Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Japanese Elites to Debut at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

by Brett Larner

One month to the day from Arata Fujiwara's course-record win at the Ottawa Marathon, the organizers of the Sept. 26 Toronto Waterfront Marathon have announced that they will invite four Japanese athletes to this year's race as part of their International Team Challenge team competition. The Japanese contingent, the first in the history of the event, will consist of Yamada Denki women's team runners Ayumi Nakayama and Maki Suzawa and Honda men's team athletes Takashi Horiguchi and Minoru Okuda. Race director Alan Brookes commented, "This is the first time we'll have had elite Japanese athletes on our flat, fast course. We're delighted to welcome Team Japan, a strong team from one of the great marathon-running nations, to Toronto Waterfront for the first time, and expect them to do very well against teams from around the world."

Nakayama holds a PB of 2:28:50 from the 2008 Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Freezing rain at this year's Osaka prevented her from improving on this mark but since then she has clocked her best half marathon since before beginning to run marathons. Her teammate Suzawa is an outstanding half marathoner who will be making her marathon debut at Toronto Waterfront. Both women are expected to be among the race's top competitors.

On the men's side, Horiguchi is a veteran with a history of running well overseas, his marathon best of 2:12:06 coming at the 2003 Los Angeles Marathon. Like Nakayama, he comes to Toronto Waterfront fresh from his best half marathon in five years. His junior teammate Okuda was a star university runner in the prestigious Hakone Ekiden and has made a succesful transition to Japan's corporate team running world. Toronto Waterfront will be his marathon debut.

Monday, June 28, 2010

2-Time Olympic Medalist Wainaina Wins Lake Saroma 100 km Ultra in Kenyan National Record Time

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010062700268
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/238878.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/100627/oth1006272249014-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In his first attempt at the distance, two-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya) won the 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km ultramarathon in Hokkaido on June 27. Wainaina, the 1996 Olympic marathon bronze medalist and 2000 silver medalist, covered the certified course in a time of 6:39:52, with runner-up Noriyuki Araki (Wings AC) a short distance behind in 6:41:07. Tokyo-based Emi Matsushita, formerly Emi Iwasaki, took her second-straight and third-ever women's Saroma title with a time of 7:49:31.

Between the 50 km and 100 km divisions 3656 runners started the race. With temperatures reaching 30 degrees, only 1949 were able to complete their distance.

Translator's note: This is genuinely surprising news. Based on what I've been able to track down Wainaina's time is a world leader for 2010 and seems to be a new Kenyan national record. The former national record appears to have been 8:37:15 by Andrew Tumo in 1990. The second newspaper article linked above has a photo of Wainaina at the finish line.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

'Australian Wins Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon'

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2012217849_maranotes27.html

Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) won the women's half marathon.

Tokai Wins National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

by Brett Larner



Tokai University took the top spot at the 2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier track meet June 26 at Tokyo's National Stadium. With the top six schools at last year's Nationals seeded for this year's championships on Nov. 7, other schools across the country must compete in regional qualifier meets this month to requalify. Consisting of four 10000 m heats of forty runners, each made up of two runners from twenty schools, the combined times of the eight runners from each school are used to determine the team scores at the Kanto Region Qualifier. The five fastest overall schools go on to Nationals.

Tokai came out first on a windy but rain-free evening thanks to strong showings from Heat Four sophomore aces Akinobu Murasawa and Tsubasa Hayakawa along with a Heat Three win from star frosh Daichi Motomura. Joining Tokai at Nationals will be Josai Univ., Kokushikan Univ., Teikyo Univ. and Nittai Univ. Takushoku Univ. missed out on making the cut despite a dominating 1-2 performance in Heat Four by its Kenyan frosh pair of Duncan Mozay and John Maina. A surprising absence was 2010 Hakone Ekiden runner-up Komazawa Univ., which missed the seeded bracket by one place at last year's National Ekiden but did not run at the Qualifier meet.

In terms of individual action, Heat Four offered the most interesting race. Mozay's win was all but a given after the fastest man in the field, Jobu Univ. senior Yusuke Hasegawa, scratched with injury. Mozay and teammate Maina shared lead duties throughout the race after breaking away from the Japanese pack, Maina finishing 2nd less than three seconds off his PB. The race had been billed as a duel between Murasawa and the runner who beat him for the 5000 m win at last month's Kanto Regionals, Kokushikan Univ. junior Taku Fujimoto. The pair indeed dueled and Murasawa came out ahead, but neither placed as well as expected. Fujimoto was the only runner to try to go with Mozay and Maina, eventually finishing 8th nearly 30 seconds behind Murasawa. Murasawa, again showing weakness in his final kick, lost out to Nittai Univ. senior Kazuya Deguchi and Josai Univ. sophomore Dai Nakahara over the final lap. Nakahara ran an outstanding race, the only one in the top ten to run a PB, but could not match the finishing speed of Deguchi who ran a strange last 100 m on a diagonal out to lane seven.



Heat Three also had some good action. The race should have belonged to sub-29 man Takuya Noguchi of Nittai Univ., on the way back from injury. Instead, little-heralded Teikyo Univ. senior Tomonao Nishimura was at the forefront throughout the race, repeatedly surging to shake up the other leaders. The winner was an even bigger surprise, as Tokai Univ. ace frosh Daichi Motomura had an outstanding kick over the last 200 m to take the top spot away from the two seniors.

2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier
Top Individual Results
1. Duncan Mozay (1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 28:39.80
2. John Maina (1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 28:45.99
3. Kazuya Deguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:05.71
4. Dai Nakahara (2nd yr., Josai Univ.) - 29:06.00 - PB
5. Akinobu Murasawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 29:09.61
6. Masaki Ito (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:09.74
7. Tsubasa Hayakawa (2nd yr, Tokai Univ.) - 29:09.76
8. Taku Fujimoto (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:35.00
9. Keisuke Tanaka (4th yr., Josai Univ.) - 29:50.98
10. Ryota Nakamura (4th yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:51.82

1. Daichi Motomura (1st yr., Tokai Univ.) - 29:46.10
2. Tomonao Nishimura (4th yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:47.89
3. Takuya Noguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:48.58

Heat Two
1. Kenta Fukuda (2nd yr., Kanagawa Univ.) - 31:13.87

Heat One
1. Hideaki Tamura (4th yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:10.76

Heat Five (unscored)
1. Keisuke Fujii (2nd yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 30:30.20

Top Team Results
1. Tokai Univ. - 4:02:43.58
2. Josai Univ. - 4:02:52.55
3. Kokushikan Univ. - 4:03:42.22
4. Teikyo Univ. - 4:03:45.21
5. Nittai Univ. - 4:03:54.48
-----
6. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 4:04:41.42
7. Takushoku Univ. - 4:04:45.13
8. Kanagawa Univ. - 4:05:09.21
9. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 4:05:22.34
10. Kokugakuin Univ. - 4:07:00.32

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fujimoto Gets Another Shot at the Top - National University Ekiden Qualifier

by Brett Larner

Little-known Kokushikan University junior Taku Fujimoto's win at last month's Kanto Regional University T&F Championships 5000 m was one of the meet's highlights. Sitting patiently behind the leaders throughout the race, Fujimoto rocketed away from favorite Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) with one lap to go to win in a sizeable PB of 13:38.68, exactly tying Murasawa's PB. After the race Murasawa challenged Fujimoto to repeat the feat this season over 10000 m. His chance comes this Saturday at the 2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Regional Qualifiers at Tokyo's National Stadium.

November's National University Ekiden is one of the peaks of the fall season. For schools which miss the top-scoring seeded bracket, late June means once more through the regional qualifiers. What makes the Kanto qualifiers one of the most entertaining events on the Japanese calendar is the format: four heats of 10000 m in one evening, each heat containing two runners from each of the twenty Kanto-region schools competing for a Nationals spot. Each team's score is the sum of all eight runners' times, meaning every single man in the field is racing the clock rather than for place. Most schools stack the fourth heat with their two best runners, making that heat one of the most competitive Japanese 10000 m of the year. With cheering squads in the stands and supporters lining the track the atmosphere is raucous and noisy, diminished only slightly by last year's move from the tight-packed Oda Field to the more spacious National Stadium.

Out of forty runners in the fourth heat, ten feature PBs under 29 minutes and another eleven hold marks under 29:30. Jobu University ace Yusuke Hasegawa has the best mark by a considerable margin, but a subpar performance at May's Kanto Regional Championships puts him at risk of falling to Kanto B-heat 5000 and 10000 m double winner Duncan Mozay of Takushoku University. Mozay beat Nittai University's Kazuya Deguchi for that 10000 m title, leaving Kokushikan's Masaki Ito, Mozay's teammate John Maina, Murasawa and Fujimoto, and Murasawa's teammate Tsubasa Hayakawa as the next group of contenders. As with their identical 5000 m PBs, Murasawa and Fujimoto have nearly the same bests for 10000 m. Considering, though, that neither has raced a serious 10000 m this season and that their 5000 m marks were both sizable bests set this spring it is reasonable to think both Murasawa and Fujimoto will be in contention for the top position.

Curiously, Tokai's current best 10000 m runner Asuka Tanaka, who holds a PB of 28:40.96, is listed as an alternate, a likely indication of injury troubles. Nittai's best runner Takuya Noguchi, with a PB of 28:30.06, is slated for the third heat after a weak showing at May's Kanto meet. Several other schools including Josai University, Chuo Gakuin University and Juntendo University have put their best people into the third heat, meaning that that round should also be fast. JRN will be on-site to provide video coverage of the races. Check back Sunday for complete results.

2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Regional Qualifer - Heat Four Top Entrants
Yusuke Hasegawa (4th yr., Jobu Univ.) - 28:13.92
Duncan Mozay (1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 28:20.76
Kazuya Deguchi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 28:34.02
Masaki Ito (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:38.69
John Maina (1st yr., Takushoku Univ.) - 28:42.02
Akinobu Murasawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 28:44.23
Taku Fujimoto (3rd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:44.88
Tsubasa Hayakawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 28:47.37
Ryota Nakamura (4th yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 28:49.20
Junya Kinoshita (3rd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 28:50.53
Kenta Matsubara (2nd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 29:00.36
Shinji Ando (4th yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:08.41
Koji Kobayashi (4th yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:14.98
Naoto Miyagawa (3rd yr., Asia Univ.) - 29:18.30
Shota Hattori (1st yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:19.99
Ryusei Sakaguchi (3rd yr., Jobu Univ.) - 29:22.09
Dai Nakahara (2nd yr., Josai Univ.) - 29:23.76
Kota Nibe (4th yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:24.02
Yuta Igarashi (4th yr., Senshu Univ.) - 29:24.56
Hideyuki Tanaka (2nd yr., Juntendo Univ.) - 29:25.01
Ikki Takeuchi (1st yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:26.17

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kirui, Kipruto and Vega for Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

If the preliminary announcement is to be believed, the organizers of the Sapporo International Half Marathon have done an outstanding job in setting up a strong field for this year's 53rd edition to be held July 4. Last year's race was expected to include Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), but his listing turned out to be only the empty promise of a promoter. This year's men's field is slated to include a handful of big names, and if all show Sapporo could be one of the best races of the summer.

Topping the overseas men's field are Berlin World Championships marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui and 2:05 marathoner Vincent Kipruto, both of Kenya, along with their Japan-resident sub-hour countrymen Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the 2009 Sapporo winner, and Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem), the course record holder and 2007-08 winner. Somewhat of a non-sequitur, American Antonio Vega rounds out the overseas men's field.

The domestic field will be vying for a spot on the Japanese national team for this fall's World Half Marathon Championships. The strongest is 13:18/27:41 man Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), who has fallen short of his 2010 goals of a strong marathon debut and the 10000 m national record but has recently show himself to be rounding back into peak form. Veterans Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Toshinari Suwa (Team Nissin Shokuhin) are also on the invite list but are unlikely to figure into the action. It's one of the quirks of Sapporo management that the complete elite entry lists are not usually publicly released before the race, and thus there are always a few surprises come race day. One runner in this group who may challenge Mitsuya for the top Japanese spot is independent Arata Fujiwara, who became the first Japanese man since 1987 to win an overseas marathon with a sub-2:10 time when he set the course record at last month's Ottawa Marathon.

With no women being brought in from overseas the domestic women's field is deep and competitive. Japan resident Mara Yamauchi (U.K.) will be a solid contender against 2009 winner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and 2008 winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC). Other top Japanese women in the field include Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido), Chika Horie (Team Universal Ent.), Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya), Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Ent.), Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), Chisato Osaki (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC).

Click here for a complete invited elite field listing. The race will be broadcast live nationwide. Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free through Keyhole TV. JRN will offer live race commentary through its Twitter feed JRNLive. Check back closer to race date for further details.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Technical Difficulties and Yesterday's News Today: Steamboat Classic 4 Miler and Grandma's Marathon

JRN's mobile unit sustained damage during our recent trip to cover Grandma's Marathon. Apologies in advance for irregular service over the next week as the laptop is repaired, and likewise apologies for delays in responding to email over the same period.

At Grandma's, diminutive 2010 Senshu International Marathon winner Chihiro Tanaka experienced difficulty with the prevail headwinds of the day and finished only 12th. Tanaka did pick up an award for first in the 40+ age group but overall was disappointed with her showing. Invited male athlete Toyokazu Yoshimura ran in the lead pack through halfway before experiencing sharp pain in his left knee and dropping precipitously back in the field.

Japanese runners had a better day at the Steamboat Classic 4-Miler, taking four of the top ten spots in the women's race. Women's results are reproduced below.

2010 Steamboat Classic 4-Miler - Top Women's Finishers
1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 19:56
2. Jelliah Tinega (Kenya) - 20:17
3. Mari Ozaki (Japan) - 20:40
4. Rehima Kedir (Ethiopia) - 20:55
5. Rene Kalmer (South Africa) - 21:08
6. Kaori Oyama (Japan) - 21:16
7. Diane Nukuri-Johns (USA) - 21:26
8. Adriana Pirtea (Romania) - 21:31
9. Misato Horie (Japan) - 21:37
10. Yui Ouchi (Japan) - 21:47

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet Results

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Nahom Mesfin (Ethiopia) - 28:07.80
2. Yoshinori Oda - 28:20.09
3. Daisuke Shimizu - 28:29.85

Women's 5000 m
1. Kazue Kojima - 15:47.55
2. Mai Ito - 15:48.35
3. Chieko Kido - 16:03.16

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Takayuki Matsumiya - 13:39.75
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi - 13:42.50
3. Ryo Kiname - 13:54.54

Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Yushi Nowaki - 14:04.18
2. Yuki Moriwaki - 14:06.88
3. Jeon Eun Hoi (KOR) - 14:07.62

Women's 3000 m
1. Ayaka Mori - 9:26.39
2. Misaki Onishi - 9:27.06
3. Misako Suguro - 9:30.95

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hokuren Distance Challenge Part II - Fukagawa

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m A-heat
1. Micah Njeru (Kenya) - 27:57.91
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya) - 27:59.59
3. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:01.54 - PB

Women's 10000 m
1. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:09.01
2. Remi Nakazato (Team Tenmaya) - 32:12.10
3. Aki Odagiri (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 32:43.45

Men's 10000 m B-heat
1. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:37.89
2. Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:38.99
3. Kenichi Jiromaru (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:42.17

Men's 10000 m C-Heat
1. Teruto Ozaki (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:56.82
2. Jeon Eun Hoi (South Korea) - 29:11.41
3. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 29:15.62

Men's 3000 m
1. Kazuki Hayashi - 8:08.46
2. Tomoya Shirayanagi - 8:08.65
3. Kosuke Murasashi - 8:08.82

Women's 3000 m
1. Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 9:12.74
2. Mai Ito - 9:17.41
3. Sayo Nomura - 9:24.51

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, June 17, 2010

JRN On Location: Grandma's Marathon

JRN will be on location this weekend at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota to cover the race for Runners magazine. Apologies in advance for any interruptions to regularly-scheduled service.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saroma 100 km to Carry On Amid Foot and Mouth Disease Fears

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/agriculture/236959.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

Afraid that the influx of runners and supporters would communicate the foot and mouth disease vector infecting cattle in southern Japan to their local herds, representatives of the Yubetsu Regional Agricultural Cooperative in northern Hokkaido had requested local government officials to cancel this year's 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon. On June 15 members of the Cooperative reached an agreement with the Kitami, Yubestu and Saroma municipal governments for the race to go ahead as planned on June 27.

In past years supporters and some runners had entered fields alongside the course without permission. Local ranchers are afraid that similar behavior from this year's runners, numbered at 3617, would help transmit the soil-borne foot and mouth disease pathogens. The Kitami municipal government proposed a rigorous plan for preventing inadvertent spread of the disease, including antibiotic sprays on road surfaces, increased course marshalling to prevent participants and supporters from leaving the roadway, restricted cheering areas, and portable toilets moved onto roadways. Yubetsu Agricultural Cooperative leader Yuji Tomozawa agreed to the plan, saying, "We accept their proposal and will not ask again that the race be cancelled. Nevertheless, we remain worried about the possibility of the disease spreading."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hokuren Distance Challenge Sapporo Meet - Results

by Brett Larner

The six-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series of summer meets got underway June 14 in Sapporo. Held in towns across Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the Hokuren Distance Challenge has become an important part of the calendar for the hundreds of university and corporate runners who relocate to Hokkaido for summer base training to escape the heat. Top results of this year's Sapporo Meet are reproduced below.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Sapporo Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:25.18
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 13:42.50
3. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 13:44.43
4. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) - 13:45.66
5. Norio Kamijo (Team Aichi Steel) - 13:55.00

Women's 5000 m
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Ent.) - 15:15.27
2. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:41.96
3. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:42.96
4. Maiko Kushima (Niigata Albirex AC) - 16:07.61
5. Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 16:08.16

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 13:50.64
2. Sung Ho Paik (South Korea) - 13:54.76
3. Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:55.27

Men's 3000 m
1. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:15.52
2. Atsushi Ikawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:21.58
3. Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) - 8:24.44

Women's 3000 m
1. Sayaka Murakami (Sapporo Seishu H.S.) - 9:44.74
2. Kaori Ito (Meijo Univ.) - 9:45.18
3. Mika Nakagawa (Sapporo Seishu H.S.) - 9:46.10

Men's 3000 m SC
1. Nahom Mesfin (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 8:18.84
2. Alemu Desta (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki) - 8:40.29
3. Tetsuya Sasaki (Team Chudenko) - 9:07.23

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seko to Support Japan in World Cup Game vs. Cameroon

http://southafrica2010.nikkansports.com/news/p-sc-tp2-20100613-640972.html

translated by Brett Larner

The former star of Japanese marathoning and now director of sports for Team S&B Toshihiko Seko, 53, is in South Africa to cheer for his former classmate at Waseda University, Japanese national soccer team head coach Takeshi Okada, in Japan's June 14 World Cup game versus Cameroon. Seko and Los Angeles Olympics judo gold medalist Yasuhiro Yamashita recently held a send-off party for Okada prior to the team's departure. "Okada's a very straightforward, serious guy," said Seko in support of his old friend. "He's the kind of guy who sticks to what he believes and doesn't care what people say about him. I want him to be himself out there. I think they can win. I want them to make it a good game. If it doesn't go well I want him to repay their airfare."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Local Residents Ask for Cancellation of Lake Saroma 100 km Over Foot and Mouth Disease Fears

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/donai/236194.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Out of fears of the foot and mouth disease which has broken among livestock on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu reaching their local stocks, local residents and agricultural corporation representatives asked town officials in Yubetsu on the northernmost island of Hokkaido on June 10 to cancel the 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km ultramarathon. 3617 runners from across the nation are entered to compete in the event which is scheduled for June 27. Local official Yuji Tomozawa commented, "We've had more and more calls every day from local ranchers and residents asking that the race be cancelled," in explaining the request for the event's cancellation.

Although half the 100 km course is within the municipality of Yubetsu, it also passes through the towns of Kitami and Saroma. A number of cattle ranches and barns are located along the route. Local agricultural cooperative official Naohito Noda told reporters, "We are asking for the race to be cancelled out of concern for farmers in the rest of the country. With so many runners coming here, if there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease while they were here we are afraid they would spread it across the country."

In response to the request, Yubestu General Committee executive Masahiro Kato commented, "I would like to discuss this with my counterparts in Kitami and Saroma. Kitami mayor Tsuneki Kotani made a statement on June 10, saying, "Since the race course is officially certified we cannot change it. I would like to cooperate with the involved municipalities." Officials are examining the possibility of relocating portable toilet facilities onto the roadway so that runners would not need to walk upon local soil as well as the feasibility of covering road surfaces with a disinfectant material.

Translator's note: Last month's Oda Memorial T&F Meet and this month's Ironman Japan triathlon, both located in Kyushu, were both cancelled out of fears of competitors bringing infected soil to the race area on their shoes. Lake Saroma would be the third major event to be cancelled, along with a number of smaller, amateur-level races. The upcoming Sapporo International Half Marathon and Hokuren Distance Challenge series of meets may also be in jeopardy of cancellation.

Noguchi Aims to Make Comeback "Starting With a Half"

http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2010/06/11/0003080689.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Long off the field of battle and sitting on the sidelines, marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) attended a June 11 memorial service for Hanji Aoki, an honorary member of Rikuren's directory board and one of the luminaries of the Japanese athletics world. Asked about her condition, Noguchi told reporters "I'm back in training. It's not to the point where I can plan my next race. But anyway, my main focus is on getting my muscles back into the condition they used to be in."

At the memorial service Noguchi sat at the same table with the women who preceeded her as Olympic marathon medalists, Yuko Arimori and Naoko Takahashi. "We talked a bit," said Noguchi. "They told me that I have to make a comeback, that I can't keep on like this. I was really happy to hear such warm words of support coming from people like them. It makes me want to do it," she said with a smile which showed that her drive to make the London Olympics is still burning strong.

"I don't know when my comeback race will be yet," she went on, "but I'm back to working on my speed on the track. I'd like to start with a half marathon." For the former 'Queen of the Half Marathon' it would be a major step to return to her best distance.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Planned New 'Tokyo Marathon Foundation' Pledged to be Corruption-Free

http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20100609ddlk13010254000c.html
http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00178713.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kanto/tokyo/100608/tky1006081853016-n1.htm

translated and edited by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

At the regular meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on June 8, Metropolitan Government officials held a public question and answer session with representatives of the four major political parties. Among the topics was the planned incorporation of a "Tokyo Marathon Foundation" to oversee management of the event's future. The Minshu Party questioned whether the Foundation would be merely "a cushy perk for upper-level bureaucrats leaving direct public service." Metropolitan officials explained, "The Foundation will serve to maintain the race's organization and thereby allow it to operate as a world-class marathon event. There will be no favoritism for government officials in obtaining positions in the Foundation."

Having been held four times since its inception in 2007, the Tokyo Marathon has thus far been operated by a committee consisting of members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese athletics federation Rikuren and the media. Now the Metropolitan Government is planning to spend $8 million to establish the Tokyo Marathon Foundation. Minshu Party representatives questioned whether this move is in opposition to ongoing administrative reforms. An official from the Metropolitan Government's Lifestyle, Culture and Sports Bureau answered, "By unifying responsibilities, the race administration will become more efficient and the financial burden upon the Metropolitan Government will be reduced." The official also stated that the contract laying out the terms for the business the Foundation will receive from the Metropolitan Government is subject to the Government's standard disclosure policies.

Jimin Party representatives gave a positive evaluation of the proposal, saying, "By incorporating the event's management they will be able to meet the race's needs and stabilize its operation." Mayor Shintaro Ishihara commented, "The Tokyo Marathon has had a very positive response from overseas. It is like a large festival uniting the city through thousands of volunteers and spectators coming together. We hope to use the advantages brought by incorporating the race to help the Tokyo Marathon become a major charity fundraiser and the world's greatest marathon event."

Yoshio Koide, the famed coach of Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former marathon world record holder Naoko Takahashi, visited with Metropolitan Government officials the same day to voice his support for the establishment of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation. "The Tokyo Marathon is far too large-scale an event to be handled by City Hall," he told them. "The move to incorporate the race's management will have untold benefits and will significantly help to pull in the needed major corporate sponsors. Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and the other big races all do it that way, so we should do it here in Japan. I strongly urge you to take this step."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Miss International Queen 2009 to Run 100 km 'New Half Marathon'

http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/100609/gnf1006090505001-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

2009 Miss International Queen pageant winner Ai Haruna, 37, announced at a Tokyo-area press conference on June 8 that she intends to run a 100 km ultramarathon as part of Nihon TV's "24 Hour Television 33: Love Will Save the Earth" annual charity fundraiser on August 28 and 29. Haruna made the announcement after appearing on the TV program "Ten O'Clock Witches," nervously saying, "I'm pretty worried about it but I'll do my best." The 100 km event, which each year follows a celebrity runner over the course of the broadcast, became part of 24 Hour Television in 1992. Six women have taken part so far, but Haruna will be the first transsexual celebrity to have run.

Last year Haruna undertook a strict diet and exercise regimen to get into shape for the Miss International Queen "new half" transsexual and transgender beauty pageant, becoming the event's first Japanese winner. After winning the title Haruna found that the discipline and constant striving for self-improvement which came with the training had become an important part of her daily life, and she continued to stay in shape.

Having began training for the 100 km run early last month, Haruna has gradually progressed in distance to the point where she has done an 8 km long run. "My body is so weak!" she admitted, revealing her anxiety about the event. "I'm terrible at running and sports!" Worried about her always-immaculate makeup streaking with sweat, Haruna told reporters, "I want a makeup kit at every water station. It's going to take so long that I'm worried my beard will start to grow, so I'm going to have my facial hair permanently removed first." "Ten O'Clock Witches" host Junji Takada, 63, retorted, "Why don't you just run wearing a mask?" Can the beauty queen really complete her first "new half marathon?" The charity program's patented theme song "Sarai" awaits her at the finish line.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shibui and Ohira 1-2 in New York (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update 6/9/10: It seems the original results listing on the Japan Run website was incorrect and that Ohira actually finished 1st, with Shibui 2nd. Currently awaiting confirmation that this was the case.

Guest runners Yoko Shibui and Miki Ohira of Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo went an easy 1-2 at the Japan Run 4-Miler in New York's Central Park, part of the June 6 Japan Day festivities. The pair's times of 22:49 and 23:23 were unremarkable and far slower than their marathon paces, but at least in Shibui's case the run was noteworthy in that it was her first race since December's National Jitsugyodan Ekiden Championships and only her second since sustaining a stress fracture after last summer's San Francisco Marathon. She is evidently back on her feet, but whether 10000 m national record holder Shibui is back in one piece remains to be seen.

2010 Japan Run 4-Miler - Top Women
click here for complete results
1. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 22:49
2. Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 23:23
3. Fiona Bayly (UATH) - 24:14

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fukushi Doubles - Japanese National Championships Day Three

by Brett Larner

Strong winds meant slower times than anticipated across the board on the final day of the 2010 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, but many races nevertheless saw unexpected and dramatic results. Both sprint finals featured upset wins. In the women's 200 m, Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) finally got the better of the marginally more talented national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido HiTec AC), her strong finish finally overcoming Fukushima's faster start as she muscled out a win by 0.01 seconds in the final steps of the straight. Defending men's 100 m national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) finally got the title for real, beating Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) after gaining last year's title be default when Tsukahara withdrew before the final.

In the women's 5000 m, Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) took the top spot, while national record holder Kayoko Fukushi came 2nd to reclaim the national title after three years and complete the 5000-10000 m double. Fukushi took the race out at 15:20 pace, but when she began to slack after 2000 m Karindi was quick to take the lead and ran the rest of the race unchallenged to win in 15:15.46. Fukushi was likewise on her own for the duration, while 10000 m runner-up Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) had another good run for 3rd. Defending national champion Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) was 5th, while 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) dropped out early in the race after failing to start in the 1500 m.

As in the 10000 m, the men's race provided more action. Top Kenyan Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) took it easy for the first km, allowing teenager Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) to lead the first km in 2:39 with 10000 m national champion Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), frosh Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and little-heralded former university ace Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) close behind. When Mathathi took over he and Karoki were soon on their own, while Takezawa and the others gradually fell behind and were overtaken by a chase pack led by defending national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B).

Ueno, 2008 World Half Marathon 5th placer Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) and university ace Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) traded the chase pack lead for the rest of the race, while a clearly fatigued Takezawa lost touch. In the final lap Matsuoka pulled away and to the surprise of all received a strong challenge on the final curve from former Toyo University captain Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei). The pair was nearly run down by Takezawa and his unparalleled finishing speed but were just out of range. As Mathathi took an evenly-paced win in 13:16.91, Matsuoka just held Onishi off for 3rd in 13:40.11 for his first national title. Defending champ Ueno, 3rd in the 1500 m, was only 13th in 13:56.22.

2010 National T&F Championships - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 13:16.91
2. Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) - 13:23.85
3. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:40.11
4. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:40.52
5. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:41.73
6. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:42.63
7. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:42.68
8. Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:42.69
9. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:42.96
10. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:46.81

Women's 5000 m
1. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:15.46
2. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:29.80
3. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 15:41.40
4. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 15:41.96
5. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 15:46.19
6. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 15:49.97
7. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:50.29
8. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:54.00
9. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 15:57.76
10. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 16:09.53

Men's 800 m - final
1. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:47.25
2. Ryosuke Awaji (Meiji Univ.) - 1:48.88
3. Yasuhiro Makino (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:50.16

Women's 800 m - final
1. Akari Kishikawa (STCI AC) - 2:05.22
2. Ruriko Kubo (Team DeoDeo) - 2:06.47
3. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 2:07.60

Men's 400 m - final
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.56
2. Yusuke Ishitsuka (Team Mizuno) - 46.03
3. Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) - 46.05

Women's 200 m - final (-1.4 m/s wind)
1. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 23.56
2. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 23.57
3. Saori Imai (Shigakkan Univ.) - 24.15

Men's 100 m - final (+0.0 m/s wind)
1. Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 10.26
2. Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - 10.45
3. Hirotaka Taguchi (Chukyo Univ.) - 10.47

Women's 400 mH - final
1. Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex AC) - 55.83
2. Miyabe Tago (Chuo Univ.) - 56.31
3. Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) - 56.90

Women's 100 mH - final (-2.0 m/s wind)
1. Asuka Terada (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 13.32
2. Rena Joshita (Yokohama T&F Assoc.) - 13.57
3. Mami Ishino (Team Hasegawa) - 13.58

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Japanese National T&F Championships - Day Two Results

by Brett Larner

2010 National T&F Championships - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 1500 m - final
1. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:45.76
2. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:45.81
3. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 3:46.15

Women's 1500 m - final
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 4:18.68
2. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) - 4:19.91
3. Yukari Nomura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:20.98

Women's 400 m - final
1. Chisato Tanaka (Fukuoka Univ.) - 54.46
2. Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) - 54.56
3. Asami Chiba (Team Natureal) - 54.64

Men's 200 m - final (+1.2 m/s wind)
1. Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Seiren) - 20.38 - PB
2. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.74
3. Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - 20.80

Women's 100 m - final (+0.9 m/s wind)
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 11.30
2. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.39
3. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Natureal) - 11.66

Men's 3000 mSC - final
1. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:47.61
2. Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:50.02
3. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:50.93

Women's 3000 mSC - final
1. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:56.25
2. Yoshika Arai (Team DeoDeo) - 10:04.37
3. Mai Hashimoto (Team Wacoal) - 10:13.37

Men's 400 mH - final
1. Kenji Narisako (Team Mizuno) - 49.01
2. Naohiro Kawakita (Team Ishimaru) - 49.63
3. Takayuki Koike (Team Mizuno) - 49.76

Men's 110 mH - final (+1.8 m/s wind)
1. Tasuku Tanonaka (Team Fujitsu) - 13:58
2. Yuto Aoki (Team Messias) - 13.66
3. Yutaro Furukawa (Team Kojima Press) - 13.72

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Fukushi and Takezawa Win 10000 m at National Championships

by Brett Larner

The 2010 Japanese National Track and Field Championships got underway June 4 in Marugame, Kagawa prefecture. At stake for competitors this year are places on the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games. The first day of competition saw the women's and men's 10000 m.

In the women's 10000 m, multiple past national champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) returned to the top for the first time in three years. Fukushi ran the entire race alone and unchallenged, taking it out in 3:06 for the first km with no one even near. Fukushi finished in 31:47.56, her closest competition over half a lap behind as Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) came 2nd in 32:31.64. Defending champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), still working her way back from a marathon PB in London at the end of April, was 3rd in 32:36.32.

The men's 10000 m was more dramatic if slower. Young pro Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and university star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) alternated the lead for the first four km, with Okamoto eventually dropping out. First-year corporate runner and former Komazawa University ace Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) took over next and led through 9000 m, briefly challenged by Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) with a thick pack just behind. Hitting 9000 m in 26:04, Ugachi finished 8th in 28:48.37. Emerging on top of the chaotic last km was the talented Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), whose impressive finishing speed gave him a 2:38 final km for the win in 28:43.08. Teammates Satoru Kitamura and Yuki Sato (both Team Nissin Shokuhin) were just behind, Kitamura suprisingly outlasting 27:38 man Sato for 2nd in 28:44.16. Defending national champion Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) was only 11th in 29:12.02.

2010 National T&F Championships - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 28:43.08
2. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:44.16
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:44.59
4. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 28:45.94
5. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:46.23
6. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 28:46.34
7. Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 28:47.11
8. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:48.37
9. Atsushi Ikawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 29:05.27
10. Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 29:07.58

Women's 10000 m
1. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 31:47.56
2. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 32:31.64
3. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 32:36.32
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:38.43
5. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 32:39.98
6. Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:56.44
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 33:08.38
8. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:19.59
9. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 33:23.60
10. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 34:14.23

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Haile and Arata

The New York Road Runners held a press conference June 2 at Icahn Stadium as part of a National Running Day event to announce that Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie and Japan's #1 marathoner, Arata Fujiwara, will run this year's ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7. JRN was there to cover the event. One of the better birthdays I've had.















all photos (c) 2010 Yasunori Sakamaki
all rights reserved

Arata Fujiwara to Run ING New York City Marathon

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010060200286

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Following his course-record win at the May 30 Ottawa Marathon, Berlin World Championships marathoner Arata Fujiwara announced on June 1 that he will run the Nov. 7 ING New York City Marathon. Speaking at a press conference in New York following a tour of the marathon's hilly course, Fujiwara told members of the media, "I think the Ottawa Marathon was the perfect experience to be ready for the ING New York City Marathon."

Fujiwara will be the best Japanese man to have ever run in New York, the only major marathon to have never had a Japanese winner. "I've always wanted to run the ING New York City Marathon because it's the most famous marathon in the world and this where all the great runners come," he said at the press conference. "You have to win here to be the best." He also plans to run July's Sapporo International Half Marathon as part of his preparation.

Fujiwara, who finished 2nd in February's Tokyo Marathon, quit his position with the JR Higashi Japan corporate team in March in order to focus on racing overseas. Based in Tokyo, he is pursuing his own path to the 2012 London Olympics.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

'Ethiopia Sweeps BolderBOULDER 10K Titles Again'

http://runningusa.org/node/58135#58136

Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) was the top Japanese finisher, 10th in the women's race in 34:53.