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2011 As Seen By JRN Readers

JRN's most-read articles of 2011 by month:

January
Waseda over Toyo as both break Hakone Ekiden course record.Jan. 3
Blood testing for better performance - learning from Hakone and pro baseball. - Jan. 8

February
Study finds to become world-class, don't work too hard in junior high. - Feb. 5
World's first two-legged robot-only marathon set for Feb. 24. - Feb. 16
Jason Lehmkuhle wins Ome 30 km road race - first American win since 1983. - Feb. 20
World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki 2:23:56 Yokohama win.Feb. 20
Mekonnen wins Tokyo Marathon, amateur Kawauchi 3rd in 2:08:37. - Feb. 27
Japanese Federation and corporate league feel stinging impact of Kawauchi's run. - Feb. 28
"The Rocky of the marathon world" - Saitama Governor praises Kawauchi. - Feb. 28

March
What to do when the dream comes true?  Federation officials push management role as Kawauchi Fever sweeps Japan. - Mar. 3
Wilson Kipsang wins Lake Biwa with world-leading 2:06:13 course record. - Mar. 6
Federation tells World Championships marathoner Horibata to go on diet. - Mar. 8
Two pro runners hit by truck during half-marathon. - Mar. 9
Tokyo Marathon 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi gives $72,000 BMW prize to mother. - Mar. 11
104-year-old masters world record holder killed in tsunami. - Mar. 25

April
Niiya 15:17.84 PB after being fired from Toyota Jidoshokki corporate team. - Apr. 29

May
Track training Kawauchi-style. - May 5
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, 1986-2011. - May 16
Wanjiru in the words of those who knew him. - May 16

June
Yuki Kawauchi building up for World Championships with 50 km ultra this Sunday. - June 16
Kawauchi taken to hospital after suffering heat stroke near end of 50 km ultra. - June 19

July
Murasawa and Sreedharan impress in Asian Athletics Championships 10000 m. - July 7

August
'09 World Championships silver medalist Ozaki runs 50 km at altitude in prep for Daegu gold. - Aug. 9
A report from World Championships marathoner Akaba on Boulder's Magnolia Road. - Aug. 11
Kawauchi looking forward to post-Worlds coffee. - Aug. 15
Osako wins World University Games 10000 m. - Aug. 17
Team Honda's Ibrahim Jeilan wins World Championships 10000 m. - Aug. 28

September
Post-race quotes from the Japanese men's World Championships marathon team. - Sept. 5
New Tokai University coach Morozumi discusses value of cross-country training after Saku Chosei H.S. success. - Sept. 29

October
Toyo University takes first-ever Izumo Ekiden win.Oct. 10
Charles Ndirangu 13:15.44 national high school record at Oita Challenge 5000 m. - Oct. 23

November
Kenya over Japan as both break International Chiba Ekiden course record.Nov. 23

December
Watch the Fukuoka International Marathon live - viewing guide. - Dec. 2
Ndambiri with the win, Kawauchi with the wonder - Fukuoka International Marathon. - Dec. 4
Kawauchi throws Olympic selection process into confusion. - Dec. 5
Working out the tactics that will take him to the World Championships, Kawauchi set for Hofu Yomiuri Marathon. - Dec. 16
Bat-Ochir and Kawauchi duel at Hofu Yomiuri Marathon. - Dec. 18
Japan in Wanjiru. - Dec. 19
Charles Ndirangu leads Sera back to National High School Boys Ekiden Championships title. - Dec. 25
Japan in Wanjiru - in conclusion..... - Dec. 26

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…