Skip to main content

Seven Straight Weeks of Elite Marathon Action

by Brett Larner

This weekend kicks off the busiest period of the year for Japanese distance running, with Sunday's Osaka International Women's Marathon leading seven straight weekends of elite marathons in this World Championships qualifying season. It's busier than ever thanks to last fall's APEC conference in Yokohama, which forced the second running of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon to shift from November to February. A quick guide to the upcoming marathons, all of which except Nobeoka will be broadcast live nationwide and viewable overseas.

Jan. 30: Osaka International Women's Marathon
Feb. 6: Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
Feb. 13: Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon
Feb. 20: Yokohama International Women's Marathon
Feb. 27: Tokyo Marathon
Mar. 6: Biwako Mainichi Marathon
Mar. 13: Nagoya International Women's Marathon

It's not just marathons, either, as the world's two most competitive 30 km races, four of its most competitive half marathons, several high-level 10-milers, the last major ekiden of the season and even the miniature domestic XC season also fall within the same window.

Jan. 30: Meigi Ekiden
Feb. 6: Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon
Feb. 11: Himejijo 10-Miler
Feb. 13: Karatsu 10-Miler / 10 km
Feb. 13: Chiba International XC Meet
Feb. 20: Ome 30 km / 10 km
Feb. 26: Fukuoka International XC Meet
Feb. 27: Kumanichi 30 km
Mar. 13: Tachikawa Akishima Half Marathon
Mar. 20: National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships
Mar. 20: Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon

Another dozen or more elite-level races fill in the gaps. As always, JRN will bring you coverage of it all. Stay tuned for our previews and results, beginning later today with a preview of Sunday's Osaka International Women's Marathon and its accompanying elite-level half marathon.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …