translated and edited by Brett Larner
Japan's southernmost main island Kyushu was the site of most of the long weekend's road action.
The 49th South Japan Long Distance Meet took place Jan. 8 in Kagoshima on a road loop course inside Kagoshima Sports Park. A track 10000 m until last year, the open men's 10 km division saw Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ., formerly of 2010 national champion Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) take the win in 29:35. His identical twin brother Hiroshi Ichida (also Daito Bunka Univ. / Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) was close behind in 2nd in 29:38 with Chihiro Suzuhigashi (Kokubu SDF Base) also cracking 30 minutes as he took 3rd in 29:59. Click here for top results.
A record 951 people competed in the Oita City Half Marathon on Jan. 9 on a course starting and finishing at the Oita Civic Track and Field Grounds. In the men's half-marathon division Kenji Higashino (Team Asahi Kasei) won a close three-way sprint finish to take 1st in 1:05:19. His teammate Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) was just behind in 2nd in 1:05:21 with amateur Hiroki Nonaka (Usuki Fire Dep't) 3rd in 1:05:23. Saori Makishima (Canon AC Kyushu) won the women's division in 1:15:19. Three local high schoolers broke 30 minutes in the men's 10 km, led by Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) in 29:47. Sayaka Kuribayashi (Uwa H.S.) likewise won the women's 10 km, clocking 36:22. The half-marathon started at 10:00 a.m., with the 10 km getting underway at 10:08. 772 people finished the half-marathon, 179 people the 10 km. The runners travelled along Oita's waterfront highway and took in many of the sights of downtown Oita on a course conducive to fast times. Click here for complete results.
Further west in Nagasaki at the 41st Unsen Obama Half-Marathon, Masahiko Watanabe (Team Sumco) took his first win in the men's open division in 1:05:54. A total of 1046 people from elementary school students to adults took part in the different divisions. Tomoya Oda (Isahaya H.S.) won the high school boys' 10 km in 30:58, while Kana Matsuzoe (Nagasaki Shogyo H.S.) won the high school girls' 5 km in 17:12.