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2012 As Seen By JRN Readers

JRN's most-read articles of 2012 by month:

January
Toyo University takes eight minutes off Hakone Ekiden course record in historic win.Jan. 3
Russian Tatyana Aryasova stripped of 2011 Tokyo Marathon title after testing positive for masking agent. - Jan. 24

February
Kisorio wins deepest-ever Marugame International Half-Marathon. - Feb. 5
2012 Tokyo Marathon preview. - Feb. 23
Kipyego, Habtumu win Tokyo Marathon, Fujiwara back with 2:07:48. - Feb. 26
Kawauchi, 14th in 2:12:52: "I do not think I will be picked" for Olympics; shaves head. - Feb. 27
Gebrselassie gives words of support to Kawauchi. - Feb. 28
Fujiwara's high school coach, hometown supporters delighted with Tokyo performance. - Feb. 28

March
Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon preview. - Mar. 2
Takehiro Deki ahead of Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon debut: "That's where my talent is." - Mar. 2
Ndungu wins debut at Lake Biwa, Szost 2:07:39 sets Polish NR, Yamamoto takes probable Olympic spot. - Mar. 4
Nagoya Women's Marathon preview. - Mar. 9
Russian Mayorova wins largest-ever women-only marathon, Ozaki takes top Japanese spot in Nagoya. - Mar. 11
Japan names London Olympics men's and women's marathon teams. - Mar. 12
Toyo in New York - Kento Otsu, Yuta Shitara and Coach Sakai talk pre-NYC Half. - Mar. 16
Comedian Neko tapped for Cambodian Olympic team in marathon; official announcement due in April. - Mar. 26

April
Top three break course record at Yaizu Minato Half-Marathon. - Apr. 8

May
800 m runner Kieng Samorn chosen for Cambodian Olympic team. - May 22

June
Japan announces complete London Olympics athletics team. - June 11

July
From the Hakone Ekiden to the Olympic marathon - a manifesto. - July 25

August
Arata Fujiwara - his Olympic marathon defeat in his own words. - Aug. 22

September
Kawauchi runs double 1500 m and 5000 m PBs, targets 1500 m at 2013 National Championships. - Sept. 23

October
Kawauchi at the World Half: "My goal is 61 minutes."Oct. 2
Japanese women bronze, Kawauchi shames the system again at World Half-Marathon Championships. - Oct. 6
Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University head coach Susumu Hara: "We're not quite there yet but we can see it glittering up ahead now." - Oct. 9
The U.S. team talks after second-straight Izumo Ekiden top eight finish. - Oct. 11

November
Tokyo Marathon officially joins World Marathon Majors. - Nov. 1
2009 Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Abitova given two-year doping suspension. - Nov. 8
Fujiwara's goal in Fukuoka: "Defeat Kawauchi." - Nov. 10
Hyundai, Adidas-sponsored IAAF gold label Beijing Marathon bans Japanese citizens "for their own safety." - Nov. 10
Strong New York ties in Yokohama and Ageo as Moscow World Championships campaign kicks off. - Nov. 15
2012 NCAA XC and 2012 National University Ekiden Championships top five teams compared. - Nov. 20
International Chiba Ekiden preview. - Nov. 22
Kenya over Japan for second-straight International Chiba Ekiden win. - Nov. 23
'Rupp, Puskedra and Japanese distance running.' - Nov. 27
A bolder Arata Fujiwara talks about the training and psychology behind his return from Olympic breakdown. - Nov. 28
2012 Fukuoka International Marathon preview. - Nov. 30

December
Joseph Gitau takes surprise win in Fukuoka in 2:06:58. - Dec. 2
Fukuoka Marathon post-race comments. - Dec. 3
Collegiate 5000 m and 10000 m national champion Omwamba wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-miler. - Dec. 3
Kawauchi wins Hofu in 2:10:46 two weeks after 2:10:29 in Fukuoka, Hosaka gets age 63 world record. - Dec. 16
How I learned to love the ekiden and why you should too. - Dec. 20
Waseda ace Osako to join Salazar's Nike Oregon Project. - Dec. 26

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

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

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Ekiden Weekend Roundup

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



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

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

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