappointed with my performance so I wasn't sure how I should act. When I saw all the supporters, though, they were really happy and proud. I didn't feel as good about my race as they did, but seeing everyone around me so pleased and warm it made me feel like I can still compete at the world level.

Q: I heard that you raised quite a bit of money from your club supporters to help pay for your World Championships training. How do you feel about that?

Kano: When I heard about that I wasn't really expecting very much, and I actually doubted whether we'd be able to raise any money at all. Actually, though, there were a lot of people who weren't relatives of mine or anything who just said, "Good luck!" and sent some money. Way more than I expected, so again I feel like a lot of people helped me. Because of all this money I had the kind of feeling I think soccer or baseball players feel, where they're supported by fans and their supporter clubs. That's how I felt this time. Second Wind is not exactly like a soccer or baseball team, but it's getting more team spirit and dedicated fans supporting it, and I hope it keeps growing that way.

Q: With the World Championships behind you now, what do you see for yourself looking ahead over the long term to the London Olympics and beyond?

Kano: In terms of the selection process for the Olympic team, the best thing would be to get a medal at the next World Championships. Next year there's the Asian Games too. I want to run more races like that where the emphasis is on winning instead of just concentrating on fast times, and also the high-level races like New York where I can go against the best. Doing these kinds of races will give me the kind of career experience I want before London.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mwaniki and Nakasu Win Hakodate Half Marathon

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/191179.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 2009 Hakodate Half Marathon in Hakodate, Hokkaido on Sept. 27, Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica Minolta) ran the Rikuren-certified course in a time of 1:01:57 to take his third-straight win and become Hakodate's first-ever three-time winner. Mwaniki aggressively took the lead from the start, beating runner-up Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) by over two minutes.

Keiko Nakasu (Team Noritz) won the women's race in 1:17:12, her first win. Nakasu ran the race in a dead heat with last year's runner-up Mizuho Kishi (Team Yamada Denki) before dropping Kishi on the final loop of the track in Hakodate's Chiyoda Park stadium.

1768 people including 305 women started Hakodate's 19th edition race with 1711 reaching the finish, 294 of them women. Temperatures at the start were a warm 18.5 degrees.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kawasaki Sets National Record at Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Having moved up to the A-list Team Fujitsu this year, women's race walker Mayumi Kawasaki captured the biggest headlines at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships with a national record in the 10000 m walk. Breaking her own national record from 2008 by over 30 seconds, Kawasaki set a mark of 43:21.90 to take the title in the event's first appearance at the Championships.

Another four meet records were set in other events. Kawasaki's male teammates at Fujitsu ran a meet record 39.55 to win the men's 4x100 m relay. Team members Naoki Tsukahara, Shinji Takahira and Yoshihiro Horigome also won the individual titles in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m, while Takahira and Horigome were also on Fujitsu's winning team in the 4x400 m relay along with the 4x100 m team's fourth man, Yohei Miyazawa.

Women's 400 m national record holder Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) took nearly a second off the nine year old meet record to win in 52.61, then returned 75 minutes later to anchor Natureal's 4x100 m relay team to another new meet record of 44.97.

On the field, women's triple jumper Fumiyo Yoshida (Team Narita Airport) tied the nine year old meet record of 13.36 m on her final jump.

Click here to see complete results from the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

3 Races, 3 Wins in 24 Hours for Ongori at National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

After winning the women's 10000 m on Friday night and then her heat of the 5000 m on Saturday morning, Kenyan ace Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) returned Saturday night to take the women's 5000 m final at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships in Okayama. Ongori's time of 15:28.11 was a far cry from her sub-15 PB but strong enough to hold off countrywoman Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and all Japanese competitors. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Giken) was the surprise top in the latter category, outkicking World Championships team members Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) for 3rd in a PB of 15:30.29.

After likewise winning the 10000 m and his heat of the men's 5000 m, Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) made a play for his own threepeat but came up short in his fatigue. Archrival Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) was waiting in the wings to take Ngatuny down, winning in 13:11.46 with Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Cable) and 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Team Suzuki) close behind in 2nd and 3rd. Left behind in the final kick, Ngatuny could only manage 4th in 13:18.63. 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) was the top Japanese runner at 6th in 13:47.20, nearly 35 seconds off his record but a step back in the right direction from the injuries which have plagued him this year. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the top Japanese man in both the 10000 m and his heat of the 5000 m, was a casuality of the difficult three-race schedule, pulling out partway through the 5000 m final.

2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships - Top Results
click event headers for complete results

Women's 5000 m - Final
1. Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) - 15:28.11
2. Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 15:30.18
3. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Giken) - 15:30.29 - PB
4. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 15:31.52
5. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:32.45
6. Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) - 15:33.10
7. Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:34.13
8. Yuka Kakimi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:37.31
9. Hiromi Koga (Team Denso) - 15:40.55
10. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 15:43.18

Men's 5000 m - Final
1. Josephat Ndamibiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:11.46
2. Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Cable) - 13:11.99
3. Martin Mathathi (Team Suzuki) - 13:12.63
4. Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:18.63
5. Martin Mukule (Team Toyota) - 13:34.00
6. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:47.20
7. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:48.72 - PB
8. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:51.99
9. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 13:52.07
10. Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:53.72

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Day Two A.M. Session

by Brett Larner

Fifteen hours after running the 10000 m, most of the men's and women's fields at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships were back for the 5000 m qualifying heats. In both the men's and women's cases, the top eight finishers in each of the three equally-balanced heats along with the next three fastest times overall would make tonight's final. 10000 m winners Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) loped to easy wins in their heats, with Kenyans also taking the top spots in the other two men's and two women's heats. The runners will return at 7:20 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. for the final, in most cases their third race in 24 hours.

2009 National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Top Results
click event headers for complete results

Men's 5000 m - Heat One
1. Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:59.14
2. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:59.31
3. Jonthan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Cable) - 14:00.06
4. Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Kogyo) - 14:00.27
5. Hideyuki Anzai (Team JAL Ground Service) - 14:00.51
6. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 14:00.72
7. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 14:00.78
8. Yuji Sasanuma (Team NTN) - 14:01.07
9. Yasuyuki Nakamura (Team Suzuki) - 14:04.73
10. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 14:06.04

Men's 5000 m - Heat Two
1. Martin Mukule (Team Toyota) - 14:03.71
2. Martin Mathathi (Team Suzuki) - 14:04.68
3. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 14:06.05
4. Wataru Yamaguchi (Team Hitachi Cable) - 14:06.93
5. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 14:07.11
6. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 14:08.32
7. Takuya Iwasaki (Team JAL Ground Service) - 14:08.32
8. Hidekazu Sato (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 14:10.22

Men's 5000 m - Heat Three
1. Samuel Ganga (Team Mazda) - 13:57.33
2. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:57.81
3. Masayuki Obata (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 13:59.36
4. Hiroyuki Ogawa (Team JAL Ground Service) - 13:59.57
5. Makoto Fukui (Team Fujitsu) - 14:02.32
6. Noritaka Fujiyama (Team Sumco Techxiv) - 14:02.46
7. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 14:03.38
8. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 14:04.23
9. Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) - 14:06.75

Women's 5000 m - Heat One
1. Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) - 16:04.57
2. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 16:10.36
3. Nami Tani (Team Aruze) - 16:16.07
4. Mariko Nagao (Team Shiseido) - 16:16.36
5. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 16:16.48
6. Sayuri Baba (Team Sekisui Giken) - 16:16.84
7. Yukari Soh (Team Asahi Kasei) - 16:18.94
8. Shoko Mori (Team Acom) - 16:20.59

Women's 5000 m - Heat Two
1. Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) - 15:44.75
2. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 15:49.22
3. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Giken) - 15:50.01
4. Miho Nodagashira (Team Wacoal) - 15:50.57
5. Yukie Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:50.93
6. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 15:50.94
7. Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:50.98
8. Ayaka Ohara (Team Daihatsu) - 15:51.35
9. Saori Nejo (Team Hokuren) - 16:03.81

Women's 5000 m - Heat Three
1. Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) - 15:50.50
2. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:51.97
3. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 15:52.68
4. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 15:53.34
5. Yuka Kakimi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:54.38
6. Asami Yamane (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:56.99
6. Hiromi Koga (Team Denso) - 15:56.99
8. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 16:00.73
9. Korei Omata (Team Acom) - 16:05.12
10. Misako Suguro (Team Shiseido) - 16:05.94

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 25, 2009

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Day One Results

by Brett Larner

The 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships got underway Sept. 25 in Okayama with the men's and women's 10000 m, the men divided into three heats by time and the women into two. Photo finishes were the order of the day.

Former Hakone Ekiden "God of the Mountain" 5th stage legend Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) kicked off the night with a 0.32 second win over Shinji Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) in Heat One of the men's 10000 m, the slowest of the three. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) followed suit in the women's 10000 m Heat One, beating teammate Akane Wakita by just 0.02 seconds. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team JAL Ground Service) widened the margin of victory in the men's Heat Two, winning over Kenichi Kita (Team Kyudenko) by a luxurious 0.83 seconds.

In the women's Heat Two, the only race of the night with a margin of victory greater than one second, Kenyan Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) had a predictable win in one of her last tuneups before next month's World Half Marathon, clocking a gentle 32:50.30. The surprise came in 2nd, where the aggressive young Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) outkicked Ongori's Kenyan national teammate Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) and 3000 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal). Less than three seconds separated the top four, with 5th placer Yumi Hirata (Team Shiseido) a fraction of a second behind the recently-ailing Fukushi.

Fresh from another round of bad press in the Kenyan media, Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) returned the night to photo-finish territory with a 0.03 second win over arch-rival Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.), both runners breaking 27:30. Less than a second behind Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) and John Thuo (Team Toyota) were even closer, both runners clocking 27:30.08, a PB for each, and officially declared tied for 3rd. Ngatuny's teammate Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) took the top Japanese spot, 9th overall in a distant 28:29.11.

2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships - Top Results
click event headers for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat Three
1. Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:29.08
2. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 27:29.11
3. Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) - 27:30.08 - PB
3. John Thuo (Team Toyota) - 27:30.08 - PB
5. Nicholas Makau (Team JAL Ground Service) - 28:03.75
6. James Mwangi (Team NTN) - 28:05.52
7. Silas Jui (Team Hitachi Cable) - 28:07.42
8. Samuel Ngungu (Team Aichi Seiko) - 28:08.40
9. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:29.11
10. Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota) - 28:36.62

Men's 10000 m Heat Two
1. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team JAL Ground Service) - 29:01.06
2. Kenichi Kita (Team Kyudenko) - 29:01.89
3. Yuki Abe (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 29:02.51
4. Noritaka Fujiyama (Team Sumco Techxiv) - 29:04.45
5. Kazuki Ikenaga (Team Konica Minolta) - 29:04.62

Men's 10000 m Heat One
1. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 29:24.36
2. Shinji Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 29:24.68
3. Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Tokyo Denryoku) - 29:33.26

Women's 10000 m Heat Two
1. Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) - 32:50.30
2. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 32:51.51
3. Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) - 32:52.07
4. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 32:53.26
5. Yumi Hirata (Team Shiseido) - 32:53.95
6. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 32:55.98
7. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 32:57.34
8. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:58.65
9. Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 33:05.11
10. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 33:06.78

Women's 10000 m Heat One
1. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 33:03.47
2. Akane Wakita (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 33:03.49
3. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 33:10.11
4. Yumi Sato (Team Shiseido) - 33:21.94
5. Rina Nomura (Team Uniqlo) - 33:31.04

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner

The National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships are the last major meet on the schedule for Japan's corporate runners before they head into the fall ekiden season next month. This year's meet takes place Sept. 25-27 in Okayama and kicks off with the men's and women's 10000 m.

The men's 10000 m promises to be one of the highlights of the meet. While it's unlikely everyone on the entry list will start, the names on the list include most of the best in the country, Japanese and foreign alike. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) tops the list with his PB of 26:58.40 from this spring, accompanied by perpetual rivals Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yacob Jarso (Team Honda). Ngatuny's teammate Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) leads the Japanese contingent with his PB of 27:38.25. All told the field includes twelve 27 minute men alongside Ndambiri with another half dozen, among them Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) in his pro debut, within seconds of breaking 28 minutes.

The women's 10000 m also has a strong field led by Kenyans Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren), Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) and Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo). Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) leads four Japanese women with recent times under 32 minutes including Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), fresh from setting three PBs in three starts at last month's World Championships. As in the men's 10000 m, another half dozen women sit close to sub-32 level.

Other events to watch include:


  • National record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and former university star Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) on their way back from injury in the men's 5000 m. It will be Matsumiya's first race since losing his 30 km world record to Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia at last week's Berlin Marathon.
  • Nakamura and Fukushi, the women's 5000 m national champion and national record holder respectively, face off again in the second heat of the 5000 m on Saturday. Also in the heat are 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) and, trying again for another comeback, trouble-plagued 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno). Berlin World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) will line up in the first heat.
  • Still showing momentum from his bronze medal performance at the World Championships, Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) will take down the field in the men's javelin.

Click here for complete entry lists for the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships. Selected entry list highlights with season bests:

Men's 10000 m Heat 3
Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) - 26:58.40
Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:01.83
John Thuo (Team Toyota) - 27:31.61
Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) - 27:32.54
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:38.25
Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:48.71
Nicholas Makau (Team JAL Ground Service) - 27:52.32
Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 27:53.19 - DNS
Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:53.79
Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) - 27:58.09
James Mwangi (Team NTN) - 27:58.43
Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:58.63
Silas Jui (Team Hitachi Cable) - 27:58.88
Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 28:06.48
Tomoaki Bungo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:07.20
Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) - 28:07.79
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:09.22
Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 28:23.28

Women's 10000 m Heat 2
Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) - 30:29.21
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 31:01.14
Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 31:14.39
Noriko Matsuoka (Team Suzuki) - 31:31.45
Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) - 31:39.38
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 31:42.86
Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) - 31:58.50
Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) - 32:01.80
Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 32:03.17
Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 32:03.67
Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 32:04.79

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super Meet in Kawasaki 2009 - Results With Video

by Brett Larner

The big overseas names cleaned up at the Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki on Sept. 23, 2009. Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Gary Kikaya, Dwight Thomas, Perdita Felicien, Felix Sanchez, Tatiana Lebedeva, Teemu Wirkkala, Reese Hoffa and others all consigned the hosts' national champions to the runner-up spot or lower. Only women's 400 m national champion Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) and pole vaulter Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) took the top spots in their events, while pole vault national champion Daichi Sawano (Team Nishi) and high jump national champion Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) struggled with apparent injuries and could not clear the bar even once. Some highlights:



Tyson Gay ran a relatively desultory 10.13 to win the 100 m, running even with national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) and Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) until accelerating in the final stage just enough to ensure the win. Eriguchi appeared to be clear of Tsukahara for 2nd in the pair's first matchup since Eriguchi broke Tsukahara's PB at June's National Championships, but both runners were credited with the same time of 10.31 and 2nd was given to the popular Tsukahara.



Allyson Felix likewise won the women's 100 m with ease over national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), 11.22 to 11.42. National champion Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) was nowhere to be seen as she finished 5th in 11.71.

The javelin throw has enjoyed a surge in popularity in Japan since last month's World Championships where ten-time national champion Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) scored the country's first-ever medal, a bronze, in the event. Murakami and Finnish powerhouse Teemu Wirkkala staged a duel throughout the competition, each with a series of throws over 80 m as their nearest competitor threw only 74.78 m. In the end Wirkkala came out on top, edging Murakami out by 19 cm with a mark of 82.60.

Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki 2009 - Top Results
click here for complete results
click event headers for complete video

Men's 100 m
1. Tyson Gay (U.S.A.) - 10.13
2. Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - 10.31
3. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.31

Women's 100 m
1. Allyson Felix (U.S.A.) - 11.22
2. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.42
3. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Natureal) - 11.64

Men's 400 m
1. Gary Kikaya (Cote D'Ivoire) - 45.73
2. Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) - 45.91
3. Ben Offereins (Australia) - 46.10

Women's 400 m
1. Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) - 53.32
2. Barbara Petrahn (Hungary) - 53.50
3. Maris Magi (Estonia) - 53.53

Men's 110 m Hurdles
1. Dwight Thomas (Jamaica) - 13.37
2. Yume Moses (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.77
3. Konstantin Shabanov (Russia) - 13.96

Women's 100 m Hurdles
1. Perdita Felicien (Canada) - 12.74
2. Hyleas Fountain (U.S.A.) - 13.15
3. Mami Ishino (Team Hasegawa) - 13.26

Men's 400 m Hurdles
1. Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) - 48.91
2. Kenji Narisako (Japan) - 49.41
3. Naohiro Kawakita (Waseda Univ.) - 50.01

Women's 400 m Hurdles
1. Tiffany Williams (U.S.A.) - 55.31
2. Satomi Kubokura (Japan) - 56.75
3. Miyabi Tago (Chuo Univ.) - 58.25

Men's Pole Vault
1. Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) - 5.50 m
2. Rory Quiller (U.S.A.) - 5.40 m
3. Hiroki Ogita (Japan) - 5.40 m

Men's High Jump
1. Donald Thomas (Bahamas) - 2.24 m
2. Tora Harris (U.S.A.) - 2.21 m
3. Joe Kindred (U.S.A.) - 2.21 m

Women's Long Jump
1. Tatiana Lebedeva (Russia) - 6.60 m
2. Funmi Jimoh (U.S.A.) - 6.48 m
3. Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko) - 6.43 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Teemu Wirkkala (Finland) - 82.60 m
2. Yukifumi Murakami (Team Suzuki) - 82.41 m
3. Yutaro Tanemoto (Japan) - 74.78 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Kara Patterson (U.S.A.) - 57.80 m
2. Yuki Ebihara (Team Suzuki) - 55.65 m
3. Emika Yoshida (Team Daiwa Gas) - 54.64 m

Men's Shot Put
1. Reese Hoffa (U.S.A.) - 20.21 m
2. Dan Taylor (U.S.A.) - 19.87 m
3. Dylan Armstrong (Canada) - 19.44 m

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Watch Tyson Gay at the Super Meet in Kawasaki Live Online

Broadcaster TBS will present the 2009 Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki, featuring Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Felix Sanchez and a host of Japan's top track and field athletes, from 2:53 to 4:43 p.m. on Sept. 23, Japan time. International viewers should be able to watch the meet live online for free by clicking here. JRN will be onhand and will be uploading its own video coverage shortly afterward.

JRN Turns 1000

Japan Running News is now 1000 posts old. Thank you to all the athletes, coaches, agents, race officials, media colleagues and others who have contributed over the last nearly two years, and special thanks to associate editor Mika Tokairin. And very special thanks of course to our readers regular and otherwise.

I've taken this occasion to add a new 'Best of JRN' section to the 'Blog Resources' menu. In this section you'll find links to JRN's most-read articles, those which have prompted readers to contact me directly with comments, and some of our personal favorites. The best of section is still under construction but should be finished by the end of the week. Click here to go straight to it.

In the last year JRN has had opportunities to go beyond just translating and reporting; special recognition in this department goes out to Gavin Doyle of time-to-run.com for creating the chance for a double Japanese victory at May's Copenhagen Marathon. Along with more of this we're still looking at adding some new features including a regular series of in-depth interviews along the lines of the one with 2:08 marathoner Takayuki Nishida we published in July. Feel free to contact us with requests or suggestions for content you'd like to see, and if you are a regular reader or appreciate the work we do please also feel free to support JRN with a donation. Any amount is welcome, just click here.

Thanks again,

Brett Larner
Japan Running News

Monday, September 21, 2009

30 Runners Stung by Killer Hornets During Mountain Race Near Kyoto

http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20090921ddm041040144000c.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2009092000128

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Click photo for full-sized version.

At about 12:25 p.m. on Sept. 20 on Mt. Oe near Kyoto, a swarm of the giant killer hornet suzumebachi attacked runners taking part in the Yosano Mt. Oe Mountain Race. Thirty runners out of the field of 370 were stung as they ran on the mountain's hiking trails, some receiving multiple stings.

Race officials helped incapacitated participants to return to the start via cars at road access points along the course. While most of the stings were mild, five people were injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital after police received word of the attacks from a nearby campground and from race officials. One athlete remained in the hospital to receive further medical treatment.

Translator's note: The suzumebachi is the hornet which produces the amino acids used by 2009 World Championships women's marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) and others in their medal-winning runs. The Wikipedia article linked above quotes Tamagawa University entomologist Masato Ono as saying the suzumebachi's sting feels "like a hot nail being driven into [your] leg."

Josai University Men Sweep Ichinoseki International Half Marathon

http://www.iwate-np.co.jp/sports/2009sports/m09/spo0909211.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 28th Ichinoseki International Half Marathon on Sept. 20 in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, Josai University senior Yuki Takamiya took the overall win in a time of 1:05:51. Takamiya launched an attack with 1 km to go to hold off junior teammate Ryo Ishita, famous for collapsing on the 8th stage of this year's Hakone Ekiden, by one second. Josai first-year Dai Nakahara came third to complete Josai's sweep.

Iwate native Yu Chiba, who ran the 8th stage for this year's Hakone winners Toyo University, was a special invited runner and finished 5th overall in 1:06:33. Fusai Narita (Team NEC Fuchu) won the women's division in a time of 1:24:23.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Berlin Marathon - Results

by Brett Larner

Hot conditions in the final kilometers of the 2009 Berlin Marathon kept times slower than anticipated. With Team Kanebo's Tomohiro Seto a no-show, three elite Japanese men joined the field behind the anticipated duel between Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia and Duncan Kibet of Kenya. Former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Fujitsu) and 2009 World Championships marathon alternate Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) ran together in the second pack, relaxing through a slow first 10 km in 30:53 before the pace began to ratchet downward. At halfway the pair were right together in 1:04:18, Fujita well on track for his sub-2:10 target and Takahashi looking smooth.

When the pack broke apart in the second half Takahashi began to drift away and by 40 km was 45 seconds behind Fujita, who had fallen off sub-2:10 pace himself. Takahashi rallied for a strong finish but could only come within 6 seconds of Fujita by the goal line. Fujita was 8th overall in 2:12:54, Takahashi 9th in 2:13:00. Former Team Subaru runner Girma Assefa of Ethiopia beat both in his marathon debut, finishing 6th in 2:09:58.

Sanspo.com reports that Takahashi had problems after the race when he was selected for a post-race doping test. Takahashi needed to show his passport for ID purposes but had forgotten it at his hotel. Takahashi was forced to wait in the doping control tent for an extended period of time while one of his coaches struggled with road closures to return to the hotel. The coach eventually managed to reach the hotel and fax a copy of Takahashi's passport to anti-doping officials.

2008 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon winner Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) started at what for him was a solid pace, 16:06 for the initial 5 km, maintaining it with mechanical precision as he went through 20 km in 1:04:26. From there he began to fade, clocking 17:01 between 20 and 25 km and ultimately falling as far as a 19:50 split from 35 to 40 km. Television coverage of women's winner Atsede Habtamu of Ethiopia showed her fly past a staggering Ito in the final kilometers. Ito finished 38th in a lowly 2:25:27, overtaken by Shigeaki Hirata (Takigahara SDF Base), the top Japanese finisher at the 2008 Kawaguchiko Marathon, who was 29th in 2:24:38.

Three-time Fuji Mountain Race defending champion Yuri Kanbara (Team Lafine), running Berlin as practice for November's Yokohama International Women's Marathon, was the top Japanese woman in 3:08:35.

Click here for complete results from the 2009 Berlin Marathon.

2009 Berlin Marathon - Top Finishers
click athlete names for splits and finish videos

Men
1. Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 2:06:08
2. Francis Kiprop (Kenya) - 2:07:04 - PB
3. Negari Terfa (Ethiopia) - 2:07:41 - PB
-----
6. Girma Assefa (Ethiopia) - 2:09:58 - debut
8. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:12:54
9. Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 2:13:00
29. Shigeaki Hirata (Takigahara SDF Base) - 2:24:28
38. Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) - 2:25:27

Women
1. Atsede Habtamu (Ethiopia) - 2:24:47
2. Silvia Skvortsova (Russia) - 2:26:24
3. Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) - 2:26:38
-----
61. Yuri Kanbara (Team Lafine) - 3:08:45

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 18, 2009

Takahashi Leads Gang of Four in Berlin Marathon

by Brett Larner

There was a time when Japanese women controlled the Berlin Marathon, winning every year from 2000-2005 and setting a world record and three national records under 2:20. The men have had some success as well, including the country's first 2:06 way back in 1999. Fast-forward a few years and, despite big-name Japanese women lining up in Chicago and New York, not a single elite Japanese woman is entered in the 2009 Berlin Marathon. Four men, on the other hand, will take the stage in the Sept. 20th race.

Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - PB: 2:11:25 (Tokyo '09)
Leading the group is 2009 World Championships marathon team alternate Kensuke Takahashi. Takahashi has run only two marathons, most recently a 3rd-place finish in March's Tokyo Marathon in a PB of 2:11:25. While Takahashi's time doesn't look impressive, in reality he made the race with a breakaway move into a vicious headwind at 30 km, eventually breaking 2:04 marathoner Sammy Korir of Kenya and looking good while doing it. Without the wind his time may have been three minutes faster. Having trained to be ready for last month's World Championships Takahashi is in excellent condition and it would not be surprising to see him have a significant breakthrough. There is little chance he will seek to challenge all-time top two Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia and Duncan Kibet of Kenya up front, but with Korir in the field again another exciting duel could be in the works.

Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - PB: 2:06:51 (Fukuoka '00)
Having already broken Toshihiko Seko's long-standing university marathon record, Atsushi Fujita became Japan's second 2:06 man with a then-national record at the 2000 Fukuoka International Marathon. Although he has had minor successes since then Fujita has never again approached this time, his only other sub-2:10 coming in Fukuoka in 2005 when he ran 2:09:48. In the winter of 2008-2009 the stoic Fujita had something of a revival, running his best 10000 m time since 2000. Hopes were high that he would have a similar comeback in March's Tokyo Marathon, but Fujita faded in the turbulence behind Takahashi's attack at 30 km and ultimately finished in a lowly 2:14:00. This time almost no media attention is being paid to Fujita's run and he is avoiding putting unrealistic demands on himself, saying that his goal is only to score his third sub-2:10. At such a pace he won't make the TV coverage, but for the man whose Fukuoka course record the great Haile Gebrselassie failed to break it would nevertheless be a tremedous success.

Tomohiro Seto (Team Kanebo) - PB: 2:12:21 (Berlin '07)
Tomohiro Seto is coached by national record holder Toshinari Takaoka. A mid-career runner with good track credentials who has had a handful of attempts at the marathon, thus far Seto has only managed to clock a time of 2:12:21. It was, however, on the Berlin course, so his reappearance this year no doubt signals that he is planning to take this mark down. If all were well a sub-2:10 would be thinkable.

Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) - PB: 2:13:44 (Hofu '01)
Kentaro Ito is one of the rank and file of Japanese corporate runners, a solid low-teens marathoner little-known even in his own country. He has previously run overseas, the highlight being a 2:14:41 at the 2002 Chicago Marathon behind Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record run. After an extended break from marathoning Ito returned to win last December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, receiving a trip to run Berlin as part of his prize package. He no doubt hopes to challenge his antiquated PB.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tokyo Marathon Upgraded to IAAF Gold Label

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2009091600682

translated by Brett Larner

Rikuren announced on Sept. 16 that the IAAF has awarded the February 28, 2010 Tokyo Marathon its prestigious Gold Label ranking, the highest rating the international organization offers to road races. Tokyo is now Japan's second Gold Label race, following March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon which received the accolade for the second year in a row.* Last year Tokyo received the secondary Silver Label.

In determining its annual rankings of the world's top road races, the IAAF takes into account the competitiveness of an event's elite fields, the distribution of its television broadcast, its organizational competence and other criteria during the previous year's edition. Overseas, major marathons such as New York, Boston, and Berlin all hold the Gold Label. The IAAF's current announcement covers races within the period from January to June, 2010. Within this window four Japanese races, the Osaka International Women's Marathon (January), Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon (February), Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon (February) and Nagoya International Women's Marathon (March) all received the Silver Label in addition to Tokyo and Biwako's Gold Labels.

*Translator's note: Biwako, also known as Lake Biwa, was awarded the Gold Label in 2009, despite not meeting the IAAF's gender parity or international broadcast criteria, after main sponsor Rohm withdrew its support of the venerable race.

Two-Time Olympian Megumi Oshima on the Road Back, This Time as a Mother

http://www.47news.jp/CN/200909/CN2009091501000561.html

translated by Brett Larner

Sydney and Athens Olympics distance runner Megumi Oshima, 34, gave birth to a baby boy on Sept. 14. Looking for a sponsor, Oshima hopes to make a comeback to the running world and compete in the 2012 London Olympics together with her husband Kenta Oshima, 30, (Team Nissin Shokuhin).

Oshima and Kenta met during the course of their professional running careers and married in June, 2004. Both wanted children, so the couple planned to have one following the announcement of the teams for the Beijing Olympics. Having left her sponsoring company last year, Oshima was in the midst of looking for a way to continue her life as a professional athlete when she discovered she was pregnant in January. "Counting backward from my planned peak at the selection race for the London Olympic team and taking my age into account we decided that this was the only good chance we'd have for a child," she says. "I'm very happy about it, but at the same time I haven't been able to find a new sponsor so my concerns about whether or not I'll really be able to make a comeback are pretty big."

After learning she was pregnant Oshima adapted her daily training to suit what her body was telling her. Nevertheless, she remains surprised by the changes pregnancy brought. She had morning sickness until the fifth month, and she was often unable to get up by herself. "Whenever I ate I had to rush off to the toilet, and it was so bad that it even started making Kenta get sick. At the same time I started craving pasta, which I had always hated ever since I was young. I started wondering if I was OK."

In consultation with her obstetrician and sports doctor Oshima continued weight training lightly to maintain her muscle condition. Nevertheless despite never having sustained a serious injury in all her years of running from junior high school until now, Oshima was forced to take two months completely off running. It was her first experience of an extended period away from the sport and her took her a long time to adjust psychologically and emotionally. "When you can't exercise like normal it feels like a sin," she says. "When Kenta and I would go out for a walk in the park and I would see someone running I would say things like, "Oh, that guy's got nice form. I bet if I raced him right now I could beat him."

Unable to run herself, Oshima started cooking Kenta's meals to help him out in his training. Every day she reads his training plan and then prepares meals with a balance of meat, fish and carbohydrates suited to that day's demands. "I'm kind of using Kenta as a laboratory to help me learn more about the nutrition side of things for when I make my comeback," she laughs. "It's a bonus that it has turned out to be something I enjoy." Kenta credits her cooking with helping him run a PB while finishing 5th in March's Tokyo Marathon, saying, "Thinking about nutrition while planning our meals was a big part of it."

Oshima hopes to be back to training by the end of the year, but what to do with the baby while she is working out is a considerable problem. Between training camps and out of town races Kenta is gone three or four months out of the year. It's of course impossible to leave her son at nursery school all the time, but even though Oshima's parents are helping out in every way they can the demands of childraising will still be tough. Kenta's salary from running for Nissin Shokuhin is the family's only source of income. Shonan Track Club International, a non-profit organization geared to assisting struggling athletes, is helping her look for a sponsor but it's different from when she was on a corporate team. There is a lot to worry about, not least of which is Oshima's concern with getting into the right kind of training environment.

"We can't help it that Kenta is going to be gone sometimes for training. We're thinking about shifting our training schedules when he's around so that we can each take turns taking care of our baby while the other is working out. We're going to accomodate each other's training plans as much as possible, but we since we're professionals we both know that there are things we can't compromise on. On the other hand there are going to be times when the baby gets sick suddenly, so we won't be able to train completely the way we have up until now. I'm going to need a lot of people's help to make my comeback, but I haven't worked out all the details yet. Right now I'm kind of weak mentally, but if I can settle everything myself I think it'll help me feel like I'm on my way back to being tough and focused."

In the Beijing Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu (Romania) and silver medalist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) were both mothers. When Oshima has the chance to talk about these two women and about Japanese Olympian Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) it reaffirms her own desire for a comeback. "They all say, 'Your heart and mind get stronger. You work harder for your children.' It's really encouraging to hear that successful women like them believe that. I start getting excited when I imagine bringing my baby along to training camps and races."

When Oshima travelled to Kenta's races with him while she was pregnant, many people she knew within the distance running world told her, "Oh, so you've retired, then. Congratulations." Comments like that made her want to do something about the situation of Japanese women within the industry, many of whom want to keep running after giving birth but are unable to. "For me making a comeback after having a baby is just a given so it didn't really bother me to hear that kind of thing, but I think this idea that 'marriage and a baby equals retirement' is a totally outdated relic. There are a lot of Japanese athletes who still want to have a career as mothers, and I want to help create more chances for them. If they know more about my situation then maybe they'll see that they still have options too. I think speaking out publicly as much as I can is the best approach I can take."

Having run in two Olympic Games in older times, Oshima wants to make the London Olympics as a mother. Kenta hopes to join her in his first Olympic appearance. "Running in the Olympics as husband and wife would be a great achievement. It gives me the motivation to try to get there." His newborn son is the greatest ally he could ask for in reaching for this dream. "Trying to make the Olympics up til now I've always just been driven by ego and pushed from above, but ultimately it's been something lonely and empty. Now I'm going to do everything I can so that someday I can tell my son how it felt when I was standing on the starting line in London."

Following the interview, the Oshimas went to a nearby park for a short photo shoot. A runner couple came up along the edge of the road, chatting happily as they passed. "That looks like fun," sighed Megumi. "I want to do that too." Running brought the Oshimas together and keeps them close as they enter this new phase of their lives.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tomoyuki Sato Checks In From Boulder

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click photos for full-sized versions

Team Asahi Kasei runner Tomoyuki Sato posted on the company's blog on Sept. 7 while at a Rikuren-sponsored training camp with Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku), Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and a group of younger runners. Sato, second from right in the above photo in pale blue, was a member of Japan's 2007 World Championships marathon squad. He holds a PB of 2:09:43 and ran 2:09:59 in both of his 2008 marathons.

Right now I'm at Rikuren's training camp in Boulder, Colorado. We've been here since Sept. 1. In the early morning here it's pretty cold at ground level, but during the day it gets hot and the air is really, really dry.

This is the first time I've ever done serious altitude training. Being my first time I think I'm going to gain a lot of new experience which will help me in my running career after this. I'm planning to run the Fukuoka International Marathon this year, and this training camp is the start for my preparations. I hope this chance to train up here pays off in December in Fukuoka. Looking forward to hearing your cheers along the course.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Noguchi Sees "Light at the End of This Long, Long Tunnel"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2009/09/14/07.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20090914-OHT1T00018.htm
http://www.47news.jp/CN/200909/CN2009091301000432.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (31, Team Sysmex) made an appearance Sept. 13 in Nagano's Sugadaira Takahara region at a workshop organized by her coach, Nobuyuki Fujita. For the first time she spoke seriously of a comeback from the left leg injury which has plagued her ever since forcing her to withdraw from defending her Olympic gold medal at last year's Beijing Olympics, saying that her condition has improved to the point that she is now able to run 20 km. "I've been running again for a month now after taking four months completely off," she told audience members. "The pain is mostly gone. I feel like I can see the light at the end of this long, long tunnel growing brighter bit by bit."

Coach Fujita revealed that a medical examination in mid-July during her stay at the National Institute of Sport Science had indicated that all traces of inflammation in Noguchi's leg have disappeared. In terms of a comeback race Fujita said, "We're looking toward a half marathon in the spring." With an eye toward making the national team for the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea, Noguchi would then plan toward running either the Yokohama International Women's Marathon in Nov., 2010 or the Osaka International Women's Marathon in Jan., 2011.

Taking motivation from the silver medal won by Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) at August's World Championships women's marathon in Berlin, Noguchi said, "[Ozaki's performance] left a good mark on me. My main goal right now is to build a solid foundation for the London Olympics."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gay, Felix Headline Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki 2009

by Brett Larner

On Sept. 8 the organizers of the Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki 2009 released the entry lists for this year's meet to be held on Sept. 23. As in past years the meet has succeeded in signing a handful of marquee names to face off against the best domestic athletes. Topping the bill without a doubt are American sprinters Tyson Gay and Allyson Felix, along with hurdlers Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) and Perdita Felicien (Canada), shot putter Reese Hoffa (U.S.A.), and long jumper Tatiana Lebedeva (Russia).

The Japanese field includes most of this year's national champions and several World Championships and Olympic medalists and national record holders, among them Yukifumi Murakami (javelin), Masashi Eriguchi (100 m), Naoki Tsukahara (100 m), Chisato Fukushima (100 m), Momoko Takahashi (100 m), Yuzo Kanemaru (400 m), Kenji Narisako (400 mH), Daiichi Sawano (pole vault), Asami Tanno (400 m), Asuka Terada (100 mH), Satomi Kubokura (400 mH), Kumiko Imura (long jump) and Yuki Ebihara (javelin). Click here for a complete entry list in English and Japanese.

The Super Meet will be broadcast on TBS from 2:53 to 4:43 p.m. on Sept. 23. International viewers should be able to watch the meet live online for free by clicking here.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Marathoner Tosa Expecting First Child and Already Looking Toward Comeback

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/p-sp-tp0-20090908-540984.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Sept. 7 Beijing Olympics women's marathoner Reiko Tosa (33, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) announced on her personal blog that she is pregnant and expecting her first child to be born in mid-April next year. "I hope everything goes smoothly from here on out," she wrote.

Tosa was a guest commentator on TBS' coverage of the Aug. 23 World Championships marathon. Shortly before leaving for Berlin she took a self-test which indicated she was pregnant. After returning to Japan she went to a clinic for confirmation and was told, "Congratulations."

In December, 2004 Tosa married Keiichi Murai (35), a former teammate at Matsuyama University. Following March's Tokyo Marathon she retired from competitive running. However, she maintains a position as "Techinical Advisor" with her sponsor Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo and is already considering making a comeback following her child's birth.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 National University Track and Field Championships - Results

by Brett Larner

The Japanese National University Track and Field Championships are strangely timed, coming at the start of the fall semester after several months of intense mileage training separating the spring track and fall ekiden seasons. It's a time when many of the best university runners are not aiming to peak, focusing instead on the roads, and as a consequence upsets are common. Last year Kenyan Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) staged a rare coup over the far superior Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) over both 5000 m and 10000 m, while unknown first-year Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) stole the women's 10000 m.

This year's Nationals took place Sept. 4-6 at Tokyo's National Stadium. Among the meet's highlights:

  • Gitau, the undisputed top man in Japanese university distance running following Mogusu's graduation this year, easily retained his titles in the 5000 m and 10000 m, running 13:41.77 and 28:34.71. The bigger story in the 10000 m was perhaps Tokai Univ. first year Akinobu Murasawa's 2nd place finish 10 second behind Gitau as he outkicked Kenyans Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) to get there. Like the absent Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) last year, Murasawa is the rookie to watch this season.

  • The women's 10000 m was a match race between defending champion Numata and her senior teammate Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.), the most dominant university woman of her generation. The pair finished together nearly a minute of 3rd placer Natsuko Godo (Nihon Univ.) as Kojima, known more as a 5000 m and ekiden specialist, beat Numata to the line by 0.51 of a second to take the national title away. In the 5000 m Kojima could not summon up a comparable performance, beaten by a sizeable margin by 2009 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) and Kojima's sophomore teammate Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.). Nishihara's battle with Kojima over the fall and winter season will be the highlight of Japanese university women's distance running this year.

  • 100 m national champions Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) and Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) duly added the men's and women's national university titles to their collections in their first races since last month's World Championships. Both Eriguchi and Takahashi missed the meet records by 0.02 seconds, sat out the 200 m, then led their school's 4x100 m relay team to victory. Eriguchi was assisted by Waseda and World Championships teammate Shintaro Kimura.

  • Kazuaki Yoshida (Juntendo Univ.), who ran a memorable and unexpected PB in the men's 400 mH in Berlin, took the national university title, but national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) was kept out of competition by the injury he sustained just before the World Championships. In his absence national team comrade Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) won his first national university championship in 46.94.

  • Yusuke Suzuki (Juntendo Univ.) took down national record holder Isamu Fujisawa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) in the men's 10000 mRW, winning in 40:13.38.

  • Tomomi Abiko (Doshishia Univ.) broke her own meet and national university records in the women's pole vault, setting new records with a mark of 4.22. In the men's pole vault Hiroki Sasase (Waseda Univ.) tied national record holder Daiichi Sawano's meet record of 5.50.

2009 National University Track and Field Championships - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 28:34.71
2. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:44.23
3. Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:44.62
4. Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) - 28:45.86
5. Hiroki Mitsuoka (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 29:06.16

Women's 10000 m
1. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 32:55.43
2. Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 32:56.04
3. Natsuko Godo (Nihon Univ.) - 33:43.49
4. Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 33:45.87
5. Miki Yamada (Josai Univ.) - 33:52.59

Men's 5000 m
1. Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 13:41.77
2. Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 13:48.55
3. Takuya Ishikawa (Meiji Univ.) - 13:56.40
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:57.37
5. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:58.51

Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:40.79
2. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:42.68
3. Kazue Kojima (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:46.77
4. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:48.09
5. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:54.96

Men's 100 m
1. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.13
2. Shintaro Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 10.32
3. Daiki Goto (Keio Univ.) - 10.35

Women's 100 m
1. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.64
2. Shiho Takagi (Ryukoku Univ.) - 11.86
3. Shiori Ishikawa (Chuo Univ.) - 11.91

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seike Third in Great Scottish Run

by Brett Larner

As in past years, Rikuren selected top male and female finishers from this year's Jitsugyodan Half Marathon corporate championships to run in the 2009 Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow, Scotland on Sept. 6. Leading the way with a 3rd place finish in the women's race was 2008 Shanghai Half Marathon winner Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex). 2009 Miyazaki Women's Half Marathon winner Maki Suzawa (Team Kyocera) was 5th in 1:18:24. Caroline Cheptonui Kilel of Kenya took the women's race in a solid 1:09:03. In February Kilel took the stage best honors on the third leg of the final Yokohama International Women's Ekiden before crashing in March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon.

A sizeable Japanese contingent in the men's race also took four of the top ten spots, with Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) the best Japanese man in 5th. Former Team Honda ace Hailu Mekonnen of Ethiopia was the runner-up in 1:01:29, ten seconds behind winner Jason Mbote of Kenya.

2009 Great Scottish Run - Top Finishers
Women
1. Caroline Cheptonui Kilel (Kenya) - 1:09:03
2. Everusalem Kuma Mutal (Kenya) - 1:10:42
3. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:10:45
4. Etalemahu Kidane Demissie (Ethiopia) - 1:11:12
5. Maki Suzawa (Team Kyocera) - 1:18:24
6. Toni McIntosh - 1:18:31
7. Alison Doherty - 1:18:36
8. Morgan Murphy - 1:21:28
9. Leane Hamilton - 1:22:57
10. Claire Arthur - 1:23:19

Men
1. Jason Mbote (Kenya) - 1:01:19
2. Hailu Mekonnen (Ethiopia) - 1:01:29
3. Dereje Tesfaye (Ethiopia) - 1:01:44
4. Nicholas Chelimo (Kenya) - 1:02:25
5. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:02:37
6. Tesegzeab Woldemichael (Scotland) - 1:03:00
7. Bene Zama (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:33
8. Naosato Yoshimura (Team Toyota) - 1:04:00
9. Takahiro Aso (Japan) - 1:04:13
10. Tewelderberhan Mengisteab (Scotland) - 1:05:35
-----
15. Takeshi Takahashi (Japan) - 1:08:14

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Chebor and Gelan Take Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Titles'

http://www.iaaf.org/WHM09/news/kind=100/newsid=54247.html

Complete results are available here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Over 272,000 Apply for 2010 Tokyo Marathon

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=200909/2009090200915

translated by Brett Larner

The Tokyo Marathon organizing committee announced on Sept. 2 that 272,134 people have applied for next year's race to be held on Feb. 28. The number represents a 19% increase from applications for the 2009 race, with 46,000 more people applying for the marathon. The 10 km event also saw its largest-ever number of applications with 39,307 people vying for a spot.

The 2010 Tokyo Marathon's field size is limited to 32,000 with an additional 3000 in the 10 km. The application period closed at the end of August, and results of the lottery to choose runners from the applicant pool will be announced in mid-October.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Japanese Marathoners Begin Lining Up for the Fall Season

by Brett Larner

Less than two weeks after a strong showing in the Berlin World Championships marathons, Japan's top marathoners have started lining up for the fall and winter marathon season. The first to be confirmed is World Championships men's marathon team alternate Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota). The young Takahashi has run only a handful of marathons and holds a PB of just 2:11:25 from this year's Tokyo Marathon, but this slow time hides the quality of his performance and the potential it showed. Running into a headwind which cost the leaders at least 3 minutes, Takahashi made a bold solo break at 30 km in Tokyo, initially gapping Kenyans Salim Kipsang and Sammy Korir along with the rest of the Japanese field. Eventually overtaken by Kipsang and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), Takahashi managed to shake off Korir for 3rd. The performance demonstrated bravery, speed and talent. Having trained to be ready for the Berlin World Championships in the event of one of the five national team members withdrawing at the last minute Takahashi will attempt to carry his fitness over a month to the Sept. 20 Berlin Marathon. If he shows the same qualitities as in Tokyo Takahashi's overseas debut could be a memorable one.

On the women's side, Berlin World Championships women's marathon 7th place finisher Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) will make her American marathon debut in New York. Kano has run the New York City Half Marathon three times, placing 4th twice and 3rd in 2008. Having run London in the spring her New York appearance will make her three for three this year in overseas marathons, an unusual record among Japanese marathoners which points to one of the differences in emphasis between her team Second Wind and those in the jitsugyodan corporate league. Kano's coach Manabu Kawagoe has said he believes Kano capable of a 2:21, but thus far in her short marathon career she has shown a lack of closing ability which has kept her out of the winner's circle in all but the second-tier Hokkaido Marathon. Although she has not been having as strong a year as in 2008, her skills may play better on the typically more strategic New York course. If successful Kano would become the first Japanese New York winner male or female.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved