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Will Wanjiru's Record Fall? Watch the National High School Ekiden Championships Live

The 2011 National High School Ekiden Championships take place Dec. 25 in Kyoto.  Both the girls' and boys' races will be broadcast live and commercial-free on NHK.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online via Keyhole TV using the password, which should be the same as the name of the broadcasting network.  The girls' race will be broadcast from 10:05 to 11:54 a.m. Japan time, with boys' race taking place from 12:15 to 2:52 p.m.

My apologies for the lack of a full preview article, but getting all the material for the Japan in Wanjiru series together this week has really taken a lot out of me.  If for no other reason, this year's Nationals are worth watching because Kenyan Charles Ndirangu of Sera H.S. has an excellent chance of breaking Samuel Wanjiru's record on the Third Stage if the weather holds.  Ndirangu missed Wanjiru's historic 2004 mark by one second last year and since then has set the Japanese high school 5000 m record.  Tune in to see if it happens.  If I have the energy I will do live commentary via Twitter @JRNLive.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays.

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Shiroyama's 8.40 m Jump Leads Four National Records at Athlete Night Games in Fukui

Held in the stadium where Japan saw its first-ever sub-10 clocking for 100 m, Saturday's new Athlete Night Games in Fukui meet produced four national records highlighted by an incredible men's long jump competition. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) opened with a jump of 8.32 m +1.6 m/s that shattered the national record dating way back in 1992 by 7 cm. Hibika Tsuha (Toyo Univ.) followed him with a jump of 8.21 m + 2.0 m/s that put him into the all-time Japanese top three, then bettered that with an 8.23 m +0.6 m/s.



Out of nowhere, Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) knocked them both back in the record books on his third jump with a new national record of 8.40 m +1.5 m/s, the #2 mark in the world so far this year and only his second time clearing 8 m with a legal wind. Japanese fans were quick to compare the trio's results to this season's Diamond League meets.

DL Shanghai
πŸ₯‡8m24πŸ₯ˆ8m16πŸ₯‰8m14
DL Lausanne
πŸ₯‡8m32πŸ₯ˆ8m19πŸ₯‰8m13
DL London
πŸ₯‡8m37πŸ₯ˆ8m32πŸ₯‰8m11
DL Fukui
πŸ₯‡8m40πŸ₯ˆ8m32πŸ₯‰8m23 htt…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…