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

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yamada Denki Women's Team Nagano Training Camp in Pictures

all photos by Brett Larner

Two women from the Yamada Denki women's ekiden team, 2:28 marathoner Ayumi Nakayama and 1:10 half marathoner Maki Suzawa, will be running next month's Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Yamada Denki head coach Katsuaki Isobata invited JRN to attend Yamada Denki's altitude training camp in Sugadaira, Nagano the last weekend of August to watch some of Nakayama and Suzawa's training. Below are some photos of the weekend, primarily of a 30 km tempo run Nakayama did with accompaniment from several teammates. Click photos to enlarge.

The start point of Sugadaira's main road loop, a course of about 6.5 km in length at 1300 m elevation.
Nakayama, left, in singlet, on the first loop of her 30 km run paced by teammates Megumi Kanetomo and Aoi Miyaji. Coach Isobata follows in a car shouting out instructions and pace.

Nakayama is wearing pink Mimura brand shoes custom-made by master craftsman Hitoshi Mimura.
Miyaji takes a turn leading near the end of the first loop.
At 10 km Maiko Yamaguchi joins in and takes over pacing as Miyaji drops out to jog the rest of the loop.



The biggest uphill on the loop.


Kanetomo wraps up after two laps, leaving Yamaguchi to take Nakayama through the third lap.

Nakayama moves ahead halfway through the third lap.
Across town, the Athens Olympics Memorial Mizuki Noguchi Cross Country Course is another of the main workout sites for elites training in Sugadaira. The course consists of grassy loops of 500 m, 1 km, 2 km and 4 km in length with a start and finish at 1500 m and a maximum height on the 4 km loop near 1650 m.
An account of Mizuki Noguchi's gold medal run at the Athens Olympics on the side of the rock monument pictured above.
The start and finish point for the 1 km, 2 km and 4 km loops.
Another view of the start point.
Looking across the course up the side of the mountain.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hara Returns, Njui Wins Debut at Hokkaido Marathon

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/248520.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click link above for video highlights

The 2010 Hokkaido Marathon took place Aug. 29 in Sapporo, Hokkaido under exceptionally hot and humid conditions with 27 degree temperatures and 70% humidity at the start. Two-time World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara (Team Universal Entertainment) won the women's race in 2:34:12 in her debut wearing the Universal uniform after a year of inactivity following her sudden departure from former sponsor Team Kyocera. Kenyan Cyrus Njui (Team Hitachi Cable), winner of last month's Sapporo Half Marathon, won the men's race in 2:11:22, his debut over the marathon distance and the second-fastest time ever recorded in Hokkaido.

Njui broke away from leader Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) at 38 km to seal the win in an outstanding time for the Hokkaido course. General division entrant Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) likewise overtook the fading Mogusu for 2nd, while Mogusu staggered in for 3rd to complete the Kenyan hat trick.

Former Team Kyocera ace Hara and the team's current star Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) were pitched in a one-on-one race by halfway. With a surge at 32 km Hara put herself into position for the win. Miyauchi held on for 2nd ahead of Hara's teammate Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Entertainment), the 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner.

This year's edition was the 24th running of the Hokkaido Marathon, an event which lets amateurs run in the same race as top pros. 8861 people entered, 7959 began the race and 5715 finished.

2010 Hokkaido Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men
1. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 2:11:22 - debut
2. Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 2:13:04 - PB
3. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 2:16:38 - PB
4. Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S. AC) - 2:18:17
5. Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK) - 2:18:31

Women
1. Yumiko Hara (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:34:12
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:35:42
3. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:36:07
4. Chinami Fukaminato (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:40:28
5. Ikuyo Yamashita (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:41:19

46th International Antwerp Athletics Gala - Top Results

2010 International Antwerp Athletics Gala
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 13:32.10 - PB
2. Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) - 13:45.74
3. Yo Yazawa (Waseda Univ.) - 13:52.88
4. Clint Perret (Australia) - 13:59.25
5. Jonathan Pierce (U.S.A.) - 14:03.90

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mizuki Noguchi Announces Plans for Fall Half Marathon

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2010/08/27/11.html

translated by Brett Larner

Back to full training for the first time since a left thigh injury knocked her out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, women's marathon national record holder and Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (32, Team Sysmex) announced on Aug. 26 that she plans to make a return this year with a half marathon.

In July Noguchi went to Sugadaira, Nagano for her first full-effort gasshuku training camp since the injury. She is currently training in Hokkaido together with her teammates, where she has extended her long runs up to the 30 km level. Team Sysmex coach Hisakazu Hirose commented, "She's back to running like her old self. This fall or winter Mizuki will do a half marathon."

Noguchi has not run a race since her victory at the Sendai International Half Marathon on May 11, 2008.* She has been talking discreetly with several domestic and overseas races to find the option best-suited for her comeback. Looking toward the 2012 London Olympics, Noguchi's first major checkpoint will be next summer's World Championships marathon in Daegu, Korea and its domestic selection races January through March next year.

*Translator's note: Noguchi's last race before her injury was actually the anchor leg of a 4 X 400 m relay on May 18, 2008 at the Kansai Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships. Click here for photos.

This isn't the first time Sysmex has announced that Noguchi was ready for a comeback race, but this time they do sound serious. Should Noguchi opt for a domestic half marathon it would likely be November's final running of the Kobe Women's Half Marathon. The only other option would be the Sanyo Women's Road Race in late December.

Watch the Hokkaido Marathon Live Online - Preview

by Brett Larner

Each year the Hokkaido Marathon in Japan's northernmost major city of Sapporo is the first elite race on the worldwide fall marathon season calendar. Although it rarely has overseas elites, Hokkaido showcases much of Japan's up-and-coming talent and some of the better Japan-based Africans. This year's race takes place this Sunday, Aug. 29. The race will be broadcast live on Fuji TV starting at noon, a broadcast which overseas viewers can watch for free by clicking here. Additionally, this year for the first time Hokkaido will sponsor a 5-hour official webcast via Ustream. Check the Hokkaido Marathon website closer to race date for more information.

The men's race features the return of defending champion Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult). The veteran Njenga may have slipped from the ranks of the world's top-tier marathoners but his world record-pace surge in the middle of last year's race showed that he still has the ability to compete and win. His main competition comes from first-timer Silas Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) and ace half-marathoner Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem). Njui won last month's Sapporo International Half Marathon in decisive fashion over sub-hour half-marathoner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and comes to Hokkaido as the likely favorite. Mogusu, a talented runner who DNF'd in his marathon debut at last December's Fukuoka International Marathon, was nearly two minutes behind Njui at the Sapporo Half.

A Japanese challenge is most likely to come from 2008 winner Masaru Takamizawa, an assistant coach at national champion Saku Chosei H.S. Takamizawa, inspired by the example of his wife Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) who won last year's Hokkaido Marathon in a course-record time, is talking about winning with Hokkaido's first-ever sub-2:10. Other top Japanese runners include 2010 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) and 2:11:47 man Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei).

The Hokkaido women's race has for years been dominated by runners from Second Wind AC, but with past winners Shimahara and Yuri Kano running November's Asian Games marathon and the retirement of last year's runner-up Akemi Ozaki this year's invited athlete field is made up entirely of runners from the Yoshio Koide-coached Team Universal Entertainment and Team Kyocera. Universal sends four runners including 2008 winner Yukari Sahaku and 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa while Kyocera's contingent is made up of identical twins Hiroko and Yoko Miyauchi who have been on top of the domestic elite half marathon scene this year.

However, the biggest news in the field is the Universal debut of former Kyocera star Yumiko Hara. Hara, a 2:23 runner and two-time World Championships marathoner while at Kyocera, left the team in April 2009 after a change in Kyocera's leadership. Absent from the scene for a year, she unexpectedly turned up this April in the Koide stable at Universal. Hokkaido will be her debut in her new uniform, and it is safe to say that the majority of the media attention will be focused on her. Whoever wins will stand a chance of being selected for next summer's World Championships team should her time be strong enough.

2010 Hokkaido Marathon Elite Field
click here for more detailed profiles
Men
Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 2:06:16 (Chicago '02)
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:47 (Tokyo '08)
Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S. AC) - 2:12:10 (Hokkaido '08)
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18 (Nobeoka '10)
Takaaki Koda (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:04 (Tokyo '10)
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:14:34 (Hokkaido '09)
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 59:48 (Marugame Half '07)
Silas Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:01:03 (Sapporo Half '09) - debut
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:01:19 (Sapporo Half '08) - debut

Women
Yumiko Hara (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:23:48 (Osaka '07)
Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:25:38 (Tokyo '09)
Yukari Sahaku (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:28:55 (Tokyo '09)
Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC RC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya '02)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:32:20 (Yokohama '09)
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:33:36 (Nagoya '10)
Satoko Uetani (Kobe Gakuin Univ. AC) - 2:33:55 (Hokkaido '09)
Nami Tani (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:33:59 (Hokkaido '09)
Misuzu Okamoto (Team Hokkoku Bank) - 2:34:12 (Hokkaido '09)
Chinami Fukaminato (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:34:16 (Hokkaido '09)
Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 2:35:51 (Nagoya '09)

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 26, 2010

World Championships Medalist Chiba Gives Talk at Ichinoseki Elementary

http://mytown.asahi.com/iwate/news.php?k_id=03000001008260003

translated by Brett Larner

One of the greats of Japanese distance running, 1996 Atlanta Olympian Masako Chiba (34), gave a talk before 74 5th graders at Hagiso Elementary School in Ichinoseki, Iwate on Aug. 25. Chiba appeared at the school as part of the "Classroom of Dreams Project" sponsored by the Japan Soccer Federation. As part of the opening session with students in the school's gymnasium, Chiba talked about the techniques behind running faster, the right way to train, speedwork, making use of her experience to set an example for the children. She showed students how changing your arm carriage affects your stride, a demonstration that had many students calling out, "Wow!"

Changing venues to a classroom, Chiba talked about her 15 year-long career as one of the world's top distance runners. She told students about finishing 5th in the Atlanta Olympics 10000 m and showed them her two World Championships bronze medals, one from the 1997 World Championships 10000 m and one from the 2003 World Championships marathon. She told students that whenever a race got tough and she didn't feel like she could keep going, "It was really important to believe in myself," and that, "The hero in the story of my life is me."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toyo Univ. Training for 3rd Hakone Win in Yamakoshi, Niigata

http://mytown.asahi.com/niigata/news.php?k_id=16000001008250005
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/kyoiku/news/20100824-OYT8T00394.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Two-time defending Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University's ekiden squad arrived in Yamakoshi, Niigata on Aug. 24 for a 5-day late-summer gasshuku intensive training camp. The 60 Toyo athletes attending the camp include the team's 12-member A-squad featuring captain Hikaru Tominaga and astounding Hakone Fifth Stage uphill specialist Ryuji Kashiwabara. On the first day of the camp 13 members of the team ran a rigorous speed workout. According to assistant coach Hisashi Sato, Toyo runners will average 30-40 km a day at the camp on the rugged and hilly roads around Yamakoshi. Tominaga commented, "The gasshuku in Yamakoshi is critical to our preparations and we can't afford to slack off here. The training is tough but knowing that it's all for Hakone keeps us motivated to give it everything we have."

Six years ago student volunteers from Toyo went to Yamakoshi in the aftermath of a serious earthquake to help with relief efforts, creating a strong bond between the town and the school. In 2008 the ekiden team held its first gasshuku in Yamakoshi the summer before its first Hakone win. Since then Toyo's ekiden squad has become a source of great local pride, with town residents supporting them as if they were native born and bred. Gasshuku leader Hisako Nagashima said, "Seeing how the people of Yamakoshi held together through disaster and emerged stronger and closer to each other has been a great inspiration for the Toyo runners. 'Yamakoshi Soul' is now the team's motto for its Hakone training."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Team S&B at Slovakia EA Classic - Results

2010 EA Classic Atleticky Most, Slovakia - Top Results
click event header for complete results
Men's 5000 m
1. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 13:26.03
2. Paul Lonyangat (Kenya) - 13:30.58
3. Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) - 13:32.56
-----
7. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 14:07.00
8. Yo Yazawa (Waseda Univ.) - 14:14.32
9. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 14:19.04

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Silver for Kyuma, Homma and Nashimoto; Nishiike Just Outside Medals at Youth Olympics

by Brett Larner

Double-click video to open in new window and bypass IOC block.

Despite holding PB and SB times head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m final, Moe Kyuma only managed a silver medal performance with a clocking of 9:23.70, 10 seconds behind Kenyan winner Gladys Chesir who recorded a PB of 9:13.58. Kyuma and Chesir battled from the outset, but after a 3:01.62 first km Kyuma backed off while Chesir, pursued by Eritrean Samrawit Mengisteab, continued to push on. Mengisteab lost touch within 200 m, and by 1600 m Kyuma had overtaken her for 2nd.

At 2000 m Chesir clocked 6:04.09 to Kyuma's 6:14.68. The gap widened slightly over the next 400 m, but over the final 600 m Kyuma steadily reeled Chesir back in. Only over the last 100 m did Chesir again pull away, her winning time nearly 5 seconds off Kyuma's best. With only a decent performance Kyuma easily held 2nd. Mengisteab was overtaken by Greek runner Aikaterini Berdousi and Romanian Monica Florea but outkicked them for 3rd. Although official results at this writing still list Mengisteab as the 3rd place finisher, at the medal ceremony it was reported that she had been disqualified and the bronze medal was awarded to Berdousi, who recorded a PB of 9:37.56.

Double-click video to open in new window and bypass IOC block.

In the boys' 3000 m, Kazuto Nishiike delivered a nearly flawless performance but came up an agonizing 0.02 seconds short of the medals despite a PB of nearly 5 seconds. Ranked 4th in the field, Nishiike went out hard, running the first lap in 2nd place. Soon swallowed into the pack as the pace slowed to a 2:47.17 first km, at 1300 m he was the only runner to cover Kenyan Josphat Kiptis' sudden surge into the lead. A faster second kilometer led to a 5:32.58 split for 2000 m, with Nishiike again covering a surge by Ethiopian favorite Fekure Jebesa and Moroccan Hicham Sigueni at 2200 m.

The race slowed and bunched at 2400 m, and if there was any fault in Nishiike's run it was that he did not make an effort to take the lead at this point. Instead, he waited until the start of the final lap at 2600 m to move into the front, but within 50 m he was again swallowed by the African surge. Eventual Eritrean winner Abrar Osman's sensational kick with 250 m to go settled his gold, but as in the qualification round Nishiike had the next fastest final 200 m, coming from far behind to pull even with Jebesa and Sigueni at the line. Sigueni dove for the line and collided with Jebesa, but the move was enough to cost Nishiike a medal as the pair finished 0.04 and 0.02 second respectively ahead of the Japanese runner in a photo finish.

Although he came up short, the facts that Nishiike was only 0.04 seconds from a silver medal, ran PBs in both the qualification round and the final, and was the only non-African not to finish in the last three spots in the field show strength and future potential for this young high school runner. Kyuma may be going home with a medal, but Nishiike's run remains the superior performance.

Kyuma was not alone in picking up silver. Continuing the sprint renaissance the country has seen since Japan's 4 x 100 m bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, sprinters Masaki Nashimoto and Keisuke Homma took silver in the boys' 100 m and 200 m respectively. Nashimoto, the 2009 Asian youth champion, ran a PB of 10.51 in the 100 m, finishing 0.09 behind Jamaican Odane Skeen who likewise ran a PB. No doubt feeling some motivation from Shota Iizuka's gold in last month's World Junior Championships 200 m, Homma led through the curve but could not quite hold off China's Zhenye Xie, who won by a margin of just 0.05.

2010 Youth Olympics - Top Results
click event header for complete results
Girls' 3000 m - Final
1. Gladys Chesir (KEN) - 9:13.58 - PB
2. Moe Kyuma (JPN) - 9:23.70
3. Aikaterini Berdousi (GRE) - 9:37.56 - PB
4. Monica Florea (ROU) - 9:38.64 - PB

Boys' 3000 m - Final
1. Abrar Osman (ERI) - 8:07.24
2. Fekru Jebesa (ETH) - 8:08.53
3. Hicham Sigueni (MAR) - 8:08.55
4. Kazuto Nishiike (JPN) - 8:08.57 - PB

Boys' 200 m - Final
1. Zhenye Xie (CHN) - 21.22
2. Keisuke Homma (JPN) - 21.27
3. Patrick Domogala (GER) - 21.36
4. Brandon Sanders (USA) - 21.44

Boys' 100 m - Final
1. Odane Skeen (JAM) - 10.42 - PB
2. Masaki Nashimoto (JPN) - 10.51 - PB
3. David Bolarinwa (GBR) - 10.51
4. Tahir Walsh (ANT) - 10.71

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Watch the 2010 Youth Olympics 3000 m Finals Live Online

by Brett Larner

The girls' and boys' 3000 m finals will be broadcast live on the 2010 Youth Olympic Games' outstanding website on Aug. 22. Throughout the Singapore Games the website has offered a glimpse of how coverage of an international championship event should be: eight online channels offering a range of different sports, many of which never make mainstream television coverage otherwise, as well as a selection of events available on demand and a ninth channel with news and highlights. All for free. No doubt this indicates a lack of interest in purchasing broadcast rights on the part of major broadcasters, but the quality of the Youth Olympics coverage simply illustrates how much the major broadcasters shortchange their viewers during the regular Olympics and other championship events by offering nothing comparable, even on a pay-per-view basis.

The girls' 3000 m final begins at 8:05 p.m. Singapore time, 9:05 p.m. Japan time on Channel 1. Japanese ace Moe Kyuma, holder of the fastest PB and SB in the field, ran a conservative qualification round, finishing 2nd 10 seconds behind Kenyan Gladys Chesir who ran a PB but still finished 7 seconds off Kyuma's SB. If Kyuma is in peak form then Chesir stands little chance of a gold medal. A more likely challenger is Eritrean Samrawit Mengisteab, whose PB and SB is only 1 second off Kyuma's best time this year. She finished only 4th in the qualification round 8 seconds back from Kyuma but may well have been coasting her way through to the final.

Japan will be harder-pressed for a medal in the boys' 3000 m, but Kazuto Nishiike nevertheless has a realistic chance. Ranked 4th going into the qualification round, he ran a PB of 8:13.05 to finish 4th but was only 0.40 seconds behind winner Fekru Jebesa of Ethiopia and only 0.10 out of 3rd. The other medal contenders may outweigh him in credentials but should the final prove tactical Nishiike could luck into the medals. The boys' 3000 m will be broadcast at 8:28 p.m. Singapore time on Channel 1, 9:28 p.m. Japan time.

Click here to watch live.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kyushu T&F Championships Day Two - Results

2010 Kyushu T&F Championships - Top Results
click event header for complete results
Women's 5000 m
1. Kazuka Wakatsuki (Team Toto) - 16:25.45
2. Yoko Nishimi (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 16:41.07
3. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 17:02.54

Men's 5000 m
1. Takehiro Arakawa (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:23.67
2. Taku Miyahara (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 14:26.85
3. Tomoaki Bungo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:29.25

Junior Women's 3000 m - Heat 3
1. Tomoka Kimura (1st yr., Chikushi Jogakuen H.S.) - 9:26.99
2. Maika Nishi (3rd yr., Kumamoto Shinai Joshi H.S.) - 9:47.66
3. Kaho Sasaki (2nd yr., Chikushi Jogakuen H.S.) - 9:49.11

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kyushu Track & Field Championships - Results

2010 Kyushu Track & Field Championships - Top Results
click event headers for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) - 30:35.02
2. Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 30:36.41
3. Yuji Iwata (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 31:16.19

Women's 10000 m
1. Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 36:14.43
2. Naoko Inoue (Team Nantick) - 37:26.32
3. Yuki Taniyama (Team Nantick) - 38:12.45

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kyuma and Nishiike Advance to 3000 m Finals at Youth Olympics (updated)

Double-click video to open in new window and bypass IOC block.

by Brett Larner

On the first day of track and field competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore on Aug. 17, Japan's Moe Kyuma and Kazuto Nishiike easily advanced to the A-final in the girls' and boys' 3000 m races. In the opposite approach to most championships, all entrants in the Youth Olympics Games 3000 m competed in the qualifying round at the same time, with the results dividing the field into several different final rounds. Only those in the A-final are elligible to receive a medal.

Kyuma, holder of both the fastest personal and season bests in the girls' field, ran comfortably in the qualifying round to finish 2nd in 9:35.33. Qualifying round winner Gladys Chesir of Kenya ran a PB of 9:25.44 but was still over 15 seconds off Kyuma's best and nearly 10 seconds off her season best. In the boys' race, Nishiike was ranked only 4th coming into the qualifying round and, despite running a PB of 8:13.05, finished equal with his ranking. He nevertheless showed strong closing speed and just missed catching Moroccan Hicham Sigueni for 3rd. Fekru Jebesa of Ethiopia won the qualifying round in 8:12.65.

The finals of both the girls' and boys' 3000 m take place Aug. 22. Both races are scheduled to be broadcast through the excellent Youth Olympic Games website.

2010 Youth Olympic Games - top finishers
Girls' 3000 m - Qualifying Round
click here for complete results
1. Gladys Chesir (KEN) - 9:25.44 - PB
2. Moe Kyuma (JPN) - 9:35.33
3. Monica Florea (ROM) - 9:39.00 - PB
4. Samrawit Mengisteab (ERI) - 9:43.25
5. Aikaterini Berdousi (GRE) - 9:44.73 - PB

Boys' 3000 m - Qualifying Round
click here for complete results
1. Fekru Jebesa (ETH) - 8:12.65
2. Abrar Osman (ERI) - 8:12.80
3. Hicham Sigueni (MAR) - 8:12.95
4. Kazuto Nishiike (JPN) - 8:13.05 - PB
5. Josphat Kiprop Kiptis (KEN) - 8:14.08

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ueno Clocks 1500 m PB in Leuven

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/100815/spg1008152024002-n1.htm
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010081500118

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At an international athletics meet in Leuven, Belgium on Aug. 14, 2009 men's 1500 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) recorded a PB of 3:39.52 while finishing 5th. His teammate Bitan Karoki (Team S&B) was 4th in the 3000 m in 7:51.91 with fellow teammate Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) 11th in 8:00.21. Waseda University junior Yo Yazawa was 7th in 7:57.62. Ueno's time was a PB by 1.31 seconds and puts him 2.10 seconds off the Japanese national record.

The same day at a meet in Fribourg, Switzerland, women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Team Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) won the 100 m in 11.32 with her longtime rival Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) 3rd in 11.64. Takahashi was also 2nd in the 200 m in 23.87. The pair, part of a first-ever Rikuren-sponsored European trip for Japan's top sprinter women, are scheduled to return to Japan on Aug. 16.

Click here for complete Leuven results. 10000 m national champion Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) appears to have been a pacemaker in the men's 3000 m.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Training Where It's Cool - Kanto University Ekiden Training Camps in Full Swing

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/chiiki4/246285.html

translated by Brett Larner

Across Hokkaido the summer gasshuku training camp season is underway for the top university teams in the ultra-competitive Kanto region. With two new Kenyan recruits in its lineup, Takushoku University arrived in Mombetsu, Hokkaido on Aug. 13. Takushoku is just one of nine schools training in the area as they seek to run the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. Including athletes and coaches, the 27 members of the Takushoku squad landed at Mombetsu Airport on Aug. 13 and immediately ran their first practice session. Scheduled to be in Mombetsu through the 23rd, the team's training plan calls for runners to average 40 km a day throughout the gasshuku to build a base for October's Hakone Ekiden qualifier Yosenkai 20 km Road Race.

In Mombetsu for the sixth time, assistant coach Keigo Tabata (26) explained why the Mombetsu region is good for training, saying, "The weather is cool here and there isn't much traffic so we can train safely here." Junior Kenta Ishii (21) commented, "Nothing is better for recovering from a hard workout than Mombetsu's delicious local fish."

Thanks to the efforts of the Mombetsu chamber of commerce, between now and mid-September nine Kanto-region universities will hold gasshuku in the area including four schools seeded for the 2011 Hakone Ekiden: Chuo University, Josai University, Aoyama Gakuin University and Meiji University.

Translator's note: Summer gasshuku have a significant impact on the local economies of rural towns across Hokkaido, Nagano and elsewhere in Japan. For a detailed look at Josai University's summer training menus click here (subscription required). For a more general look at a Josai gasshuku click here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fukushima, Fukushi Lead Team of 17 to IAAF Continental Cup

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/100810/spg1008101851000-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Rikuren announced on Aug. 10 that it is sending a team of 17 to compete in a new IAAF regional competition called the Continental Cup to be held Sept. 4-5 in Croatia. Athletes to be sent include national record holders Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC), Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) and Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalists Naoki Tsukahara and Shinji Takahira (both Team Fujitsu). The Continental Cup replaces the IAAF World Cup last held in 2006.

For a complete listing of the Japanese team click here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Reigning NYC Half-Marathon Champion Mara Yamauchi Ready to Run New York City Again'

Note: This is a press release from the NYRR. Mara Yamauchi has long been based in Tokyo, where she trains along the Tama River.

New York, August 10, 2010 — Seven months after her come-from-behind triumph at the 2010 NYC Half-Marathon, Mara Yamauchi will seek a New York winning double by adding the ING New York City Marathon 2010 crown on Sunday November 7, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. No athlete has won both the NYC Half-Marathon and ING New York City Marathon in the same year.

“I am looking forward very much to my debut run in the ING New York City Marathon. After winning the NYC Half-Marathon in March, I can’t wait to return to New York and race against the best marathon runners in the world,” said Yamauchi, who caught Deena Kastor of the United States in the closing miles to win the NYC Half on March 21 in a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 25 seconds. “New York is an iconic race and one of the best in the world. I will give it everything, and I hope to join the illustrious list of winners of this amazing race.”

Yamauchi joins the already announced American pair of Olympic medalists—Shalane Flanagan, who is making her marathon debut, and the former London and Chicago Marathon champion Kastor—in the women’s field.

Yamauchi, 36, of Great Britain, finished sixth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon in 2:27:29, equaling the best performance by a British woman in the event. Last year she was second at the London Marathon in a personal best of 2:23:12, a time that makes her the second-fastest British woman in history behind world marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe.

“Mara joins our field well poised to achieve an historic double and to continue the tradition of strong British performances in New York,” said Wittenberg. “The time seems right for Mara to shine here.”

Joining Yamauchi in the field will be compatriots Claire Hallissey and Alyson Dixon. Hallissey, 27, of Bristol, England, is making her marathon debut. She was a member of the 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships team, and was the top British finisher in 1:12:14.

Dixon, 31, of Sunderland, England, ran her marathon personal best at the 2010 Virgin London Marathon in 2:43:48, finishing 27th. Dixon is coached by Liz McColgan, the 1991 New York City Marathon champion.

7th Grade Girl Dies After Collapsing at Track Practice

http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/news_s/news/d/2010080921360315/

translated by Brett Larner

City officials have announced that a 7th grade girl, aged 13, who collapsed and lost consciousness Aug. 5 while at track team practice at Kowa Civic J.H.S. in Okayama passed away on Aug. 9. The cause of death remains unknown.

According to officials, the girl was a sprinter. At 11:10 a.m. on Aug. 5 immediately after the end of baton pass practice the girl collapsed onto the track and went into spasms. She was rushed to a hospital, but despite treatment did not regain consciousness and died at 3:45 p.m. on Aug. 9. The Aug. 5 practice began at 8:40 a.m and took place under sunny skies. The temperature in the area at 11:00 a.m. is officially recorded as having been 31.4 degrees. The girl was not known to have had any chronic illnesses and, up to the point that she collapsed, had seemed no different from usual throughout the practice.

An official from the city educational committee's sports department commented, "We are looking at whether this may have been a case of hyperthermia and heat stroke. At the present time we do not know." Prior to the girl's collapse the team had taken four water breaks during the practice session. The official stated, "There was no problem with the practice itself, but we need to take this opportunity to make sure that all of our school clubs are taking the proper measures to protect the health of our children in order to prevent further incidents like this one."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fukushima 3rd in Luzern

http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/article/g=96958A9C81818A9990E2E2E3E08DE2EBE2EAE0E2E3E2E2E2E2E2E2E2;at=ALL
translated by Brett Larner

Women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkkaido Hi-Tec AC) finished 3rd in the final at an international track and field meet in Luzern, Switzerland on Aug. 8. With a tailwind of 1.4 m/s, Fukushima clocked 11.30 in the high-level race, beating 2009 World Championships silver medalist Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) by 0.02 seconds. Marshevet Myers (U.S.A.) won in 10.99, with Beijing Olympics silver medalist Sherone Simpson (Jamaica) 2nd in 11.08. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) finished 3rd in the B-race in 11.73.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Daniel Njenga Returns to Hokkaido Marathon (updated)

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20100806-OHT1T00315.htm
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/245211.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Aug. 6 the organizing committee of the 2010 Hokkaido Marathon, scheduled for Aug. 29 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, released the names of this year's invited athletes. Defending men's champion Daniel Njenga (Team Yakult) returns to face 2008 winner Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S. AC). The pair will be challenged by this year's Sapporo International Half Marathon winner Silas Njui (Team Hitachi Cable) in his marathon debut, and former Hakone Ekiden star Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) who dropped out of his marathon debut at last December's Fukuoka International Marathon.

The women's race features 2008 winner Yukari Sahaku (Team Universal Ent.) along with teammates Mizuho Nasukawa, the 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner, and Yumiko Hara, the 2007 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner. The Hokkaido Marathon is the first women's domestic qualifying race for next summer's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Any Japanese woman winning the race will earn consideration for one of the five places on the national team.

8861 runners, 7459 men and 1402 women, are entered for this year's race, beating last year's record entries by over 500. The race will follow the new course introduced last year and will begin at 12:10 p.m on the east side of Nakajima Park. The Hokkaido Marathon will be broadcast live nationwide including live English-language commentary via Twitter on JRNLive. Check back for further details.

2010 Hokkaido Marathon Elite Field
click here for more detailed profiles
Men
Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 2:06:16 (Chicago '02)
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:47 (Tokyo '08)
Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S. AC) - 2:12:10 (Hokkaido '08)
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18 (Nobeoka '10)
Takaaki Koda (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:04 (Tokyo '10)
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:14:34 (Hokkaido '09)
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 59:48 (Marugame Half '07)
Silas Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:01:03 (Sapporo Half '09)
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:01:19 (Sapporo Half '08)

Women
Yumiko Hara (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:23:48 (Osaka '07)
Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:25:38 (Tokyo '09)
Yukari Sahaku (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:28:55 (Tokyo '09)
Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC RC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya '02)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:32:20 (Yokohama '09)
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:33:36 (Nagoya '10)
Satoko Uetani (Kobe Gakuin Univ. AC) - 2:33:55 (Hokkaido '09)
Nami Tani (Team Universal Ent.) - 2:33:59 (Hokkaido '09)
Misuzu Okamoto (Team Hokkoku Bank) - 2:34:12 (Hokkaido '09)
Chinami Fukaminato (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:34:16 (Hokkaido '09)
Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 2:35:51 (Nagoya '09)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Report From Asahi Kasei's Summer Training Camp

http://www.asahi-kasei.co.jp/asahi/jp/csr/sports/rikujo/result/2010/100723.html

translated by Brett Larner

We're deep in the heart of summer gashuku season, when Japan's high school, university and corporate teams relocate to the northern island of Hokkaido, the mountains of Nagano or elsewhere to beat the heat and focus on building a base for the upcoming fall ekiden season and the subsequent winter marathon season. Team Asahi Kasei, the best corporate team on the southern island of Kyushu, recently posted the following report about its gashuku in the mountains of Oita prefecture on its website. Click photos for full-sized versions or the link above for more pictures.

Asahi Kasei's annual mountain gashuku got underway July 15 in the Chojabaru region near Kokonoemachi, Oita prefecture. Morning temperatures are around 17-18 degrees. While midday temperatures can get up to 30 degrees in the evening they fall to 23-25 degrees, leaving ample chance for the entire team to get its training in smoothly and without interruption.

Coming down the mountain.

The first half of each run takes place on a cross-country course to allow for recovery before heading out onto the roads for the second half. One of the focus workouts consisted of a 4-5 hour hike up a mountain, letting the athletes relax and have some fun while helping to develop their muscular strength.

One of many children: 2009 10000 m national champion Yuki Iwai on the XC course.

2010 Asian Games national team marathoner Tomoyuki Sato has been training very well throughout the camp. Targeting the Hokkaido Marathon, Hiroyuki Horibata and Takaaki Koda have been sharpening their condition while helping out the younger runners. Look out for them to have a strong day come Aug. 29.

Tomoyuki Sato, with blue jacket and white gloves and cap, at the center of the team at 1791 m.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marathons Maxing Out - Tokyo Expects Applications 10x Field Limit

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20100802-OYT1T00642.htm?from=main3

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The mass marathon boom is overheating. Races everywhere are selling out within a matter of hours. Tokyo's "Runner's Paradise," the Imperial Palace loop, is packed solid with runners even at the peak of summer heat. On Aug. 1 the spark that set off the wildfire, the Tokyo Marathon, opened applications for next year's edition scheduled for Feb. 27. Applications exceeded the field size of 32,000 in less than 48 hours. Organizers expect to measure the total number of applicants in the hundreds of thousands.

The trend has spread to other races. The Nov. 28 Tsukuba Marathon, with a field limit of 12,000, sold out in 13 hours. Last year's race took 3 days to reach the limit. The 8,000-limit Nagano Marathon this past April 18 sold out in 5 and 1/2 hours. The Teganuma Eco Half-Marathon on Oct. 31 filled all 7,000 spots in 8 hours 20 minutes after taking 2 days last year, another signal that things are out of control. With the trend for more and more people to apply the moment applications open, online entry services have had difficulty keeping up and have experienced frequent crashes.

Masanori Onobu of RB's Inc., publishers of the monthly magazine Runners, said, "Five years ago it wasn't like this. Races didn't have field limits and if you applied you got to run. In the last few years the numbers have grown so quickly that a lot of races have had shortages of toilets and drinks. The Tokyo Marathon has been so heavily promoted in the media that its influence is everywhere. Since Tokyo started in 2007 all the other races have grown as well, and a cycle has started where people who get shut out of a race one year apply more quickly the next, causing the situation to escalate each year. Things are to the point that we can expect to see other races start having an entry lottery like Tokyo's."

According to research by Runners magazine, in 2004 the nationwide number of people who ran a full marathon at least once was 78,776. In 2009 the number had more than doubled to 166,794, while according to organizers 226,378 people applied for the 30,000 spots available in the 2009 Tokyo Marathon.

This year Tokyo applications were up to 272,134, over 8 and 1/2 times the number of spots available. 40% of applicants had never run a full marathon before. Truly, the Tokyo Marathon is the cause of the nation's running boom. Applications for this year's race are open from Aug. 1 to 31. With entries increasing year by year in the 4 runnings to date organizers expect at least 10 times the field limit of 32,000 to apply.

From 2007 to 2010 the Tokyo Marathon was operated as a joint enterprise between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Rikuren, the Japanese national athletics federation. On June 30 control of the event was passed to a new, independent Tokyo Marathon Foundation. Foundation executive Hiroaki Chosa commented, "If we are to become the world's number one marathon we must do more to attract foreign entrants."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wainaina Blocks Asian Jr. Champ Akamatsu's Double at HS Nationals

by Brett Larner

2010 Asian Junior Women's 3000 m Champion Mahiro Akamatsu of Kojokan H.S. came up agonizingly short of completing the 1500 m and 3000 m double on Aug. 2 at the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships in Amami. With the 1500 m title under her belt Akamatsu coasted through yesterday's 3000 m qualifying heats, but on the final day of the 2010 Nationals she fell to the last sprint of Toyokawa H.S. Kenyan Beatrice Murugi Wainaina in the final. Wainaina, who had the fastest qualifying time in the three heats, 9:20.78, just clipped Akamatsu at the line as she won in 9:11.51. Akamatsu was 2nd in 9:11.60, 0.54 off her PB but a credible time given the sub-tropical weather. 3rd-placer Mary Wydira of Sendai Ikuei H.S. was the only other runner under 9:15, finishing in 9:12.33. The top 11 finishers all broke 9:30 including the identical twin Kyuma sisters Haruka, who ran last month's World Junior Championships 3000 m, and Moe, who will run this month's Youth Olympics 3000 m.

Click here for complete results from the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships.

2010 National High School T&F Championships - Top Finishers
Women's 3000 m Final
1. Beatrice Murugi Wainaina (Kenya/Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:11.51
2. Mahiro Wakamatsu (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:11.60
3. Mary Wydira (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 9:12.33
4. Yuriko Kosaki (Narita H.S.) - 9:16.75
5. Miyuki Oka (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:18.23
6. Katsuki Suga (Kojokan H.S.) - 9:20.79
7. Minori Suzuki (Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:20.81
8. Haruka Kyuma (Ayabe H.S.) - 9:20.87
9. Mutsumi Ikeda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:21.38
10. Moe Kyuma (Ayabe H.S.) - 9:26.32

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Githinji Completes Double at High School Nationals

by Brett Larner

Two days after winning the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships 1500 m by a hair, Aomori Yamada H.S. senior Michael Githinji had another narrow win in the men's 5000 m to complete the distance double at this year's Championships. As in the 1500 m, Githinji outkicked the top Japanese man, in this case Suma Gakuen H.S. senior Kazuto Nishiike, in the home stretch to win in 13:59.86. Nishiike, just back from the World Junior Championships, barely held off Shogo Nakamura of Ueno Kogyo H.S. for 2nd in 14:00.54, Nakamura taking 3rd in 14:00.98. Nishiike will next compete in the 3000 m at the Youth Olympics in Singapore later this month.

The 2010 Nationals finish up Aug. 2nd with the finals of the women's 3000 m. For complete results click here.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seko Jr. at High School Nationals: "I Want to Run Hakone"

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20100731-OHT1T00286.htm
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2010/08/01/10.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tenri Seko at Nationals, July 31. Click photo for full-sized image.

The third son of marathon and ekiden legend Toshihiko Seko (54), Tokai Prep Urayasu H.S. senior Tenri Seko (18) ran the 800 m at the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships July 31st on Amami island. The younger Seko ran 1:57.10, finishing 3rd in his heat. After the race he revealed that next year he will attend Tokai University where his goal is to make the school's Hakone Ekiden squad.

Tenri ran the 5th heat at Nationals, leading until the final 100 m when he was outkicked. Finishing only 3rd, he did not advance to the semifinal. "My goal was to make the final," he said with obvious disappointment. "I'm still not strong enough yet, and I didn't have my mental game together today either. But I know I'm capable of doing it."

In junior high school Tenri played soccer. When he entered high school he decided to follow in the footsteps of his famous father, a two-time 800 m national champion during his own high school days.* Last year, in his first appearance at Nationals, Tenri failed to make the final. After that disappointment he worked intensively on his speed and strength and earlier this year set a new PB mark of 1:54.17. Before this year's Nationals Tenri received a message from his father which said simply, "Be confident. This year it looks like you're going to go far."

In his days at Waseda University the elder Seko ran the Hakone Ekiden's ace 2nd Stage all four years, setting stage records twice to become one of the race's greatest legends. Tenri is also targeting Hakone when he enters Tokai University next year. "After this I'll be gradually working my way up in distance," he said. "When I'm ready, I want to run Hakone."

*Translator's note: The elder Seko won the National H.S. 800 m in 2:05.05 in 1972. Tenri Seko's first year at Tokai will coincide with the senior year of Waseda University runner Takuya Nakayama, the son of Toshihiko Seko's bitter rival Takeyuki Nakayama.

Tenri Seko - born 6/28/92 in Tokyo. Third of four children of two-time Olympic marathoner Toshihiko Seko. Began running in 2007. 170 cm, 62 kg.