Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Tokai Univ. Coach Morozumi Discusses Value of XC Training After Saku Chosei H.S. Success

http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/other/athletic/text/201109280009-spnavi.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Translator's note: Hayashi Morozumi  (left; click photo to enlarge) had tremendous success as head coach of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S., building an innovative cross-country course at moderate altitude to serve as the team's primary training ground.  Under his leadership Saku Chosei won the 2008 National H.S. Ekiden in the fastest time ever by an all-Japanese team and produced four of Japan's biggest current young talents, Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai University, 13:34.85 / 28:00.78), Suguru Osako (Waseda University, 13:31.27 / 1:01:47), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin, 13:23.57 / 27:38.25) and Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B, 13:21.49).  All four runners are in this year's Japanese 5000 m top ten.  In April Morozumi left Saku Chosei to become head coach of his alma mater, Tokai University, once again taking over Murasawa's development.

Tokai University held an event Sept. 29 at its Shonan Campus in Kanagawa prefecture to formally launch the restructured ekiden team division of its middle and long distance block and to mark the opening of the campus' new cross-country course.  In April the man at the helm of Saku Chosei High School's rise to power on the high school ekiden circuit, Hayashi Moroizumi, took over as head coach at Tokai and quickly got to work.  After half a year leading the team Morozumi spoke positively of them, saying, "The athletes on this team are looking forward and upward.  Winning the Hakone Ekiden is the number one task at hand, so I will do my best to get us there.  With Murasawa and [Tsubasa] Hayakawa as our axis I think we will be able to run a very interesting race.  Through the ekidens unique to Japan we can build athletes who are strong enough to compete internationally on the track and in the marathon."

With regard to junior Murasawa, who comes back under Morozumi's guidance as Tokai's ace after running under him at Saku Chosei, Morozumi said, "It's a question of how to optimize his ability within the [ekiden] team.  He himself is persistent in saying that the ekiden is just a checkpoint toward next year's Olympics."  His words were enough to raise hopes all around him, but coach Morozumi raised them even further when he added, "I'm sure he can run well on uphills as well," a suggestion that we may see Murasawa on the Hakone Ekiden's brutal uphill Fifth Stage in January.

Coach Morozumi has long been an active proponent of cross-country training, educating a large number of athletes on its benefits.  To continue this crucial element of his success in his new environment he oversaw the design and construction of a cross-country course at Tokai.  "In order to improve the training threshold we've made the running more difficult," Morozumi said of the new course, its challenging surface geared to improve strength.

Having finished 4th at the 2011 Hakone Ekiden Tokai University already had its share of strengths and accomplishments.  Under Coach Morozumi's guidance and restructuring of the program what kind of running will we see from the team in the 2011-12 season?  The first glimpse of the answer will come at the Oct. 10 Izumo Ekiden.  Looking at the season, Morozumi answered a series of questions.

How does it feel to have become head coach at Tokai?
Morozumi: I had been at Saku Chosei H.S. for a long time, so the decision to come [to Tokai] was very difficult.  It's nice to be back after 23 years, but I know that winning the Hakone Ekiden is the number one priority so I am focused on that goal with a great deal of energy.  I will do everything I can to make it a reality.

What have you done so far in your first six months of leadership?
The students are looking to the future very intently, and they are an exceptional collection of people with a positive attitude toward working to improve themselves.  I expected university students to be much lazier than this.  I can feel the reaction to my leadership style being one of forward momentum.  More than just their hopes for success, I am grateful for the support and advice I have received from a wide range of people during this transition period.

At May's Kanto Regional Championships the results were extremely good and we achieved every one of our goals.  However, at Nationals we failed to meet even a single goal.  At the same time, our ace Murasawa ran a 13:34 PB in Europe.  Working from this base as we head into ekiden season, I think that with Murasawa and our vice-ace Hayakawa as our axis we have a lot to be excited about.

What do you consider the most important elements of the training methodology and philosophy you bring to Tokai?
Now that the course is ready we can make cross-country running the staple of our day-to-day practice, so that will be the key new element.  As part of my leadership I also seek to reinforce in my student athletes the importance of fulfilling their duties as students first and foremost and of being people of the highest character in their daily lives and in their representation of Tokai University.

How would you describe this season's goals in four words?
One moment, one chance.  We have the chance to be here with these opportunities through a string of coincidences, through the support of many people as a result of chance encounters.  I want us to go ahead placing great importance on the value of human encounters and connections.

What are your goals for the first of the big three university ekidens, the Izumo Ekiden?
Our goal this season is to finish in the top three at all three major student ekidens [Izumo, the National University Ekiden Championships, and the Hakone Ekiden].

What are your feelings about the Hakone Ekiden at this point?
[Among the big three university ekidens] The Hakone Ekiden is the only one we have never won, so I give my full support to the runners' hopes that we can achieve this.  It is especially important to us because the Hiratsuka exchange zone is located near our campus and all of our local supporters and locally-raised students would love to see us win.  Thus I feel that we must be completely focused on going for victory at the Hakone Ekiden.

Are you seriously considering the possibility of putting your ace Murasawa on the Fifth Stage?
Murasawa's position is that he will put his complete soul into running whatever stage he is assigned.  It goes without saying that he will run well on uphills.  That is a fact.  The Fifth Stage is the longest, toughest leg, so it is safe to say the chance is not zero.  Late in the season when we are in a position to look at other athletes' conditions and our rival schools' strategies we will consider how best to utilize Murasawa's abilities to help realize our goal, and in that way we will decide where he will run.

What are you thinking with regard to international competition?
The students I coach are in an excellent position to make that a target.  There are some athletes whose goal is to compete in domestic ekidens and some whose goal is to wear the Rising Sun in international competition.  There is no World Championships for the ekiden,  so I think the best approach is to use the ekiden to cultivate our best talent and then to send these athletes overseas.  Lately there has been criticism that ekidens have become an abuse of our athlete's abilities, but I think we should be thinking of it as Japan's unique stairway to becoming stronger on the track and in the marathon.

Murasawa in particular wants an international career on the track and in the marathon, and there are admittedly difficulties in both pursuing that and fulfilling the demands of the ekiden.  But as an individual he looks at the ekiden season as a step along the way to his goal of running in next year's Olympics.

Can you describe the special features of the new cross-country course that has just been completed?
I think it was the best they could do within the constraints of the campus property.  The first part of the course we have just opened is 600 m long with an elevation difference of 2.5 m.  I believe the second phase [scheduled for completion in Nov.] will have more elevation difference.  The height of the woodchips on the course is 10 cm, twice the normal depth.  Because we couldn't secure enough elevation difference we made the chip layer thicker to make it more difficult to run on so that it increases its effectiveness with regard to building strength.  Nevertheless, it is a very comfortable course to run for the students.  My record of accomplishments includes national high school records in six different categories, all achieved off a base of cross-country training, so I asked the university to create this course.  Today, that has become a reality.

How will you utilize the cross-country course?
The level of university athletics is improving dramatically right now.  Part of that is an increase in the volume of training at this age, and along with that is an increase in the injury rate.  Looking at this, my goal is not to build our base on the roads but rather on the cross-country course.  By so doing I can reduce the stress to my athletes' legs while increasing the quantity and distance of our training.  However, there is a limit to the speed with which you can run on this course, so I intend to do our speed work on the track.  In spite of this, ekidens is held on the road, and so I plan to use a 2 km road loop within the campus to prepare for that.  So altogether we have an excellent training environment that no other university can match.

What is your opinion of some of the other runners you coached at Saku Chosei, such as Waseda University's Suguru Osaka and Komazawa University's Kenta Chiba?
I'm very happy to see that they are doing so well, but I don't give them any advice anymore.  I just say hello if I see them.  They are enemies now. [laughs]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Handicapping the Hakone Ekiden Qualifying Race

by Brett Larner


The record-breaking 2009 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai, the deepest 20 km road race in history.

The Kanto Regional University Athletics Federation has released the entry lists for the Oct. 15 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai, a 20 km university men's road race qualifier for the Jan. 1-2 Hakone Ekiden.  Outside the Olympics the two-day, twenty-team, ten-stage Hakone relay is road racing's biggest spectacle, an event with viewership in the tens of millions and the kind of popular enthusiasm the World Marathon Majors dream of.  Of all the things obscured behind the cultural insularity of the Japanese running system Hakone is the biggest loss to the sport as a whole, a gripping, high-level race that never lets up over the course of twelve hours and which, with superb production values, could give clues on how to popularize road racing among non-runners worldwide if it were accessible overseas.

The top ten universities at each year's Hakone are seeded for the following year, freeing them up to run October's shorter and faster Izumo Ekiden.  The nine schools left behind must line up again in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park along with others from the Kanto region for the Yosenkai to fight it out head-to-head for a Hakone berth. Each school may enter fourteen runners and run twelve, the team being scored on the combined times of its first ten finishers.  The six fastest teams move on, but the last three spots are determined by applying a handicap to the remaining schools' scores using points from May's Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships.  These points include performances in sprints, middle distances and field events, and, as in Japanese business, have the tendency to reinforce the status quo by rewarding the large and established power centers and kneecapping smaller competitors without the resources to diversify.  Virtually every year a small school with a good distance running team beats a larger school fair and square in the race but is passed up because the bigger school's jumpers or throwers dominated five months previously.

The schools who get cheated this way have one last chance for Hakone representation along with talented runners like World Championships marathoners Yuki Kawauchi (Gakushuin Univ.) and Yoshinori Oda (Kanto Gakuin Univ.) who went to universities with weak distance programs.  The top sixteen Yosenkai finishers from schools other than the nine who qualify for Hakone are selected for a Select Team which competes in the main event as the 20th team.  The Select Team has never won Hakone, but if it finishes in the top ten it bumps one more team down to the Yosenkai the following year.

Shoin University's Aritaka Kajiwara has the best chance among minor school runners for front pack contention at this year's Yosenkai, having broken 29 minutes for the first time at last weekend's Nittai Time Trials 10000 m after making the Select Team last year.  The other twelve runners with sub-29 PBs all belong to schools virtually guaranteed to qualify, the two most talented being two-time National University 10000 m champion Benjamin Gandu (28:21.31, Kenya/Nihon Univ.) and two-time Kanto Regional 5000 m champion Taku Fujimoto (28:27.66, Kokushikan Univ.).  Other top individuals include Takamitsu Hashimoto (28:33.21, Josai Univ.), Cosmas Ondiba (28:37.95, Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Masaki Ito (28:38.13, Kokushikan Univ.) and Naohiro Domoto (28:38.57, Nihon Univ.).

Looking at the team competition, it looks to be a battle between Josai, Kokushikan and Tokyo Nogyo University for the overall win.  Josai always performs well at the Yosenkai but is lacking the depth of reserves held by Kokushikan and Tokyo Nogyo.  Kokushikan may be the best bet for the win, but as last year its dependence on aces Fujimoto and Ito means that if either of them underperforms the school may not even qualify for Hakone.  Tokyo Nogyo lacks star power but has a high average level and should be more resistant to individual breakdowns.  Nihon University and likeable underdogs Jobu University both look safe for the 4th and 5th spots, although Nihon is struggling with extensive injuries in its lineup and may not be able to pull itself together in time.

Six schools are in contention for the final time slot and the three point slots.  Yamanashi Gakuin has a very slight lead over Teikyo University for the sixth slot but, like Nihon, is dealing with setbacks and could falter.  If Teikyo, a small school without a strong overall track and field program, is bumped to 7th its situation becomes very dire as beside Yamanashi Gakuin it will be facing three other schools with large point handicaps, Juntendo, Daito Bunka and Hosei.  It's conceivable that Teikyo's men could outrun all three schools and still not make Hakone due to the point system.  Kanagawa University likewise should outrun Hosei and could beat both Juntendo and Daito Bunka but has little chance of making it through the handicapping.

Chuo Gakuin, Asia and Senshu University, three schools that have had reliable records of making Hakone in recent years, look unlikely to make the cut this year.  Ryutsu Keizai and Soka University look to be the best of this year's minor schools and have a chance of making a dent in the lower end of the potential qualifiers.  Virtually every year there is an upset with a minor school breaking through to shoot down a struggling big school.  If it happens this year it will be from among this group of five.

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai takes place Oct. 15 with an edited broadcast including the qualifier announcement ceremony later than afternoon.  Check back for broadcast details.  JRN will be providing race commentary via Twitter @JRNLive.

2011-12 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km Top 20 Schools Ranking
ranked by average 10000 m PB of top 12 adjusted for handicap points

1. Josai University - 29:27.97
2. Kokushikan University - 29:28.15
3. Tokyo Nogyo University - 29:30.96
4. Nihon University - 29:39.21
5. Jobu University - 29:43.16
6. Yamanashi Gakuin University - 29:50.24
-----
7. Juntendo University - 29:41.94 (29:52.19 gross time)
8. Daito Bunka University - 29:46.19 (29:53.19 gross time)
9. Teikyo University - 29:48.13 (29:50.88 gross time)
-----
10. Hosei University - 29:53.17 (30:02.67 gross time)
11. Kanagawa University - 29:53.64 (29:55.14 gross time)
-----
12. Chuo Gakuin University - 30:00.69 (30:02.94 gross time)
13. Ryutsu Keizai University - 30:13.03 (30:19.03 gross time)
14. Soka University - 30:15.37 (30:18.62 gross time)
15. Asia University - 30:15.51 (30:16.51 gross time)
16. Senshu University - 30:18.50 (30:19.50 gross time)
17. Reitaku University - 30:25.87 (30:26.37 gross time)
18. Heisei Kokusai University - 30:35.41 (30:41.16 gross time)
19. Shoin University - 30:44.64 (30:45.14 gross time)
20. Kanto Gakuin University - 30:45.78 (30:47.28 gross time)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sasaki and Suzuki Win Hakodate Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) and Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), teammates of Daegu World Championships marathon top finishers Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), took their first victories at the mid-season Hakodate Half Marathon in cool conditions on Sept. 25.  Suzuki ran with little challenge, while Sasaki prevailed by only one second in a sprint finish against Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota).  A short distance back from the lead pair of men were former marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) and, in his final tuneup for next month's Chicago Marathon, 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta).

2011 Hakodate Half Marathon
Hakodate, Hokkaido, 9/25/11

Women
1. Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 1:13:48
2. Yui Ouchi (Team Noritz) - 1:16:16
3. Miya Nishio (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:16:18
4. Ayumi Nakayama (Team Yamada Denki) - 1:17:30
5. Tomoko Tamamushi (Harriers AC) - 1:21:29

Men
1. Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:18
2. Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) - 1:03:19
3. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 1:03:29
4. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:03:40
5. Taichi Takase (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:18

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi, Kizaki 5000 m PBs at Nittai Time Trials

by Brett Larner



The first full day of fall temperatures brought fast times in the 35 heats of 5000 m on the second day of the 218th Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama.  In the men's A-heat, junior Wataru Ueno (Komazawa University) aggressively frontran his way to the win in 13:46.79 to lead five Komazawa men under 14 minutes.  3rd-placer Masato Kikuchi (Meiji Univ.) likewise led four Meiji runners under 14 including Daiki Hirose's mark from heat 34.  With Meiji's Tetsuya Yoroizaka having run 27:44.30 and Komazawa's Ikuto Yufu and Hiromitsu Kakuage 28:02.46 and 28:03.27 this season both schools look set to make a dent in Hakone Ekiden rivals Waseda University and Toyo University.

2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) was the top corporate runner, 4th in 13:52.23 after abandoning plans to run the Berlin Marathon.  The big news for many fans came far down the field, where marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) ran 13:59.38 to break his PB by 0.35 seconds three weeks after running the Daegu World Championships marathon and just a day after crashing and burning in the Nittai 10000 m A-heat.  The PB was Kawauchi's first since his breakthrough 2:08:37 run at February's Tokyo Marathon, no doubt an important psychological hurdle to have cleared.  Kawauchi is scheduled to run next month's inaugural Osaka Marathon.

The women's A-heat was also fast, with virtually the entire top ten running PBs.  2010 National Corporate 10000 m champion Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) won in a quick 15:22.87, breaking her PB by 13 seconds in her first solid performance since struggling at January's Osaka International Women's Marathon.  Over 100 m back, Rie Mizutake (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) narrowly held off high schoolers Yume Tanaka (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep. H.S.) and Miki Sakakibara (Hamakita Nishi H.S.), all three running 15:45.  Like Komazawa and Meiji in the men's race, Meijo University had a solid pack showing with four women under 16 minutes, a result which should have them in a good position against titans Bukkyo University and Ritsumeikan University at next month's National University Women's Ekiden Championships.

218th Nittai University Time Trials 5000 m
Yokohama, 9/25/11
click here for complete results

Men's Heat 35
1. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:46.79
2. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:49.67
3. Masato Kikuchi (Meiji Univ.) - 13:50.71
4. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 13:52.23
5. Norikazu Kato (Team Yakult) - 13:52.51
6. Tomohiro Nakagawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 13:52.78
7. Kei Fumimoto (Meiji Univ.) - 13:53.47
8. Yoshiyuki Oseki (Team Subaru) - 13:54.01
9. Kazuhiro Kuga (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:54.49
10. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 13:54.54
-----
11. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:55.09
14. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 13:57.46
16. Shota Inoue (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:58.53
17. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 13:59.38

Women's Heat 32
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 15:22.87
2. Rie Mizutake (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:45.08
3. Yume Tanaka (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:45.17
4. Miki Sakakibara (Hamakita Nishi H.S.) - 15:45.85
5. Ayano Takagi (Meijo Univ.) - 15:47.55
6. Rina Yonetsu (Meijo Univ.) - 15:50.87
7. Sayo Nomura (Meijo Univ.) - 15:54.01
8. Mika Tanimizu (Meijo Univ.) - 15:54.56
9. Eri Sato (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:54.80
10. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 15:55.78

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Okubo Smashes PB at Berlin Marathon (updated)

Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) on her way to her first sub-2:30 at the Berlin Marathon. Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved.

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2011092500284

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Okubo in Berlin. Photo by Manabu Kawagoe. Click to enlarge.

Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) finished 9th at the Sept. 25 Berlin Marathon, running 2:28:49.  Her time broke her PB by 6 1/2 minutes and marked her first time under the 2:30 barrier.  "I went on a two-month training camp specifically to target the 2:20's," she said after the race.  "It's what I was hoping for so I'm very happy to have made it happen."  Nevertheless, she remained modest and realistic about her mark's larger significance.  "I'm still not in range of the best in Japan, but I can feel that I'm working my way up the staircase."  Looking toward next year's London Olympics she says, "With each marathon I run, if it comes closer into sight then it's something I'll shoot for."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kenyans Sweep National Corporate T&F Championships 1500 m and 5000 m

by Brett Larner

Along with the men's 10000 m on the first day of competition, Japan-resident Kenyans swept the men's and women's 5000 m and 1500 m at the 2011 National Jitsugyodan Track & Field Championships, Sept. 24-25 in Tokushima.  Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu), best known for his quadruple win in the 800 m, 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m at the 2009 Kanto Regional Track & Field Championships, doubled here with wins in the 1500 m and 5000 m, outkicking two-time world junior 3000 mSC champion Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Cable) in both races.  The top collegiate 10000 m runner of 2010, Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) had the best run of his pro career as he finished 4th in the 5000 m in 13:34.70.  Along with Yuichiro Ueno and Kensuke Takezawa, S&B runners now hold three of the ten fastest 5000 m times of the year by Japanese men.

Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko), a teammate of men's 10000 m winner Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), had a comfortable frontrunning win in the 5000 m in 15:23.09 ahead of a four-way battle which included 1500 m specialists Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki).  Yoshikawa emerged from the pack to take 2nd in 15:31.78, the 3rd-best time of the year by a Japanese woman.  With both Yoshikawa and Kobayashi having opted for the longer distance the field was open for Kobayashi's teammate Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) to take the 1500 m, winning in 4:13.03.  Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) narrowly beat yet another Toyota Jidoshokki runner, Ayaka Mori, for 2nd in 4:20.04.

2011 National Jitsugyodan Track & Field Championships
Pocari Sweat Stadium, Tokushima, 9/24-25/11
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Final
1. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:32.25
2. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 13:34.06
3. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:34.28
4. Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) - 13:34.70
5. Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 13:37.14
6. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:37.52
7. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:39.29
8. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:41.21
9. Nicholas Makau (Kenya/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:41.33
10. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:47.28

Women's 5000 m Final
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:23.09
2. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 15:31.78
3. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:33.36
4. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:33.89
5. Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:34.47
6. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 15:40.72
7. Yoshie Kurisu (Team Tenmaya) - 15:41.01
8. Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 15:41.38
9. Mariko Nakao (Team Shiseido) - 15:44.61
10. Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) - 15:45.38

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 3:46.01
2. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 3:47.24
3. Yasuhiro Tago (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 3:47.52
4. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 3:48.90
5. Hikaru Miyazaki (SDF Academy) - 3:49.31

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:13.03
2. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 4:20.04
3. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:20.99
4. Satomi Ueda (Team Toto) - 4:24.40
5. Sayuri Sendo (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:24.41

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

James Rungaru Solo 27:22.53 at Nittai Time Trials

by Brett Larner

Newcomer James Rungaru (Kenya/Team Toyota) rocked Saturday's Nittai Univ. Time Trials men's 10000 m A-heat with a solo 27:22.53 PB, going out at sub-27 pace without accompaniment and lapping the entire field.  Toyota's B-Kenyan, Rungaru ran 15 seconds faster than Paul Tanui's winning time at Friday's National Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m and 16 seconds faster than Toyota's A-Kenyan John Thuo ran at the national meet.  His nearest competition, Ethiopian Fekele Assefa (Team Kanebo), finished in only 28:36.63 after running most of the race with Masaki Ito (Kokushikan Univ.).

Ito's PB of 28:38.13 led three university men under 29 minutes, the most surprising being Aritaka Kajiwara of the minor Shoin University.  With a performance like this behind him Kajiwara is a lock on a spot for the 2012 Hakone Ekiden's Select Team.  Also in the field in his first race since the Daegu World Championships marathon earlier this month, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) finished 21st of 27 after fading badly in the final km.  Kawauchi is also scheduled to run Sunday's 5000 m A-heat, a tuneup for next month's Osaka Marathon where he is an invited athlete.

218th Nittai University Time Trials Men's 10000 m Heat 9
Nittai University, Yokohama, 9/24/11
click here for complete results

1. James Rungaru (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:22.53 - PB
2. Fekele Assefa (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 28:36.63
3. Masaki Ito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:38.13 - PB
4. Yuki Nakamura (Team Kanebo) - 28:40.77
5. Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:45.72
6. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 28:48.54 - PB
7. Naohiro Yamada (Team YKK) - 28:49.58
8. Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota) - 28:51.04
9. Aritaka Kajiwara (Shoin Univ.) - 28:52.55 - PB
10. Naohiro Domoto (Nihon Univ.) - 29:00.26
-----
21. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 29:30.87

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Bukkyo Over Ritsumeikan at Kansai University Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

The women's ekiden season kicked off with a matchup between the two top university teams in the country, Kyoto's dynamic pair Bukkyo University and Ritsumeikan University.  Ritsumeikan, missing aces Michi Numata and Hanae Tanaka, dominated the first half by winning the first three stages, including new records on the First and Third Stages by members Mutsumi Ikeda and Risa Takenaka.  Down 50 seconds at the start of the Fourth Stage, 2010 national champion Bukkyo's fortunes turned around thanks to a stage record run by ace Hikari Yoshimoto, and thanks to stage win by anchor Shiho Takechi and the absence of Ritsumeikan's Numata and Tanaka Bukkyo pulled away to a comfortable win nearly a minute and a half up on their rivals.

Bukkyo and Ritsumeikan are both so far ahead of any other school that their B-teams beat the next-strongest school, Kyoto Sangyo University.  Ritsumeikan's B-squad Fifth Stage runner Ikumi Natsuhara actually won her stage by nearly 20 seconds.  The two schools will meet again next month at the National University Women's Ekiden where Ritsumeikan will seek to regain the title it lost to Bukkyo last year.  With Natsuhara in place on the A-team, if Numata and Tanaka be back in action Bukkyo and Ritsumeikan should be a very even match.

2011 Kansai University Women's Ekiden
Kobe, 9/24/11
click here for complete results

Individual Stage Winners
First Stage (3.9 km) - Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 12:20 - CR
Second Stage (3.3 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 10:09
Third Stage (6.5 km) - Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:52 - CR
Fourth Stage (6.5 km) - Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 20:52 - CR
Fifth Stage (3.3 km) - Ikumi Natsuhara (Ritsumeikan Univ. B) - 10:22
Sixth Stage (6.5 km) - Shiho Takechi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 21:47

Top Team Results - Six Stages, 30.0 km
1. Bukkyo Univ. A - 1:37:31
2. Ritsumeikan Univ. A - 1:38:59
3. Ritsumeikan Univ. B - 1:39:28
4. Bukkyo Univ. B - 1:39:37
5. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 1:39:45
6. Osaka Gakuin Univ. A - 1:41:36
7. Bukkyo Univ. C - 1:43:21
8. Kansai Univ. - 1:43:53
9. Kobe Gakuin Univ. - 1:45:16
10. Nara Sangyo Univ. - 1:45:34

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tanui, Nishihara Win National Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m

by Brett Larner

A busy long weekend of distance action kicked off Sept. 23 with the National Jitsugyodan Track & Field Championships 10000 m in Tokushima, Shikoku.  Having run last month's World Championships 10000 m as a last-minute replacement, Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) had a narrow win in the men's race, 27:37.67 over runner-up Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) and 3rd-place John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota).

After a slow first km Tanui took the lead pack of seven Kenyans and four Japanese up to 2:46/km, where the race remained until final km.  Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) could not keep up with the sub-28 pace, leaving former Komazawa University teammate Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) and Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) as the only Japanese athletes in contention.  Both lost touch after 6000 m, Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) following suit 2000 m later.  In the last km Fukatsu, who broke 28 minute for the first time at last year's National Jitsugyodan meet, broke away from Ugachi and tried to run down Mwangi, just missing out on another sub-28 mark as he finished in 28:01.31.  Ugachi faltered and was nearly overtaken by Kitajima, who pushed through the last 2000 m to finish just over a second behind Ugachi.

The women's 10000 m was more of a blowout as 2009 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist and 2010 National University 5000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) led wire to wire to take the win in 32:17.59.  Her only competition, Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic), was six seconds back.  Regrettably, Nishihara's great university-era rival Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) ran in the B-heat where she won in 32:34.45, a time that would have put her in 3rd in Nishihara's A-heat.  It was a missed opportunity for fans to see the pair go head-to-head in Nishihara's first season as a pro.

2011 National Jitsugyodan Track & Field Championships 10000 m
Pocari Sweat Stadium, Tokushima, 9/23/11
click here for complete results

Men A-Heat
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 27:37.67
2. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 27:37.99
3. John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 27:38.27
4. Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 27:41.13
5. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:46.04
6. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 27:46.71
7. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 27:57.16
8. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:01.31
9. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:07.41
10. Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 28:08.53

Women A-Heat
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:17.59
2. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 32:23.49
3. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 32:37.03
4. Seika Nishikawa (Team Sysmex) - 32:37.28
5. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:38.59
6. Korei Omata (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:40.06
7. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:50.67
8. Madoka Ogi (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 32:51.21
9. Chizuru Ideta (Team Daihatsu) - 32:52.95
10. Akane Wakita (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:55.06

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daegu 5th-Placer Akaba Talks to Media About Renewed Olympic Motivation

http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/HOK201109210003.html

translated by Brett Larner

Daegu World Championships women's marathon 5th-place finisher Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), the top Japanese finisher in the Championships race, gave a press conference Sept. 20 at Hokuren's headquarters in Sapporo, Hokkaido to talk about her renewed motivation after her Daegu performance and her plans for making the London Olympics team.

Appearing together with her coach and husband Shuhei, Akaba talked about her race, saying, "At this summer's World Championships I didn't run the way I hoped, but I think it was a good performance.  Still, I'm really disappointed not to have won a medal."  Akaba also missed out on securing a place on the London Olympics team, but explained, "Looking toward my ultimate goal of an Olympic medal, Daegu helped me find a few weak points in my race and now I know what I need to work on tightening up."*

Shuhei confirmed that Akaba will run in November's East Japan Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships, but with regard to the Osaka International Women's Marathon and other Olympic selection races next year he said only, "We'll make a decision while keeping an eye on the overall situation."

Akaba is based in her native Tochigi prefecture and came to Hokuren headquarters to discuss her World Championships result with the company.  It was her first time holding a press conference within Hokkaido in 1 1/2 years.

*Translator's note: Akaba was with the three Kenyan medalists in Daegu at the time of their move at 33 km.  She clocked a faster split from 35 km to the finish than bronze medalist Sharon Cherop and a faster split than silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo from 40 km to the finish, only 2 seconds slower than gold medalist Edna Kiplagat's closing split, but did not respond to their initiative between 33 and 35 km.  She finished 21 seconds out of the medals.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kawauchi, Kipsang Headline First Osaka Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The organizers of next month's first edition of the new Osaka Marathon have officially made their entry into the already crowded fall marathon season with the release of the elite field for the Oct. 30 race.

Topping the men's field with a 2:07:29 best is 2009 Tokyo Marathon champion Salim Kipsang (Kenya).  His best competition, a surprise entry coming just less than two months after the Daegu World Championships, is 2:08:37 runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) who beat Kipsang at the 2010 Tokyo Marathon.  Other overseas runners include Elijah Sang (Kenya) and Woody Harrelson lookalike Alexsey Sokolov (Russia), who also ran in the World Championships.  The small domestic field includes Japan's two other top amateur runners after Kawauchi, 2009 Copenhagen Marathon winner Toyokazu Yoshimura and infamous wig runner Nobuaki Takata.

The women's field consists primarily of veterans, led by Olympic medalist Lidia Simon (Romania), Hokkaido Marathon course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and two-time Osaka International Women's Marathon runner-up Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz).  The top contender among the younger runners is 2008 Hokkaido Marathon winner Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.).

Non-competitive invited guest runners at the Osaka Marathon include former 10000 m and marathon national record holder Takeyuki Nakayama, 100 km world record and marathon junior national record holder Takahiro Sunada, 1993 Paris Marathon winner Mitsuyo Wada, 1991 Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Mari Tanigawa, 1985 World University Games winner Mami Fukao and round-the-world celebrity runner Kanpei Hazama.

2011 Osaka Marathon Elite Field
to be held Osaka, Oct. 30, 2011
click here for complete field listing

Men
Salim Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:07:29 (Berlin, 2007)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 2:08:37 (Tokyo, 2011)
Kenjiro Jitsui (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:08:50 (Tokyo Int'l, 1996)
Elijah Sang (Kenya) - 2:10:13 (Frankfurt, 2007)
Alexsey A. Sokolov (Russia) - 2:11:53 (Zurich, 2011)
Toyokazu Yoshimura (Osaka T&F Assoc.) - 2:15:05 (Hofu, 2009)
Kenji Onaka (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:15:23 (Kochi, 2011)
Nobuaki Takata (Hirakata Masters AC) - 2:19:00 (Fukuoka Int'l, 2009)

Women
Lidia Simon (Romania) - 2:22:54 (Osaka Int'l, 2000)
Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 2:23:30 (Osaka Int'l, 2003)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido, 2009)
Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:28:55 (Tokyo, 2009)
Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:42:15 (Fukuchiyama, 2009)
Yuki Ino (Team Noritz) - 2:42:33 (Senshu Int'l, 2011)
Misato Tomoeda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - debut - 1:15:48 (Jitsugyodan Half)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Marathoner Kano Returns to Shiseido for Olympic Preparation

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20110922k0000m050021000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Shiseido corporation announced on Sept. 21 that marathoner Yuri Kano, who left the Second Wind AC running club and longtime coach Manabu Kawagoe at the end of August, will return to its corporate running team on Oct. 1.  She is targeting the marathon at next year's London Olympics.  The 32-year-old Kano originally joined the Shiseido team in 2001 but followed Kawagoe in quitting the team in 2007 to found Second Wind.  Her achievements at the marathon distance include a 7th place finish at the 2009 World Championships and a win at last year's Nagoya International Women's Marathon.  Kano commented, "I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to run.  Running has given me the opportunity to live as an athlete and to grow as a person, now I want to let this tremendous flower bloom."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waseda Begins Ekiden Season Campaign With Training in Disaster-Hit Iwate

http://www.iwanichi.co.jp/ichinoseki/item_25911.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Its course record wins at all three major university men's ekidens in the 2010-2011 season making it the best university team ever assembled, Waseda University's ekiden squad has arrived in Ichinoseki, Iwate to begin training for the first key battle in this year's campaign, October's Izumo Ekiden.  On Sept. 19th the team held a public reception at its training facilities in the city's Hanaizumi district to greet and offer support to local residents affected by March's disasters.  With the entry list for this year's Izumo Ekiden announced the same day, the reception also served to mark the beginning of serious training for the team's core group of athletes.

Waseda's ekiden team originally began using Hanaizumi as a training base in 1990 and has continued with only one interruption.  Team alumnus Yasuyuki Watanabe (38), now Waseda's head coach, experienced the Hanaizumi training camp during his own student days.  The training facilities were badly damaged in March's earthquake, but the city government felt it was important to continue to be able to offer the team the same quality training environment as every year and conducted emergency repairs to have the facilities in working order in time.

At the reception 24 members of the Waseda team greeted city residents and members of the local Waseda University Hakone Ekiden Supporters' Committee.  Committee president Hikoichi Ishida told the team, "Congratulations on achieving the triple crown.  It gives us pride to know that it was at least in part due to your training here in Hanaizumi, and we look forward to your running this season."  Ichinoseki mayor Osamu Katsube likewise extended the team his compliments.  Coach Watanabe told the assembled crowd, "It's already been a year since our triple crown.  We've got less than a month until the Izumo Ekiden and my aim here to get us into a position where we are ready to defend our title."

Team captain Yuki Yagi was unable to attend the training camp due to injuries, leaving his fellow senior Yusuke Mita to lead the team at the Izumo Ekiden for the first time.  Coach Watanabe commented, "We're ramping things up and aren't looking bad overall.  Our strength is the high level of every athlete on the team."*  Mita added, "Every single day is important.  This year I want us to pay back all of [Ichinoseki residents'] support and encouragement."

On Sept. 20th the team went to Ichinoseki's Wakutsu Elementary School to hold a running clinic for local children.  Waseda's training camp will continue through Sept. 24th.

*Translator's note: Last season Waseda had ten men with 10000 m PBs under 29 minutes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Track Results

Chugoku Jitsugyodan Long Distance Time Trials
Miyoshi Sports Park, Hiroshima, 9/17/11
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m
1. Yoshie Kurisu (Team Tenmaya) - 15:56.39
2. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 16:21.30
3. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 16:22.40
4. Kaori Urata (Team Tenmaya) - 16:32.17
5. Miku Kugio (Team Tenmaya) - 17:14.77

Men's 5000 m
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 13:43.50
2. Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 14:08.47
3. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 14:10.47
4. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 14:10.65
5. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 14:12.81
6. Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:13.43

Women's 3000 m
1. Susan Wylim (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 9:06.79
2. Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 9:28.22
3. Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:28.97
4. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 9:36.34
5. Ayaka Inoue (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:38.87


2011 Kinki Regional High School Youth Track and Field Championships
Ojiyama Field, Otsu, 9/16-18/11 - all distance races held 9/18/11
click here for complete results

1st-Yr. Girls' 3000 m
1. Yuki Honbo (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:31.16
2. Kotona Ota (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:31.45
3. Asaka Iwai (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:33.11
4. Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:38.36
5. Mizuki Matsuda (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 9:38.91

2nd-Yr. Girls' 3000 m
1. Airi Kiyomasa (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 9:29.43
2. Risa Yokoe (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:33.05
3. Mai Hirota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 9:33.46
4. Chika Okazaki (Hidaka H.S.) - 9:36.27
5. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:43.76

1st-Yr. Boys' 5000 m
1. Shigeki Fujiwara (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:57.08
2. Shoma Yamamoto (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 15:17.19
3. Ryuta Hosokawa (Osaka Shoin H.S.) - 15:18.77

2nd-Yr. Boys' 5000 m
1. Keisuke Nakatani (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:44.52
2. Yuki Hirota (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:45.70
3. Saya Yamamoto (Shiga Gakuen H.S.) - 14:59.02
4. Hirotaka Ido (Tatsuno H.S.) - 14:59.10
5. Kosei Shirokoshi (Ritsumeikan H.S.) - 15:02.13

Notturna di Milano Men's 3000 m - Results

2011 Notturna di Milano
Milan, Italy, 9/18/11
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 m
1. Augustine Choge (Kenya) - 7:41.30
2. Mekonnen Gebremedin (Ethiopia) - 7:41.42
3. Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) - 7:42.00
4. Bilisuma Shugi (Bahrain) - 7:42.71
5. Maxim Obrubanskyy (Ukraine) - 7:55.22
6. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 8:03.46
7. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 8:06.33
8. Maruane Razine (Morocco) - 8:07.75
9. Barnabas Bene (Italy) - 8:22.87
10. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 8:24.14

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon - Results

2011 Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon
Philadelphia, U.S.A., 9/18/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Kim Smith (New Zealand) - 1:07:11 - CR
2. Weknesh Kidane (Ethiopia) - 1:07:26
3. Bizunesh Deba (Ethiopia) - 1:09:53
4. Jane Kibii (Kenya) - 1:10:23
5. Maegen Krifchin (U.S.A.) - 1:11:04
6. Diane Nukuri (Kenya) - 1:12:08
7. Yolanda Caballero (Colombia) - 1:12:35
8. Claire Hallissey - 1:12:39
9. Misiker Mekonnin (Ethiopia) - 1:12:57
10. Dot McMahan (U.S.A.) - 1:12:57
-----
16. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 1:14:35

Men
1. Matthew Kisorio (Kenya) - 58:46
2. Sammy Kitwara (Kenya) - 58:48
3. James Mwangi (Kenya) - 1:00:42
4. Peter Kamais (Kenya) - 1:01:06
5. Julius Koskei (Kenya) - 1:01:21
6. Shawn Forrest - 1:01:34
7. Abderrahim Goumri (Morocco) - 1:01:41
8. Hosea Macharinyang (Kenya) - 1:01:42
9. Bobby Curtis (U.S.A.) - 1:01:52
10. Markos Geneti (Ethiopia) - 1:02:01

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Former Suzuki Teammates Kabuu and Mathathi Win Great North Run Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Former teammates at Shizuoka-based Suzuki Hamamatsu AC, Kenyans Lucy Wangui Kabuu and Martin Irungu Mathathi staged dominating performances to win the women's and men's races at the rolling downhill Great North Run half marathon on Sept. 18.  Wangui, a graduate of Aomori Yamada H.S. before running for Suzuki and winning 10000 m gold and 5000 m bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, showed no sign of her near-absence from competition since the Beijing Olympics as she made an early surge at world record pace to easily crush the field, winning in 1:07:06 over two minutes up on runner-up Jessica Augusto (Portugal).  2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon 3rd-placer Marisa Barros (Portugal) was 3rd again only four weeks after finishing 9th in the Daegu World Championships marathon.  Formerly Japan-based Mara Yamauchi (Great Britain), in training for November's third edition of Yokohama, was a DNF after dropping from the lead pack early.

Mathathi, the 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist, 2006 World XC bronze medalist and junior world record holder over 10 miles, ran the Great North Run three weeks after finishing 5th at the Daegu World Championships.  Responding to an aggressive move from Jonathan Maiyo (Kenya), Mathathi reeled Maiyo in and then pushied on alone on course record pace.  Checking his watch repeatedly in the final kilometer, Mathathi took nearly a minute off his 59:48 debut as he won in a course-record 58:56 to become one of a select club of men to have broken 59 minutes for the marathon.  Maiyo held on to 2nd, while 2011 London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) ran down former road 10 km world record holder Micah Kogo (Kenya) for 3rd, making it a Kenyan sweep of the top four positions.

2011 Great North Run
Newcastle, U.K., 9/18/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Lucy Wangui Kabuu (Kenya) - 1:07:06
2. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:09:27
3. Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 1:10:29
4. Jo Pavey (Great Britain) - 1:10:49
5. Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain) - 1:10:57
6. Irene Jerotich (Kenya) - 1:11:03
7. Irene Mogaka (Kenya) - 1:11:13
8. Rene Kalmer - 1:11:46
9. Krisztina Papp - 1:12:08
10. Freya Murray (Great Britian) - 1:12:44
DNF - Mara Yamauchi (Great Britian)

Men
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 58:56 - CR
2. Jonathan Maiyo (Kenya) - 59:27
3. Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 59:52
4. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 1:00:03
5. Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 1:01:02
6. Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) - 1:01:31
7. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 1:03:09
8. Yared Hagos - 1:03:31
9. Daniel Chaves - 1:03:37
10. Keith Gerrard - 1:03:39

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 16, 2011

Memorial Van Damme Men's 10000 m Results

2011 Memorial Van Damme Men's 10000 m
Brussels, Belgium, 9/16/11
click here for complete results

1. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - 26:43.16
2. Lucas Rotich (Kenya) - 26:43.98 - PB
3. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 26:48.00 - PB, AR
4. Emmanuel Bett (Kenya) - 26:51.95
5. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) - 26:53.27
6. Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) - 26:55.73 - PB
7. Titus Mbishei (Kenya) - 26:59.81 - PB
8. Paul Lonyangata (Kenya) - 27:21.62
9. Mike Kigen (Kenya) - 27:30.53 - PB
10. Denis Masai (Kenya) - 27:32.97 - PB
11. Josphat Bett (Kenya) - 27:57.60
-----
DNF - Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Murasawa, Yoroizaka PB in Palio della Quercia 5000 m

by Brett Larner

Four of Japan's brightest young talents ran the 2011 Palio della Quercia 5000 m Sept. 13 in Rovereto, Italy, their stated goal to clear the Olympic A-standard of 13:20.  Although all four fell short, each of the Japanese athletes had positive results.  2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) had his first good run of the year after injuries last fall, 4th overall in 13:27.14.  Top-ranked university men Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) and Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) both scored new PBs, Yoroizaka cracking 13:30, a rarity among Japanese university men.  In both talent and propensity for injury Japan's answer to Dathan Ritzenhein, Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) also showed himself on the rebound from injuries sustained in Europe late last summer, at 13:32.98 far off his Rovereto best of 13:22.36 from 2006 but one second ahead of his best time from his abbreviated 2010 season.

Murasawa, Takezawa and Ueno will stay in Italy to run the 3000 m at the Sept. 18 La Notturna di Milano meet.  Unsatisfied with his Palio della Quercia time, Murasawa is scheduled to run the 5000 m at the Oct. 1 Saitama Prefectural Corporate Track and Field Championships meet along with teammate Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) and rival Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.), the three students having received special permission to run in the pro meet in order to help them set faster marks.  Murasawa, who ran 28:00.78 in the spring, was also quoted as saying that he hopes to run a 10000 m this fall targeting 27:30-27:45.  Even the slower end of that range would clear the London Olympic A-standard.  The faster end would be Japanese national record territory.

2011 Palio della Quercia
Rovereto, Italy, 9/13/11
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m
1. Joseph Kiplimo (Kenya) - 13:15.23
2. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 13:15.27
3. Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 13:27.14
4. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 13:27.66
5. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 13:29.11 - PB
6. Arne Gabius (Germany) - 13:32.08
7. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:32.98
8. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 13:34.85 - PB
9. Maxim Obrubanskyy (Italy) - 13:36.48
10. Daudi Liokitok Makalla (Kenya) - 13:42.47

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

World Champion Ibrahim Jeilan Wins All-Africa 10000 m, Bitan Karoki Takes Silver

http://bit.ly/oLKCLB

The article above lists the gold and silver medalists at the All-Africa Games 10000 m as Ebrahim Gashu of Ethiopia and Bernard Muchiri of Kenya.  According to the ARRS' competition rankings, these athletes are in fact Japan-based World Champion Ibrahim Jeilan Gashu (Team Honda) and Bitan Karoki Muchiri (Team S&B).  Both runners train in Saitama prefecture.  Ibrahim is cited as having won in 28:18.22, with Karoki just behind in 28:19.32.  Awaiting confirmation of official results.

Update: Ibrahim's coach Kiyoshi Akimoto just confirmed to JRN that Ibrahim did in fact win.

Update: Unofficial results.  These results list Karoki as 7th and Kenyan Kenneth Kipkemboi having taken silver, but that seems likely to be an accidental name reversal.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Defending World Champion Nakadai Fifth at 100 km World Championships

by Brett Larner

For the second-straight year, Shinji Nakadai (Harriers AC) was the top Japanese man at the IAU 100 km World Championships, held this year in Winschoten, Netherlands.  The defending individual men's world champion, Nakadai made no attempt to follow the reckless early pace set by eventual winner Giorgio Calcaterra, who averaged as fast as 3:42/km in the first stages of the race.  Neither did any of the other athletes in the field, as Calcaterra took the world title by a margin of over 15 minutes.  The strong American squad kept three men in the top pack throughout the race and ended up taking the individual silver and bronze medals as well as team gold led by veteran Michael Wardian.  Nakadai faded after 80 km, taking 5th in 6:48:32, but thanks in large part to a solid 10th-place run by teammate Yoshiki Takada Japan was able to nail down the team silver medal by just 1:51 over Calcaterra's Italy squad which went home with bronze.

The women's race saw a similarly dominating individual performance as Russia's Marine Bychkova won in 7:27:19 by nearly 14 minutes over British runner Joanna Zakrzewski.  South Africa's Lindsay Anne van Aswegen took the bronze medal less than a minute behind Zakrzewski.  Three Russian women finished in the top ten, giving the Russians the team gold to with Bychkova's individual medal.  The American women claimed silver with two women in the top ten.  The Japanese women's team were relatively weak individually, but thanks to a tight pack finish by top three members Naomi OchiaiYuko Ito and Shiho Katayama they managed to edge the South African and British squads for team bronze by a narrow margin.

2011 100 km World Championships
Winschoten, Netherlands, 9/10/11
click here for complete results

Men
1. Giorgio Calcaterra (Italy) - 6:27:32
2. Michael Wardian (U.S.A.) - 6:42:49
3. Andrew Henshaw (U.S.A.) - 6:44:35
4. Pieter Vermeesch (Belgium) - 6:47:01
5. Shinji Nakadai (Japan) - 6:48:32
6. Matt Wood (U.S.A.) - 6:50:23
7. Jonas Budd (Sweden) - 6:52:19
8. Yoshiki Takada (Japan) - 7:03:55
9. Andr Collet (Germany) - 7:04:35
10. Dominique Bordet (France) - 7:04:37
-----
18. Masakazu Takahashi (Japan) - 7:12:33
30. Kenichi Ito (Japan) - 7:32:19
39. Yoshikazu Hara (Japan) - 7:46:16
41. Shingo Inoue (Japan) - 7:47:35

Men's Teams
1. U.S.A. - 20:17:47
2. Japan - 21:05:00
3. Italy - 21:06:51

Women
1. Marine Bychkova (Russia) - 7:27:19
2. Joanna Zakrzewski (Great Britain) - 7:41:06
3. Lindsay Anne van Aswegen (South Africa) - 7:42:05
4. Irina Vishnevskaya (Russia) - 7:45:27
5. Meghan Arbogast (U.S.A.) - 7:51:10
6. Annette Bednosky (U.S.A.) - 7:54:59
7. Gloria Vinstedt (Sweden) - 7:55:09
8. Sabine Hofer (Austria) - 8:02:17
9. Kerry Jacqueline Koen (South Africa) - 8:06:29
10. Maria Aksenova (Russia) - 8:06:54
-----
12. Naomi Ochiai (Japan) - 8:10:14
13. Yuko Ito (Japan) - 8:11:13
14. Shiho Katayama (Japan) - 8:13:46
17. Mai Fujisawa (Japan) - 8:19:49
22. Akiko Oda (Japan) - 8:29:18
37. Wakako Oyagi (Japan) - 9:19:47

Women's Teams
1. Russia - 23:19:40
2. U.S.A. - 23:56:20
3. Japan - 24:35:13

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Osako, Murayama Win National University 1500 m and 5000 m

by Brett Larner



At the 2011 Japanese National University Track & Field Championships in Kumamoto, Waseda University sophomore Suguru Osako added further evidence to back up the argument that he is Japan's best all-around university distance runner.  Consider everything he has done in the last 10 months:
  • An Asian junior area record 1:01:47 in his half marathon debut to win last November's Ageo City Half Marathon with the largest-ever margin of victory at the world's deepest half marathon
  • A solo 1:02:23 win with another commanding margin of victory on the 21.4 km First Stage at January's Hakone Ekiden, equivalent to a 1:01:31 half marathon
  • A 13:31.27 PB for 5000 m in May, the fastest in several years by a Japanese university runner
  • A 10000 m gold medal at last month's World University Games
At the National University Championships he ran a PB 3:45.06 to win the 1500 m national title over teammate and 1500 m specialist Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.), giving Osako dominant performances at everything from 1500 m to half marathon.  All that is missing is a strong 10000 m PB run to match the marks set this season by Tetsuya Yoroizaka (27:44.30, Meiji Univ.) and Osako's former Saku Chosei H.S. teammate Akinobu Murasawa (28:00.78, Tokai Univ.), but that can't be far away.



With the fastest 5000 m PB in the field by a considerable margin Osako was also the favorite in the 5000 m, but his wins in both the heats and final of the 1500 m caught up to him as he was outrun by two first-years, Komazawa University's Kenta Murayama and the Stephen Mayaka-coached Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.).  Murayama, who ran the all-time 3rd best Japanese high schooler 10000 m time of 28:23.18 in December, won out in a four-way sprint finish against Onsarigo, Osako and teammate Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.), clocking 13:54.00 to Onsarigo's 13:54.76.  Osako took 3rd a few steps back in 13:55.22.  Murayama's win was a landmark performance, the first time in 35 years that a Japanese first-year has won the Nationals 5000 m.  The last runner to achieve the feat?  The legendary Toshihiko Seko (Waseda Univ.).



In the women's 1500 m, Akane Yabushita of once-dominant Ritsumeikan University picked up her school's only national title of these championships, winning in 4:17.35 by more than one second over Chikako Mori of Daito Bunka University.  Yabushita's superb teammate Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was the favorite in the 5000 m, but she lost out in a one-on-one match race against Nagoya University ace Ayuko Suzuki.  Suzuki had an excellent kick over the last lap to take Takenaka down, 15:44.02 to 15:44.88.  Chinami Mori of defending national champion Bukkyo University was 11 seconds back in 3rd, meaning Bukkyo's distance squad came up empty-ended at this year's championships.

2011 National University Track & Field Championships
Kumamoto, 9/9-11/11
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m
1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:54.00
2. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 13:54.76
3. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:55.22
4. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:56.62
5. Hideyuki Tanaka (Juntendo Univ.) - 14:02.65

Women's 5000 m
1. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:44.02
2. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:44.88
3. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:55.35
4. Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:05.12
5. Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 16:05.44

Men's 1500 m
1. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:45.06
2. Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) - 3:45.17
3. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 3:46.91
4. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:47.70
5. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:49.09

Women's 1500 m
1. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:17.35
2. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:18.70
3. Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:20.72
4. Satoe Kikuchi (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:21.40
5. Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) - 4:22.02

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 9, 2011

World Univ. Games 10000 m Champ Osako Leads 1500 m Heat - National Univ. Track & Field Championships Day One

by Brett Larner

The 2011 Japanese National University Track & Field Championships kicked off Sept. 9 in Kumamoto.  2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist and Asian junior half marathon area record holder Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) bypassed the 10000 m for the 1500 m, winning his heat to advance to the final.  His teammate Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) likewise won the faster second heat where the top four all beat Osako's time of 3:51.39, making for an interesting final on tap later this weekend.  After running 13:31.27 earlier this season, the best time in several years by a Japanese university runner, sophomore Osako is also the favorite in tomorrow's 5000 m where he is on the start list.

The women's 1500 m heats saw a mix of familiar faces and newcomers advancing to the finals, top-ranked women Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.), Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) and Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) all advancing through the competitive third heat with relative unknowns Yasuka Ueno (Tsukuba Univ.) and Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) taking the other two heats.  High school star Mahiro Akamatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) continued to struggle to make the transition to university running as she finished only 7th in her heat and failed to advance.

The men's 10000 m seemed fairly straight-up on the surface, Kenyans Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.), Joseph Onsarigo (Sozo Gakuen Univ.) and John Maina (Takushoku Univ.) taking things out.  What made the race different was that the only Japanese runner to hang in with them hailed from Western Japan, Fukuoka University's Takuro Nakanishi.  East Japan's Kanto Region is the world's highest-level university men's distance system, the home of the Hakone Ekiden, and it is rare to see a quality Japanese runner go to school outside Kanto.  Nevertheless, Nakanishi hung tough to finish 3rd behind defending national champion Gandu and first-year Onsarigo, holding off fast-closing Kanto-based Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) by just over one second.

In the women's 10000 m, collegiate national record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) took the race out at 3:10/km pace after having run the 10000 m at the Daegu World Championships.  Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) was the only runner to consistently stay with Yoshimoto, Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo) falling a short distance back after initially running with the lead pair.  Yoshimoto briefly pulled into the lead but faded by 7000 m and was run down by first Oka and then Kushima.  Oka took her first national title as the only runner in the field to break 33 minutes, crossing the line in 32:45.65.  Kushima was a long distance back in 2nd in 33:09.95, with Yoshimoto fainting after finishing 3rd in 33:26.67.

2011 Japanese National University Track & Field Championships Day One
Kumamoto, 9/9/11
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Final
1. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:45.74
2. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 29:05.46
3. Takuro Nakanishi (Fukuoka Univ.) - 29:23.99
4. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 29:25.07
5. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 29:29.45
6. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 29:33.57
7. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 29:35.42
8. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:38.88
9. Kazuki Noda (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 29:44.32
10. Takamitsu Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 29:45.43
DNF - John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.)

Women's 10000 m Final
1. Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 32:45.65
2. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:09.95
3. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:26.67
4. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 33:33.22
5. Nanami Matsuura (Kanoya Taiku Univ.) - 33:33.82
6. Narumi Shirataki (Nihon Univ.) - 33:34.69
7. Rina Inetsu (Meijo Univ.) - 33:34.97
8. Natsumi Fujiwara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:36.73
9. Saori Kitamura (Juntendo Univ.) - 33:40.30
10. Ai Furokubo (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:45.34

Men's 1500 m 
Heat 1
1. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:51.39 - Q
2. Toshiki Imazaki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 3:51.69 - Q
3. Fumiya Tanji (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3:51.70 - Q
4. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 3:51.80 - Q
5. Toshiyuki Koyama (Kyoto Univ.) - 3:51.94 - q
6. Daiki Sakaniwa (Keio Univ.) - 3:52.02 - q

Heat 2
1. Tatsuro Okazaki (Waseda Univ.) - 3:50.35 - Q
2. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 3:50.51 - Q
3. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:51.02 - Q
4. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:51.18 - Q
5. Ryo Iketani (Kanoya Taiku Univ.) - 3:51.55 - q
6. Yusuke Umeki (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 3:52.00 - q

Women's 1500 m
Heat 1
1. Yasuka Ueno (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:26.22 - Q
2. Izumi Minemura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:28.17 - Q
3. Riho Konishi (Kansai Univ.) - 4:28.34 - Q

Heat 2
1. Haruka Mochizuki (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:24.20 - Q
2. Satoe Kikuchi (Matsuyama Univ.) - 4:24.22 - Q
3. Mayuko Nakamura (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 4:25.64 - Q
4. Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:26.00 - q
5. Rina Hidaki (Fukuoka Univ.) - 4:27.71 - q

Heat 3
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:26.89 - Q
2. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:27.15 - Q
3. Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) - 4:27.98 - Q
4. Miyuki Mandai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:28.98 - q

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Fukushi, Sato, Matsumiya and More to Run Chicago Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Chicago Marathon has updated its elite field listing for this year's running due on Oct. 9.  Notable amond the adds are Japanese half marathon national record holders Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and former 30 km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), along with five other Japanese men.  For Fukushi it will be her first attempt at a marathon since her bizzarely suicidal debut at the 2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon.  In the official press release announcing her participation Fukushi was quoted as saying, "At this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, I want to challenge the 2:20 mark, and also test my own abilities in the marathon and what the distance involves. Racing in Chicago is the start of my preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games Marathon in London."

Sato will be attempting another comeback after a year and a half away from the distance.  Matsumiya, the top Japanese man at last year's Fukuoka International Marathon, has yet to translate his success at shorter distance to the marathon but will no doubt be aiming to join the list of Japanese men to break 2:10 this year.  Five other Japanese men who ran well in domestic marathons during the last winter/spring season are also slated to run.  Below is a listing of Japanese runners currently entered.  Click here for the official field listing.

2011 Chicago Marathon Field - Japanese Men
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:07:13 (3rd, Fukuoka 2007)
Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:10:04 (2nd, Rotterdam 2007)
Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 2:12:05 (10th, Tokyo 2011)
Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:12:07 (10th, Biwako 2011)
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18 (1st, Nobeoka 2010)
Hironori Arai (Team Chudenko) - 2:12:27 (11th, Biwako 2011)
Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) - 2:12:34 (6th, Beppu-Oita 2011)

Japanese Women
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:40:54 (19th, Osaka 2008)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

World Championships Marathon 7th Placer Horibata Feted at Nobeoka City Hall

http://mainichi.jp/area/miyazaki/news/20110908ddlk45050568000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Sept. 7 Hiroyuki Horibata (24, Team Asahi Kasei), the top Japanese finisher in the 2011 Daegu World Championships men's marathon at 7th in in 2:11:52, made an appearance at his hometown Nobeoka City Hall in Miyazaki prefecture to talk about his race and his plans for making the 2012 London Olympic team.

Horibata smiled at the warmly welcoming applause from the staff and guests at city hall.  Nobeoka mayor Masaharu Sudo told him, "You met the hopes of all the citizens of Noboeka.  It was an outstanding performance."  Horibata told the crowd, "I ran with my own rhythm, with a margin of strength that came from inside.  I did better than my goal of 8th place.  My training went completely according to plan, and that's why I was able to achieve this result.  In my next race I want to seal up my place on the Olympic team."  Horibata's coach Takeshi Soh commented with assurance, "The field in this year's race was extremely high-level, so the fact that he was able to finish in the prize money is especially meaningful.  It's safe to say that among Japanese athletes he is the frontrunner for the London [Olympic] team."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Murasawa, Takezawa, Ueno and Yoroizaka Tuning Up in Europe

by Brett Larner

Top-ranked university men Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) are in Europe along with 2010 10000 m champion Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) and 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) to shoot for fast 5000 m times at the Palio Citta della Quercio meet in Rovereto, Italy, the same meet where Takezawa ran 13:22.36 and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran 13:23.57 as 19-year-old university students in 2006.  Murasawa, Sato and Ueno are all graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S.

Murasawa, Takezawa, Ueno and Yoroizaka ran the first of their tuneup races for Rovereto Sept. 7 in Watford, England, running the 1500 m at the BMC Gold Standard Races meet.  Results below.

2011 BMC Gold Standard Races
Watford, U.K., 9/7/11
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 m
1. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 8:17.92

Men's 1500 m Heat A
1. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 3:49.25
2. Ben Wallis (St. Mary's Univ.) - 3:49.42
3. Ian Williamson (Loughborough Univ.) - 3:49.83
4. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 3:50.10
5. Ben Tickner (U.K.) - 3:50.41

Men's 1500 m Heat B
1. Alex Cornwall (Birmingham Univ.) - 3:54.06
2. Niall Fleming (Birmingham Univ.) - 3:54.21
3. Jonathan Davies (Reading AC) - 3:54.80
4. Jamie Taylor-Caldwell (Birmingham) - 3:55.07
5. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 3:55.52

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Marathoner Kawauchi Vows To Carry On As An Amateur

http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/TKY201109060696.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Colleagues admire Kawauchi's World Championships team silver medal. Click photo to enlarge.

After finishing 18th at the Sept. 4 World Championships marathon in Daegu, Korea and helping the Japanese national team win a silver medal, Yuki Kawauchi returned to work at Kasukabe High School Sept. 6.  Showing up for the first time since the race as usual wearing a backpack over his white dress shirt, Kawauchi was greeted in the office by a round of enthusiastic applause and congratulations from his colleagues.  Normally working in the afternoon and evening, Kawauchi arrived at work half an hour earlier than usual.  He said that due to intense soreness in his calves and thighs he had only been able to run 30 minutes that morning.

Showing his silver medal to principal Toshio Matsuda, Kawauchi recounted his race.  "'You're the pride of Wasimiya Junior High School!' and other messages I had received from children were going around in my head in the second half of the race, and that was what powered me when I was trying to hang on in the last part.  The drink that Kasukabe High's nutritionist Koji Nakayama designed for me also became really useful after 30 km."

Principal Matsuda told him, "I think your exposure to the speed and tactical sense of the world-class athletes in this race was an invaluable experience and I hope that it will lead to bigger and better things for you."  Kawauchi told his co-workers, "I'm still convinced that the way I've done things so far, training amid other amateurs, is the right way.  There are some bitter memories, but looking to the future I want to keep going the same way, and to become a Japanese man who can compete with the rest of the world.  If I focus on London it just becomes another pressure.  I want to run one race at a time, staying true to my ideals, my theme, in every one of them."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

282,824 Apply for 2012 Tokyo Marathon

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20110905-OYT1T00843.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced on Sept. 5 that entries for the full marathon division of the 2012 Tokyo Marathon, scheduled for Feb. 26, reached 9.6 times the number of available places, a new record in Tokyo's six-year history.  As of the Aug. 31 entry deadline, 282,824 people had applied for the 29,400 spots in the field.  Another 1,164 people applied for the 400 places in the 10 km, now restricted to under-18 and handicapped athletes.  Results of the entry lottery are expected to be sent out by email in mid-October.  Charity full marathon entrants who raise more than 100,000 yen [~$1,300 USD] have until the end of November to apply for one of the 3,000 additional places in that category.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Post-Race Quotes From the Japanese Men's World Championships Marathon Team

translated by Brett Larner

Kitaoka, Oda, Kawauchi, Nakamoto and Horibata with their team silver medals, Japan's eighth-straight World Championships finishing on the men's team podium. Click photo to enlarge.

Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 7th, 2:11:52

"I came down with a fever before the race.  It didn't hold me back and I ran with my full strength, but now I can't breathe through my nose.  It was cloudy on race day and felt very cool so I thought it was going to go out fast, but it started a little slow.  After 5 km the pace started going back and forth, something I've never experienced before.  It was my first time running Worlds, and up until 15 km I had some margin to enjoy it, but after 20 km things picked way up and I could feel the margin disappearing from my legs.  I figured the pace would slow down again so I thought I would try to stick with them, but things never slowed down and I drifted back from the top pack.  This time my training was solid all the way until the end, so even once I was all alone I had confidence that I'd be able to keep going like I did in practice.  Finishing 7th met my pre-race goals, so I'm very happy about that."

Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 10th, 2:13:10

"It was good that I was able to hang on through the second half but I'm disappointed at not making the top eight.  I feel disappointment and a sense of accomplishment about fifty-fifty.  I couldn't roll with [the Africans] when they started shaking things up."

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 18th, 2:16:11

"Personally speaking it was a failure, but I'm glad I was able to help win a [team] medal.  I achieved my minimum goal.  I had trouble sleeping because of stress, but once I started running it was like normal.  After I finished my hands, feet, lips, thighs and shoulders were all shaking.  I'm glad I could do something for Japan.  In the winter I'm going to run Fukuoka and Tokyo.  I'll be shooting for 2:07 there, or at least Seko and Nakayama's best times"

Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 29th, 2:18:05

"I couldn't handle the speed all the international runners brought.  In my training before the race I focused on building my stamina, but I can see now that I should have worked on my speed more as well.  The left leg injury I've had before felt like it was on the edge of coming back, so I tried to just maintain a steady pace but it was hard and I had to just run by feel.  It was a good experience.  It'll be a bitter memory but I hope to learn from it for my next marathon."

Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 38th, 2:23:11

"I'd had injury problems and was just barely ready.  After the beginning of August I felt a lot lighter but I didn't have nearly enough training under my belt.  It was hard after 5 km and there was no way around that, but since I was running for the Japanese national team I'm glad I was able to finish."

Update 9/7/11: Click here for a screenshot of American track fansite Letsrun.com's strangely bigoted response to Japan's silver medal.

source articles:
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/p-sp-tp0-20110905-830600.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/osaka/sports/article/news/20110905-OHO1T00079.htm
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/chuspo/article/sports/news/CK2011090502000071.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/110905/spg1109050506002-n2.htm
http://www.asahi-kasei.co.jp/asahi/jp/csr/sports/rikujo/result/2011/110904.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830294.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830298.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830299.html

Miyauchi Wins Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, Fujita Third at Great Scottish Run

by Brett Larner

The Japanese National Corporate Half Marathon Championships have a long-standing relationship with overseas half marathons, the top domestic finishers being named to the Japanese team for the World Half Marathon and the next tier being sent to the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon.  This year's Corporate Half was cancelled in the wake of March's natural disasters and the World Half Marathon is likewise not being held, but Japanese athletes turned out as usual at both Rock 'n' Roll and the GSR.

Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), the top Japanese woman over the half marathon distance in 2010, won Rock 'n' Roll in 1:11:48 after a patient race in which she hung back while Kenyan Jane Kibil battled with Olympian Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and newcomer Fumiko Hashimoto (Team Shimamura).  Inaugural Gifu Half Marathon winner Mao Kuroda (Team Yutaka Giken) was only 7th in 1:13:37 as Japanese women took 8 of the top 10 positions.  Only two Japanese men cracked the top ten, Hironori Arai (Team Chudenko) taking the top domestic spot in 8th in 1:04:32, over two minutes behind winner Benson Barus (Kenya) who clocked 1:02:21.

Across the Atlantic times were slightly more competitive at the Great Scottish Run.  Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) ran an almost identical time to Miyauchi's, 1:11:51, but was only 3rd in the women's race over two minutes behind Kenyan winning pair Flomena Chepchirchir and Hilda Jepchumba Kibet.  2011 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon 3rd-placer Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) ran 1:03:45 for 5th in the men's race, with Yusuke Kawaminami (Team Osaka Gas) a short way back in 6th and Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) also cracking the top 10.

2011 Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon
Virginia Beach, U.S.A., 9/4/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:11:48
2. Jane Kibil (Kenya) - 1:12:04
3. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 1:12:10
4. Fumiko Hashimoto (Team Shimamura) - 1:12:19
5. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 1:12:34
6. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:13:16
7. Mao Kuroda (Team Yutaka Giken) - 1:13:37
8. Yumi Sato (Team Shiseido) - 1:13:40
9. Nuta Olaru (Romania) - 1:14:05
10. Korei Omata (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:14:22

Men
1. Benson Barus (Kenya) - 1:02:21
2. Solomon Busendich (Kenya) - 1:02:35
3. Samuel Ndereba (Kenya) - 1:03:01
4. Ryan Hall (U.S.A.) - 1:03:01
5. Reid Coolsaet (Canada) - 1:03:16
6. Eric Gillis (Canada) - 1:03:34
7. Josphat Boit (Kenya) - 1:04:31
8. Hironori Arai (Team Chudenko) - 1:04:32
9. Vyscheslav Shabunin (Russia) - 1:04:49
10. Koichi Sakai (Team Fujitsu) - 1:06:18
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12. Kazuki Onishi (Team Kanebo) - 1:07:34

Great Scottish Run Half Marathon
Glasgow, Scotland, 9/4/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Flomena Chepchirchir (Kenya) - 1:09:26
2. Hilda Jepchumba Kibet (Kenya) - 1:09:36
3. Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 1:11:51
4. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 1:14:06
5. Dinknesh Tefera (Ethiopia) - 1:14:27
6. Fiona Matheson (Scotland) - 1:18:26
7. Hayley Haining (Scotland) - 1:18:46
8. Gemma Rankin (Scotland) - 1:19:56
9. Mhairi Duff (Scotland) - 1:19:59
10. Angela Hibbs (Scotland) - 1:20:20

Men
1. Joseph Birech (Kenya) - 1:01:26
2. Bernard Kipkemoi Rotich (Kenya) - 1:01:28
3. Rashed Essa Ismail (Qatar) - 1:02:10
4. Jason Mbote (Kenya) - 1:02:44
5. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 1:03:45
6. Yusuke Kawaminami (Team Osaka Gas) - 1:04:25
7. Derek Hawkins (Scotland) - 1:05:24
8. Tewoldeberhan Mengisteab (Eritera) - 1:05:25
9. Dmitry Safronov (Russia) - 1:06:10
10. Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:06:28
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13. Takahiro Aso (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:07:59

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Horibata Leads Japanese Men to World Champs Team Silver

by Brett Larner

Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) finished 7th at the World Championships men's marathon to lead the Japanese squad to team silver, the county's only hardware in a running event at this World Championships, continuing Japan's streak of men's marathon team medals in every World Championships since 1997.  In a race full of high-profile DNF's Horibata ran with tenacity to finish in the prize money in 2:11:52, the third-best time of his career and the fastest mark in the race by a non-African.

While Asian Games silver medalist Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) and 2011 Tokyo Marathon 4th-placer Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) lost touch after less than 10 km, Horibata, Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) hung in the lead pack through halfway until the big Kenyan break that led to defending gold medalist Abel Kirui's second-straight win.  Kawauchi, who led early in the race, fell back in the second half but held on to finish as the third scoring member of the Japanese team in 2:16:11, like Horibata the third-best  time of his career.  Nakamoto lasted longer, as predicted coming through with a valuable run.  He finished as the second man on the Japanese team, 10th in 2:13:10, also the third-best time of his career.

Kenya took the team gold by a wide margin on the strength of Kirui and Vincent Kipruto's individual gold and silver medal runs and David Barmasai Tumo's 5th-place finish, with Morocco taking team bronze thanks in part to Abderrahime Bouramdane's gutsy 4th place finish.  Only Kenya and Japan had more than one runner in the top ten.

2011 World Championships Men's Marathon
Daegu, Korea, 9/4/11
click here for complete results

1. Abel Kirui (Kenya) - 2:07:38
2. Vincento Kipruto (Kenya) - 2:10:06
3. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:32
4. Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco) - 2:10:55
5. David Barmasa Tumo (Kenya) - 2:11:39
6. Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:11:50
7. Hiroyuki Horibata (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:52
8. Ruggero Pertile (Italy) - 2:11:57
9. Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:12:57
10. Kentaro Nakamoto (Japan/Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:13:10
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18. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref.) - 2:16:11
29. Yoshinori Oda (Japan/Team Toyota) - 2:18:05
38. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Japan/Team NTN) - 2:23:11

Team Scoring
click here for complete results

1. Kenya - 6:29:23
2. Japan - 6:41:13
3. Morocco - 6:42:18
4. Spain - 6:53:41
5. China - 6:54:32

Update 9/7/11: Click here for a screenshot of American track fansite Letsrun.com's strangely bigoted response to Japan's silver medal.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 2, 2011

World Championships Women's 5000 m Results

2011 World Championships Women's 5000 m
Daegu, Korea, 9/2/11
click here for complete results

1. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 14:55.36
2. Sylvia Kibet (Kenya) - 14:56.21
3. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) - 14:56.94
4. Sentayehu Ejigu (Ethiopia) - 14:59.99
5. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:00.23
6. Linet Masai (Kenya) - 15:01.01
7. Lauren Fleshman (U.S.A.) - 15:09.25
8. Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 15:09.35
9. Tejitu Daba (Bahrain) - 15:14.62 - PB
10. Yelena Zadorozhnaya (Russia) - 15:15.48
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13. Hitomi Niiya (Japan/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:41.67