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The Land of the Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, National University Women's Half Marathon Championships and NYC Half Marathon bringing Japan's post-championship ekiden winter half marathon season to a close, yesterday I looked at the top 100 men's and women's performances by country so far this year and tweeted the results.  The totals have been making the rounds on Twitter since then, so although they will be out of date tomorrow as the European half marathon season rolls on here is the current breakdown using the results listed here.

Top 100 Men's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Kenya: 39
Japan: 31
Ethiopia: 15
Morocco: 4
U.S.A.: 4
Brazil: 2
England: 2
other: 3

Top 100 Women's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Japan: 40
Kenya: 23
Ethiopia: 10
U.S.A.: 4
Morocco: 3
Netherlands: 3
Poland: 2
Scotland: 2
other: 13

Combined Men's & Women's Top 100 Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Japan: 71
Kenya: 62
Ethiopia: 25
U.S.A.: 8
Morocco: 7
England: 3
Netherlands: 3
Australia: 2
Brazil: 2
Poland: 2
Scotland: 2
other: 13

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Arai said…
Very impressive (although Japan probably wouldn't do as well in a comparison of the top 50 performances).
Eryn said…
Quit impressive, although Japan would do much better on the top 1000 performances...
Brett Larner said…
For the people sending me 2011 numbers, you are not taking into account that the disasters last year resulted in the cancellation of most of the late winter/spring Japanese half marathon season, including but not limited to the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, the National University Half Marathon Championships, the National University Women's Half Marathon Championships and the Sendai International Half Marathon. Needless to say, this impacted the numbers for 2011.
franck said…
I am sorry,
i like japan athletics, but
2010 results (men)
kenya 70
ethiopia 19
morocco 3
eritrea 2
japan 1
(women)
kenya 32
ethiopia 26
japan 16
Anonymous said…
2011 was certainly not a regular year, yet the numbers for 2010 and 2011 are pretty similar, aren't they?
Brett Larner said…
Well, as I said, these numbers will go out of date quickly, but it would be more meaningful if you were comparing the first ~three months of 2010 and 2011 rather than the entire year to the first three months of 2012. I think 2010 was slightly better than 2011, as you'd expect, but either way the numbers this year, especially for the men, are dramatically better than in than the past. I don't think Japan has ever had near this number of people sub-62, and the year is still young.

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

Launched in September, 2015, Runnet Japan is an English-language branch of Runnet, Japan's dominant online entry service, catering to the international community.  The number of races offered on Runnet Japan is still limited but constantly expanding.

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