by Brett Larner photos by Brett Larner except Deriba Merga and Arata Fujiwara by Yasunori Sakamaki In his first race since his unprecedented departure from Team JR Higashi Nihon at the end of March, Arata Fujiwara won the 2010 Ottawa Marathon on May 30. Fujiwara broke the existing course record by one minute two seconds, outkicking Kenyan Laban Moiben and junior world record holder Bazu Worku of Ethiopia to win in 2:09:33.4. His time on the difficult course was the fastest of the year by a Japanese man and came three months after his 2nd place finish in sleet and wind at February's Tokyo Marathon. A slower than expected first 10 km over challenging hills through Quebec scuttled the expected attack on the Canadian all-comers record on 2:08:32 from last fall's Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but the top four men all broke the previous course record of 2:10:35. Two of the three pacemakers dropped off far earlier than planned, leaving Kenyan Festus Langat to do the rest
by Brett Larner Chronically injured women's 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) took a small step toward making another comeback at the May 29 Nittai University Time Trials . Just a week before the National Championships Kinukawa won the A-heat of the women's 3000 m, running 9:23.12 to win by a margin of over two and a half seconds over Shino Saito (Team Shimamura). Her time was not especially remarkable but the win itself was her first at any distance in several years and is a hopeful sign for one of Japan's most talented young runners. Nittai University Time Trials Women's 3000 m A-Heat 1. Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) - 9:23.12 2. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 9:25.71 3. Fumiko Hashimoto (Team Shimamura) - 9:28.89 4. Yuki Numata (Team Shimamura) - 9:29.57 5. Yume Tanaka (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:32.86 (c) 2010 Brett Larner all rights reserved
JRN will be on location at the 2010 Ottawa Marathon for the next week. Apologies for any interruptions to regularly scheduled service during this time, but we will be bringing you exclusive coverage throughout race weekend. This year's outstanding men's field includes world junior record holder Bazu Worku (Ethiopia), 2:07 men Philip Manyim (Kenya) and Teferi Wodajo (Ethiopia), 2:08 runner Arata Fujiwara (Japan) and defending champion David Cheruiyot (Kenya). The 10 km features luminaries Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) and Dire Tune (Ethiopia). For complete elite field listings, click here for the marathon or here for the 10 km .
I don't particularly care about sprinting but I can't stop watching this video, so here it is again. Ladies and gentlemen, freshman anchor Shota Iizuka singlehandedly gives Chuo University a 1-second margin of victory over Waseda University and the Japanese national university record of 38.54 in the men's 4 x 100 m relay at the Kanto Regional University T&F Championships in Tokyo's National Stadium on May 22, 2010.
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/p-sp-tp0-20100524-633277.html translated by Brett Larner Taku Fujimoto (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) took down Toyo University's "God of the Mountains" Ryuji Kashiwabara and other top Hakone runners to win his first Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships 5000 m. Battling rain, Fujimoto ran with self-possession among the leaders for the entire race until with one lap to go he shot away to return holding a nearly 20-second PB of 13:38.68.* With no really noteworthy results in high school and constant injury problems since entering university Fujimoto's talent has finally blossomed. He now stands to become the newest star of next year's Hakone Ekiden. Only four days before the Kanto 5000 m he was suffering from back trouble serious enough that he thought about pulling out, but with treatment from his team's trainer Coach Ogawa, the 1999 Kanto Regionals 5000 m winner, he recovered sufficiently to decid
by Brett Larner Men's 5000 m A-Heat Steadily worsening rain and winds on the last day of the 2010 Kanto Regional University T&F Championships didn't slow things down as the men's 5000 m A-heat saw one of the best overall university men's 5000 m in Japanese history. Hakone Ekiden star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) and the relentlessly improving Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) took the pack of 29 through 1 km in 2:39, almost dead-on Japanese national record pace. Surprisingly, everyone went with them and few fell apart. Kashiwabara, Yoroizaka and 10000 m A-heat winner Benjamin Gando (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) took turns leading as the fastest man in the field, 19 year-old Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) patiently worked his way forward. When Murasawa finally made his move, his surprise company came from Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.), a runner with a PB of only 13:57.57. A bigger surprise came when Fujimoto blasted away over the last lap to knock nearly 20 secon
by Brett Larner Watch this video and say that you are not impressed: Chuo Univ., lane 5, wins the men's 4x100m over Waseda Univ., lane 4. Japanese sprinting keeps moving forward. On the second to last day of the 2010 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships , May 22 in Tokyo's National Stadium, Chuo University's men's 4x100 m pulled off the biggest upset of the meet so far with a 38.54 national university record win over titan Waseda University thanks to a stunning performance by freshman anchor Shota Iizuka . The unheralded Chuo team's time was not only a record and not only beat Waseda, which features 2009 national champion and World Championships team member Masashi Eriguchi , by exactly one second but would have won last year's American NCAA Div. I National Championships, placed the team 5th in the Beijing Olympics final and 6th in the final of last summer's World Championships. With Eriguchi on 2nd Waseda had a strong first half, b
by Brett Larner On the first genuinely hot day of the year, 10000 m university national record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) took the win in the women's 5000 m at the 2010 Kansai Regional University Track and Field Championships on May 21. Yoshimoto led start to finish with a quick 3:03 first kilometer before settling into a more moderate pace. She finished in only 15:44.57, an indication perhaps of the high temperatures, but still had a lead of over 23 seconds on runner-up Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.). Defending champion Kasumi Nishihara (Bukkyo Univ.), who set the meet record of 15:32.89 at last year's Kansai Regionals, was clearly not on form as she was 6th in only 16:44.46. Both Yoshimoto and Nishihara are scheduled to race the 5000 m and 10000 m at next month's National Track and Field Championships. In the men's 10000 m, Hiroki Mitsuoka (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.), the only man in the field with a PB under 29:30, won in a leisurely 30:07.82. 2010 K
by Brett Larner On May 19 Rikuren published the entry lists for this year's National Track and Field Championships, to be held June 4-6 in Marugame, Kagawa prefecture. With the cancellation of this weekend's Golden Games in Nobeoka most of the top Japanese distance athletes will shift focus to Nationals, making for a potentially thrilling championship meet. Entry lists for the distance events are reproduced below. The men's events are notable for the absence of veterans like 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) and half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), the preponderance of the field instead made up of some of the best young runners Japan has these days. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) will square off in both the 5000 m and 10000 m, their scheduled duel at the Golden Games forcibly postponed by two weeks. The Japanese man with the fastest PB in the 5000 m field,
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010051900600 http://www.docomoasahi.gr.jp/ggn/2010/10ggn/caution/apology.html translated and edited by Brett Larner On May 19 the organizers of the 21st Golden Games in Nobeoka track and field meet scheduled for May 22 in Nobeoka, Miyazaki prefecture, announced that the event would be cancelled due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Miyazaki. On May 18 Miyazaki Prefectural Government officials asked organizers of upcoming events within the prefecture to postpone their events, but with the difficulties of rescheduling a major track meet in mind, Golden Games organizers opted to cancel this year's competition. A notice posted on the Golden Games in Nobeoka website on May 19 explained that while foot and mouth disease only affects cattle, pigs and water buffalo, not humans, no cases had been detected within the Nobeoka area, and meet organizers had contingency plans in place to minimize the risk of spreading the disease through d
by Brett Larner This weekend saw eight major meets across Japan, two university regionals and six corporate team regionals. With too many results to list in detail JRN gives you a quick review of the major performances starting with the university meets. Click each meet or event for complete results. Kanto Regional University Championships , Tokyo: Detailed in a separate article with video links , Kenyans Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) and Duncan Mozay (Takushoku Univ.) took both windy men's 10000 m heats, Gando in 28:27.18 and Mozay in 29:15.43. The top seven in the A-heat broke 29 minutes, including two Waseda University frosh, Suguru Osako and Fuminori Shikata . Both 18 year-olds now have PBs in the 28:30's, boding well for Waseda's chances this year. Osako lost out in a three-way sprint finish against Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) and Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) who finished 2-3 with Yoroizaka taking 21 seconds off his PB to clock 28:34.12. The women's 1
by Brett Larner Picking up where the recently-graduated Daniel Gitau left off, Kenyan Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) stepped up to take the win in the men's 10000 m A-heat at the 2010 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships , May 16 at Tokyo's National Stadium. With a 3rd-place finish as a frosh and a 2nd-place finish last year, star junior Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) took the race out hard with a 2:42 first km in search of his first Kanto win but was unable to keep with up with Gando's surge over the final three kilometers. Gando fell just short of a new PB but took his first major win in 28:27.16. Behind him, Kashiwabara battled with two Japanese runners over the last lap for the runner-up spot. 18 year old Saku Chosei H.S. grad Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), one of four frosh on the entry list with PBs under 29 minutes, tried to drop Kashiwabara and solid junior Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) but was unable to match their closing speed. Edging Ka
by Brett Larner For the sixth year in a row, the Japanese men's team came out on top of the IAU 24 World Championships with a team gold medal at this year's event in Brive, France. Despite only fielding two members of last year's winning squad the team won by a wide margin over runner-up Italy thanks to member Shingo Inoue's individual gold medal-winning run of 273.708 km. Two-time bronze medalist Yuji Sakai fell just short of making it a third medal as he finished 4th with 258.907 km. Masahiko Honda rounded out the scoring positions in 15th with a total of 246.063 km. The Japanese women team finished 6th out of 16 teams led by Kiyoko Shirakawa, 7th with 220.986 km. 2010 IAU 24 Hour World Championships - Top Finishers Men - Individual click here for complete results 1. Shingo Inoue (Japan) - 273.708 km 2. Scott Jurek (U.S.A.) - 266.677 km 3. Ivan Cudin (Italy) - 263.841 km ----- 4. Yuji Sakai (Japan) - 258.907 km 15. Masahiko Honda (Japan) - 246.063 km 20. Ryo A
by Brett Larner This weekend is one of the biggest of the year for Japanese distance runners, with no less than eight major track meets across the country. Six of the meets are regional championships for Japan's corporate teams and will feature many of the best Japanese and African athletes including Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.), Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz), Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B). Check the sidebar to the right for more information on these meets. The Kansai Regional University Track and Field Championships offer an early-season look at the schools in Western central Japan, the site of the best university women's teams. The women's 5000 m in particular has a great matchup between 10000 m university national record holder Hikari Yoshimoto and 2009 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Kasumi Nish
JRN interviewed Stephen Mayaka , the first Kenyan high school runner in Japanese history, for an article in the May issue of Running Times magazine . This month we present the complete interview in serialized form in our subscription series JRNPremium . In part one of the interview Mayaka talked about being recruited and his experience as a student runner. In part two he talks about life on Japan's corporate teams and the difficulties Kenyans and other foreign runners face in fitting into the shifting demands of the system. Highlights from part two are included below. To read the full interview along with others in the JRNPremium series, click here to subscribe . Part Two: The Corporate Life, Pros and Cons We had some South Africans, Kalamori, I know him, we raced together, from Burundi, and Morocco. Some Ethiopians are coming but they are difficult because of the Ethiopian language and their culture. But it became to happen that the companies mostly prefer the Kenyans very mu
http://www.runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=19571 photo: Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu of Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. on the way to a 57:01 course record at the 2007 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km. An article I wrote for the May issue of Running Times magazine looking at the role of African runners in Japan is now available online. The article includes quotes and material from interviews with Stephen Mayaka , the first Kenyan high school runner in Japan, Tsutomu Akiyama , one of the people responsible for beginning the recruitment of Kenyan student runners including Samuel Wanjiru , and Ethiopian Biruk Bekele , winner of the 1996 Hokkaido Marathon and now an agent for other Ethiopians within the Japanese system. The complete interview with Mayaka appears in serialized form in this month's issue of JRNPremium , and next month's issue will feature the complete Akiyama interview. To read these and other JRNPremium interviews, click here to subscribe .
by Brett Larner The spring regional corporate track and field championship season began May 8 with the first day of the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships, the regional meet for central Japan. Each of the regional meets throughout the country is spread over two consecutive weekends, with the Chugoku region's men's and women's 5000 m the first events to take place. Many of the biggest names sat the races out in favor of the May 9 Sendai International Half Marathon and next weekend's 10000 m, leaving easy wins for Kenyans Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) and Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo). 2010 Chugoku Jitsugyodan T&F Championships - Top Finishers click here for complete results Men's 5000 m 1. Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:49.85 2. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:50.70 3. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 13:50.94 4. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:52.30 5. Tetsuya Sasaki (Team Chudenko) - 14:04.15 Wome
by Brett Larner On a warm and windy day, 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist and 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) performed up to expectations in his half marathon debut at the May 9 Sendai International Half Marathon . Already on his own after a quick 14:03 first 5 km, Mathathi ran a solo race. He was consistent through 15 km, clocking 14:04 from 5 to 10 km and 14:07 from 10 to 15 km, on pace at that stage to run 59:24. Only after 15 km did he slow, dropping to a 14:30 split from 15 to 20 km. Mathathi finished in 59:48, just 5 seconds off Samuel Wanjiru's 5 year-old course and Japanese all-comers record. His outstanding debut was a prelude to a planned marathon debut in the upcoming winter season. Still yet to regain his university form, runner-up Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) was nearly 2 minutes behind in 1:01:34. The top Japanese runner, Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was another 2 minutes back in 1:03:39,
NHK will broadcast the May 8 Osaka International Grand Prix Track & Field Meet live from 3:05 to 5:00 p.m. Japan time. The meet features a range of international talent alongside a large number of Japanese national champions, national record holders, and Olympic medalists. Click here for complete start lists . International viewers should be able to watch the meet online for free via Keyhole TV. Click here for more details . You'll have to scroll through the channels to find the correct one, which has its name listed all in kanji and requires a password. The password is NHK. It appears that the broadcast will begin immediately after the men's 1500 m and end just before the women's 5000 m, unfortunately.
by Brett Larner It's a big weekend in Japan with three major events across the country. The biggest is no doubt the Osaka Grand Prix Meet on May 8. Most events feature the standing Japanese national champion or national record holder along with international competition including Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica, 100 m), Andrew Hinds (Barbados, 100 m), Monzavous Edwards (U.S.A., 200 m), Mounir Yemmouni (France, 1500 m), Doricah Obare (Kenya, 5000 m), Perdita Felicien (Canada, 100 mH), Bershawn Jackson (U.S.A., 400 mH), Christian Cantwell (U.S.A., SP), and Becky Breisch (U.S.A., DT). A complete entry list is available here . One notable withdrawal is the meet's biggest star, Chinese hurdler Xiang Liu . Also on May 8 is the first of the regional spring corporate track meets, the Central Japan Corporate Track and Field Championships . This weekend's events include the men's and women's 5000 m, with the 10000 m scheduled for next weekend. Atsushi Sato (Tea
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010050600753 translated by Brett Larner 2011 Asian Games women's marathon team member Kiyoko Shimahara (33, Second Wind AC) announced on May 6 that she is relocating her training base from Tokyo to the town of Saku in Nagano Prefecture. Last month Shimahara got engaged to Saku Chosei High School ekiden team coach Masaru Takamizawa (28). "I'm looking forward to training on the cross-country course the high school team uses and in all the great locations around Sugadaira," Shimahara said, promising that the new environment would be an excellent jumping-off point for the next stage of her career. With regard to her training, Shimahara will continue to be guided by Second Wind head coach Manabu Kawagoe. Apart from training in Nagano Shimahara will be going on the Rikuren-sponsored women's training camp in Boulder, Colorado in June. In July she plans to run the Sapporo International Half Marathon. "I'm not you
interviewed and edited by Brett Larner photo courtesy of Stephen Mayaka Stephen Mayaka was the first Kenyan high school runner in Japan and the first to go the complete route from high school to university and on into the corporate running world. Now a Japanese citizen, married to a former World Championships-level Japanese marathoner and head coach of Sozo Gakuen University’s track and field team, Mayaka is a mentor to Kenyan athletes both across Japan and back in Kenya. He was the man who guided Samuel Wanjiru through his time in Japan and who currently manages Kenyan XC champion Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and other notables including Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren). JRN interviewed Mayaka just before New Year, 2010 for an article in this month's issue of Running Times magazine . In the wide-ranging, in-depth three hour interview Mayaka talked about
by Brett Larner Alongside sprinter Chisato Fukushima 's new women's 200 m national record at the May 3 Shizuoka International Track and Field Meet , Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) was in a familiar position in the men's 5000 m, one step ahead of countryman Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) with a meet record and world-leading 13:09.19 win. Mathathi, just six days from his half-marathon debut at Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon, was also under the old meet record as he finished 2nd in 13:10.94. 3rd placer Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) set the 3rd-fastest time so far this year, 13:19.84, while 4th place John Thuo set a slim PB of 13:21.02. 5000 m Japanese national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) had a surprise win over Saku Chosei high school teammate Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) with the fastest time this year by a Japanese man, 13:24.75. The next five Japanese after Sato all set PBs, among them Tokai Univer
http://www.47news.jp/CN/201005/CN2010050301000339.html translated by Brett Larner At the May 3 Shizuoka International Track and Field Meet, a selection race for the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games, 200 m national record holder (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) won in a time of 22.89, breaking her own national record. It was the first time a Japanese woman has run 22. Fukushima's previous national record was 23.00, dating back to last June's National Track and Field Championships. Five days ago the 21 year old Fukushima broke her own national record in the 100 m, clocking 11.21 at the Apr. 29 Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet with one of the best starts of her career.
http://www.oita-press.co.jp/localSports/120731038207/2010_127276116467.html translated by Brett Larner At the 64th Oita Prefectural Track & Field Championships at the Oita Civic Grounds on May 1, Chieko Kido (Canon Oita AC) ran a new Oita prefectural women's record of 15:55.45, breaking the old mark by 3.87 seconds. Throughout her training for this month's track season Kido has had pacemaking and guidance from male coach Aki Shimizu. Shimizu was onhand for the record attempt, calling out, "Stick to it!" and "Go for the time!" as she ran. Kido said Shimizu's words helped spur her on. "I got into a really comfortable rhythm," she smiled afterwards. Shimizu told reporters, "I'm as happy as if I had set a new PB myself. She did a great job." Canon Oita AC head coach Michio Ito commented, "This will be a big boost for her self-confidence. I'm looking forward to seeing how she does in the 10000 m tomorrow." Transl
by Brett Larner Always a staple on the Japanese spring track calendar, this year's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational saw several strong performances from Japanese men. With early pacing by former Nihon University ace Simon Ndirangu (Kenya), the historic men's Kim McDonald 10000 m saw the first-ever sub-27 minute clocking by a white runner. American Chris Solinsky (Nike) unexpectedly beat star Galen Rupp (Nike) to set a new American national record of 26:59.60. Unknown Daniel Salel (Kenya) finished runner-up in a sizzling 27:07.85 PB and 3rd place finisher Samuel Chelanga (Kenya/Liberty Univ.) set a new American university record of 27:08.39. Rupp was 4th overall but also broke the former national record, while 5th place finisher Simon Bairu (Canada/Nike) set a new Canadian national record of 27:23.63. The top eight men all clocked PBs, leaving 9th place finisher Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) to be the top-placing man not to run a PB. As expected in his first 10