Skip to main content

Weekend Road Roundup

by Brett Larner

Japan's road season got into swing this weekend with two large road races and two competitive ekidens.

At the Fukuoka Prefecture Road Championships in Omuta, Kyushu, Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) won the 10-miler in 48:00, one of the fastest winning times on record at the race.  The rest of the top ten went under 48:30 as well, making for an outstanding tight race.  Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) won the women's 5 km for the second year in a row and took advantage of the ideal temperatures to set a course record of 15:51.  Runner-up Yuka Miyazaki was 44 seconds behind.  Local boy Yuki Koga (Omuta H.S.) won the high school 10 km in 31:29.

At the other end of the country, the Sapporo Half Marathon, not to be confused with July's Sapporo International Half Marathon, saw 12,003 finishers led by Toshiaki Nishizawa (Komazawa Univ.) in 1:05:07 and Mika Sawa (Bukkyo Univ.) in 1:16:10.

Across the world, Japan-trained Kenyans Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Lucy Wangui Kabuu had their second pair win in less than a month as they won the Great Edinburgh Run 10 km in 28:03 and 32:28.  Mathathi's time was a course record despite rainy conditions.

Back in Japan, the high school ekiden season got rolling with the 31st Nihonkai Ekiden and 26th Kurayoshi Girls' Ekiden, both held in Kurayoshi, Tottori.  Sera H.S. won the seven-stage, 42.195 boys' race in 2:04:28 on the strength of an outstanding 22:30 stage record run on the 8.0875 km Fourth Stage by Kenyan ace Charles Ndirangu, who came from behind to overtake frontrunning Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. and build a lead that was never cracked.  Nishiwaki Kogyo's anchor came within two seconds of catching Sera at the finish but could not quite pull it off, surely a frustrating result for the team as its runners on the first three and final three stages all ran faster than Sera's and their Fourth Stage runner had the fastest time on the stage by a Japanese runner.  Ndirangu looks set to follow in the footsteps of Sera alum Bitan Karoki as one of the most impressive Kenyans to have come out of the Japanese system in recent years.

The five-stage, 21.0975 km girls' race was even more dramatic.  After a superb 18:56 stage record by Yuka Ando on the 6 km First Stage, Toyokawa H.S. led for the first three stages before its fourth stage runner suffered a major breakdown and was run down by defending national champion Kojokan H.S. and the always-strong Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.  Kojokan's anchor on the 5 km Fifth Stage likewise suffered a breakdown to put Ritsumeikan Uji into first, but Toyokawa anchor Beatrice Murugi ran a stage record 15:58 to try to retake the lead from Ritsumeikan Uji's Nanako Kanno.  In a dramatic photo finish Kanno just outleaned the Kenyan to hang on for the win, both Ritsumeikan Uji and Toyokawa clocking 1:09:16.  Toyokawa held on to 3rd in 1:09:40.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

dadsweb said…
Thanks as always for the great coverage.

Pretty minor point, but Kurayoshi is in Tottori prefecture, not Shimane.
Brett Larner said…
Whoops, that's what you get for doing things before 7 am. Thanks for catching that.

Most-Read This Week

Tokyo Experiments With Spraying Water Along 2020 Marathon Course to Combat Heat

As part of its measures to deal with the hot conditions expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted an experiment to measure the effects on pavement surface temperature of spraying the road surface with water. Data from the experiments were released to the media.

The experiment was conducted from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. along a 120 m section of sidewalk along Uchibori Street in the Imperial Palace's outer gardens in Chiyoda Ward.  In the experiment, open-ended tubes used in agricultural work eres placed at the edge of the sidewalk  to supply water. Surface temperature readings were taken every 30 minutes for three different experimental scenarios:
spraying water beginning at 4:00 a.m.spraying water beginning at 7:00 a.m.not spraying any water The experiment found that where water had been sprayed, the road surface temperature remained in the 27 to 29˚C range even when the air temperature exceeded 30˚C. Where no wa…

On Broadcast Commentary

It's been 122 days since the 122nd Boston Marathon. Of what the two exceptional people who won that day accomplished, WilliamShakespeare summed it up better than any other commentator in his Sonnet 122:

Beyond all date, even to eternity;
     Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
     Have faculty by nature to subsist;
     Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
     Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.

What else needs to be said? But the other thing that remains from that day is, of course, this:

Worst punditry ever? #Yukipic.twitter.com/AwjeuZDtOt — Xempo Running (@xempouk) April 16, 2018
In the 122 days since Boston this clip has been on my mind a lot. The commentary here by Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig was exceptionally bad, but it wasn't unique to them and highlighted many of the problems with marathon TV broadcasts and especially their hosts and commentators. I'm fortunate to live in Japan where the announcers for the countless marathon live TV broadcas…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…