Thursday, May 31, 2012

'Tanui Arrives in Eugene for Kenya Olympics Trial'

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000059044&story_title=Tanui-arrives-in-Eugene-for-Kenya-Olympics-trial-

Hometown Track Association Holds Pilgrimage to Pray for Olympic Marathoner Shigetomo

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/okayama/news/20120530-OYT8T01297.htm?from=topics_p_osaka

translated by Brett Larner

The Bizen Municipal Track & Field Association held a public pilgrimage from City Hall to Ebisu Shrine starting at midnight on May 30 to pray for the fortunes of locally-born London Olympics marathoner Risa Shigetomo (24, Team Tenmaya).  Held at the unusual starting time in order to coordinate with the TAFISA World Challenge Day international amateur sports and physical fitness promotion event, the 1.2 km pilgrimage was billed by organizers as "The earliest walk in Japan."  37 members of the Bizen City Junior Track & Field Club, to which Shigetomo belonged during her days a student at Bizen J.H.S., took part.

Participants arrived at Ebisu Shrine roughly 20 minutes after leaving City Hall, their journey ending with a climb up steep stone steps to the shrine leaving them a little out of breath on their arrival.  Shigetomo's former coach at the club, Setsuo Kajita, 67, commented afterward, "I prayed from the heart for her to run a brave race and to complete the distance."  A group photo of all the participants together in the shrine grounds was taken and will be sent to Shigetomo.

The TAFISA World Challenge Day began in Canada in 1983 to promote sports and exercise in daily life for everyone.  The event, held on the last Wednesday of May each year, aims to have people all around the world exercise for at least 15 minutes.  The nearby cities of Setouchi and Akaiwa held croquet matches and other activities in conjunction with the World Challenge Day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kayoko Fukushi to Go For Third-Straight Olympic Double

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120530-959350.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The highlight of the first half of track season, the 96th National Track and Field Championships, is getting set to kick off June 8-10 at Osaka's Nagai Stadium.  Doubling as the Japanese Olympic Trials, any athlete holding an Olympic A-qualifying mark who wins their event at Nationals will earn their place on the Olympic team then and there.  The day after the Championships, June 11, the complete Olympic team apart from relay squads will be announced.

Having failed in her bid to make the marathon squad, multiple national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (30, Team Wacoal), will seek for her third-straight Olympic 5000 m and 10000 m double.  If she is anywhere near her normal strength there is almost no chance she will lose the 10000 m. If anyone can score an upset it will be Hitomi Niiya (24, Team Universal Entertainment).  In her 10000 m debut she won April's Hyogo Relay Carnival in a year-leading and Olympic A-standard 31:28.26, so she has the momentum.

The 5000 m won't be so easy for Fukushi to win.  Hard-finishing five-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), fast-starting Niiya and negative-split specialist Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) are all in the race, making for a wide variety of possible race patterns.  Altogether six women have the A-standard, making it almost as competitive to make as the women's marathon squad.

Defending men's 10000 m national champ Yuki Sato (25, Team Nissin Shokuhin) has the fastest PB in the field and is the favorite, but he currently only holds a valid B-standard (sub-28:05.00) time.  It's definitely conceivable that A-standard (sub-27:45.00) men Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) and Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) could go 2-3.  That case will the Federation choose one B-standard man, Sato, or the two A-standard men behind him?  Olympic selection could get tricky.

Former Hakone Ekiden "God of the Mountain" Ryuji Kashiwabara (22, Team Fujitsu) ran 28:25.37 in May, close to his PB but still far from what the best Japanese athletes run on the track.  Kashiwabara said his goal for Nationals is "To break the B-standard and win."  If he manages that he could just make the Olympic team.

In the men's 800 m, Masato Yokota (24, Team Fujitsu) came just 0.03 seconds short of breaking his own national record two weeks ago with a 1:46.19 clocking at the Daegu International meet.  He has the B-standard, but if he hits the hoped-for 1:45.60 A-standard he will deliver Japan its first-ever 1:45.  Women's 800 m favorite Ruriko Kubo (23, Team Edion) had injury problems before the season but is still on a different level from any other domestic athlete.  Her goal is to become Japan's first women to go under two minutes and hit the 1:59.90 Olympic A-standard.

Check back next week for JRN's Olympic Trials previews and field listings.  Complete field listings in Japanese are available here.

Four Corporate Women's Teams Wrap Up Joint Training Camp in Nagasaki

http://www.nagasaki-np.co.jp/kiji/20120529/02.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Corporate women's track and field teams Juhachi Ginko and Kagoshima Ginko of Kagoshima, Higo Ginko of Kumamoto and Toto of Fukuoka, began a joint training camp together in Shimahara, Nagasaki on May 21.  Fifty athletes participated in the nine day, eight night program in and around the Shimahara Municipal Track and Field Grounds and Shimahara Fukko Arena.

The joint training camp was the brainchild of Team Juhachi Ginko head coach Koji Takagi.  Through the assistance of the parent Juhachi Ginko bank, Takagi was able to enlist the brand-new bank-sponsored Kagoshima Ginko and Higo Ginko teams, training together for the first time last July in Kuju, Oita.  For the second joint camp this time they were invited to Shimahara, the site of Team Juhachi Ginko's regular training camps.  Team Toto was a new addition.

The athletes' training at the camp including shifting pace 10000 m and 5000 m track runs, road running, and cross-country runs on a course a Shimahara Country Club.  On the 28th the athletes did a workout on the track at the Municipal Grounds, 10 x 2000 m starting every 30 minutes, a session designed to develop their mental and spiritual strength.

On the ekiden circuit the teams and many of the athletes are rivals with each other.  Asked about the benefits of working together, Team Juhachi Ginko ace Madoka Ogi said, "It's different from normal.  Where we might normally pack it in we're finding extra strength because we all feel like we don't want to lose to each other."

Joining the camp for the first time, Team Toto head coach Aki Yokoyama commented with satisfaction, "Ordinarily we're dealing with a small number of athletes and they know exactly what kind of shape they are in, so you rarely see them give their full effort in the last stages of a run.  Here it's closer to a race atmosphere, so they're able to work on their closing speed more than usual."  Watching the athletes run, Coach Takagi said, "If we focus on the job at hand, this is also an opportunity for the staff to learn from each other and improve our own work."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'Tanui Misses Flight to Oregon Meet'

http://www.nation.co.ke/sports/athletics/Tanui+misses+flight+to+Oregon+/-/1100/1415334/-/4e90u8z/-/index.html

Fukushi 4th at Bolder Boulder

2012 Bolder Boulder 10 km - Top Women's Results
Boulder, CO, 5/28/12
click here for complete results

1. Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) - 33:06
2. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (U.S.A.) - 33:23
3. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 33:28
4. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 33:32
5. Ashu Kasim (Ethiopia) - 34:03
6. Alemitu Abera (Ethiopia) - 34:16
7. Marisol Romero (Mexico) - 34:25
8. Genoveva Kigen (Kenya) - 34:43
9. Adrianna Nelson (U.S.A.) - 34:55
10. Benita Willis (Australia) - 34:58
-----
19. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 36:01
30. Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) - 39:59

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kawamoto Sets 800 m Jr. NR at Nittai Time Trials

by Brett Larner

Two weeks out from the 2012 National Track and Field Championships in Osaka, the second-to-last Nittai University Time Trials meet of the season was relatively quiet.  Olympic track favorites Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) faced off against African newcomers Demmababa Bikila (Team Kanebo), Hassan Agatoyashin (Team Chuo Hatsujo) and Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) over 5000 m with a challenge from Toyo University ace Yuta Shitara.  All six took their turns leading, but Sato and Ugachi pulled away over a faster second half to turn the race into a duel, Sato taking the win by three seconds in 13:43.01.  Seven men altogether cleared 14 minutes, Shitara recording a new PB of 13:51.16.

But the big result of the meet came in the men's 800 m A-heat, where national high school record holder Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.), who hails from the distance-running Mecca of Saku, Nagano, raced national record holder Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) to a photo finish, chopping a quarter of a second off the nearly sixteen-year-old junior national record.  Yokota took the win in 1:46.87, well off his NR mark, but Kawamoto was only 0.02 back in a new junior NR of 1:46.89.  The pair will meet again at next month's National Track & Field Championships, where Kawamoto will have to chase both Yokota and the Olympic B-standard.

'Fast Finishing Farah Wins Fourth London 10,000 Title'

http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/WHM12/News/NewsDetail.aspx?id=65092

Almost simultaneously with the BUPA London 10,000, defending Ottawa Marathon champion Laban Moiben (Kenya) ran 2:09:13 to break Fujiwara's 2010 CR by 21 seconds.  Moiben was the runner-up behind Fujiwara by 10 seconds in 2010.  Ottawa was the only world-class marathon to have a CR held by a Japanese man.  Note that the IAAF story on Moiben's CR incorrectly reports Fujiwara's old CR as 2:09:44, which was Moiben's time in that race, rather than as 2:09:34.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

'Karoki Sure of Making Team to London Olympic Games'

http://www.the-star.co.ke/sports/sports/77164--karoki-sure-of-making-team-to-london-olympic-games

Thanks to Run Kenya for sending this link.  Karoki is a graduate of Hiroshima's Sera H.S. and runs for the Saitama-based Team S&B which includes marathon great Toshihiko Seko among its coaching and management staff.

Kenyan First-Year Ndungu Makes Record-Setting Sub-14 Debut at Hokkaido H.S. Regionals

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/hokkaido/sports/news/20120524-OHT1T00161.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In the men's 5000 m first-round heats on the second day of the Hokkaido regional qualifier for the National High School Track and Field Championships, May 23 at Sapporo's Atsubetsu Park Field, the first Kenyan to ever run the meet, Sapporo Yamanote H.S. first-year Charles Ndungu made history with the meet's first-ever sub-14 clocking as he won his heat in 13:58.83.  Both a personal best and the Hokkaido international student high school record, Ndungu's shocking debut took him to the final as the top seed.

His performance marked the beginning of a new era in Hokkaido high school boys' distance running.    In only the first-round heats of the 5000 m Ndungu surged hard over the last lap, battling a strong headwind as he came down the home straight in first place.  When the digital clock showed his time of 13:58.83 a huge roar of cheering and applause came from the grandstand.

Temperatures at the time of the race were 18 degrees.  "The wind was strong and felt cold but I was dead set on breaking 14 minutes because I knew I would get a present if I did," said Ndungu with a smile.  Knowing that Ndungu, who arrived in Japan earlier this year, was feeling homesick and wanted to listen to Kenyan music, Sapporo Yamanote head coach Kazuki Kajiyama, 40, promised him, "If you break 14 minutes I'll give you a portable music player as a reward."

Ndungu ran the entire race alone.  Taking off right from the gun and clocking 66-67 seconds per 400 m, Ndungu lapped the entire field multiple times [2nd place in Ndungu's heat ran 16:32.28].  He was unable to sustain his light and nimble form all the way to the end but succeeded in breaking the PB of 14:00.07 he set May 6 at the Nittai University Time Trials meet.  Coach Kajiyama gave his approval, saying, "Despite the windy conditions he ran a calm and stable pace, an ideal performance."  In the final on May 24 rather than going for time Ndungu will act as pacer for his teammates [Ndungu won the final in 15:22.03 by just over a second].

In April Ndungu had health problems after discovering he is allergic to buckwheat, but through through the assistance of a mediator it was arranged for him to have the chance to train with Kenyan pro Micah Njeru (23, Team Toyota Boshoku), who did a great deal to encourage Ndungu and get him back into good spirits.  He has been very enthusiastic in his studies and can already give greetings in Japanese and read hiragana.  In practice as well, he has become part of the group.

The three fastest times nationally among this year's high school class are held by Kenyans, 13:40.64 by Jeremiah Karemi (3rd yr., Toyokawa H.S.), 13:50.21 by John Maina (3rd yr., Aomori Yamada H.S.) and 13:51.89 by John Gathaiya (2nd yr., Sera H.S.).  Looking toward July's National High School Championships, Ndungu said, "If my body responds well to the heat then I'll be able to run even faster.  I want to beat all the older Kenyans."  Set to become the first-ever first year from Hokkaido to make it to Nationals, Ndungu is gearing up to represent the North.

The Men's 5000 m
The world record is 12:37.35, set by Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) in 2004.  The Japanese national record is 13:13.20, set by Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) in 2007.  The Japanese student national high school record is 13:39.87 by Hidekazu Sato (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) in 2004, with the international student high record of 13:15.44 set last year by Charles Ndirangu (Sera H.S.).  The Hokkaido record is 13:49.06 by Masato Kikuchi (Meiji Univ.), with the Hokkaido Japanese student high school record of 14:03.96 set last year by Yusuke Ogura (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.).  The winning times at the last two years' National High School Championships were Ndirangu's 13:40.99 in 2011 and 13:59.86 by Michael Getange (Aomori Yamada H.S.) in 2010.

Charles Ndungu
Born: Feb. 20, 1996.  16 years old
Height: 163 cm  Weight: 52 kg
Hometown: Okarau, Kenya, 150 km from Nairobi at more than 2000 m elevation
Family: Eight people including Ndungu, his parents, one older brother, three older sisters and one younger brother.  His family are farmers, growing cabbage, carrots and other vegetables as well as raising sheep and cattle.
Favorite Athlete: Beijing Olympian and 2007 Osaka World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (26, Kenya, Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
Favorite Japanese food: Ramen and fried rice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Video of Olympic Marathoner Kizaki and Teammate Nakazato Training in Flagstaff


The Daihatsu women's team posted this video of London Olympics marathon team member Ryoko Kizaki and her teammate, 2:24:28 marathoner Remi Nakazato, training in Flagstaff, Arizona on its website.  According to the splits being called out, in the early part of the video the group is running just under 4:00/km pace.  After the jump Kizaki and Nakazato are running roughly 3:35/km, closing with a 3:28 before doing some sprints. Nakazato's comments:

I'm Remi Nakazato.  Right now I'm based in Flagstaff in the United States.  Every day I'm training hard with all my great teammates.  Since I got here I've been feeling better and better, so the workouts have been really fulfilling and day-to-day life has been a lot of fun.  My next race is the National Track and Field Championships in Osaka in June.  I'm from Osaka, so I want to run the kind of race that's going to make everybody who comes to watch happy.  I also want to tell everyone who ordinarily supports me and the people who make my training possible that I'm working hard.  Here in America I'm eating a lot, running a lot, and I'm happy and healthy and doing my best.  Thank you for your support now and in the future.

translation (c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Entertainer Kusanagi to Run 100 km Ultramarathon

http://www.daily.co.jp/gossip/article/2012/05/25/0005081854.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On May 24, comedians Tamori (66) and Tsurubei Shofukutei (60) appeared with SMAP members Masahiro Nakai (39), Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (37) and Shingo Katori (35) at a press event annouļ½Žcing Fuji TV's July 21 "FNS 27-Hour TV 'It's OK to Laugh!' Midsummer Super Unity Special."

Kusanagi revealed that during the 27-hour live broadcast he will run a 100 km ultramarathon.  With regard to the program's theme of "unity," Kusanagi said, "I'm going to be number one, thanks to the power of unity!  If you all give me your support and hope, that is.  I think it's going to be really hard but I'll do my best," promising to deliver an "emotional run."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

800 m Runner Kieng Samorn Chosen for Cambodian Olympic Team

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/athletics/news/20120521-OHT1T00218.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Cambodian Olympic Committee director Vath Chamrouen announced on May 21 that 800 m runner Kieng Samorn has been named to the Cambodian Olympic team.  Samorn is a replacement for Japanese-born comedian Hiroshi Neko (born Kuniaki Takizaki) who changed his citizenship in a bid to make the Cambodian Olympic team in the men's marathon.  Neither Samorn nor Neko has run an Olympic-qualifying time.

Translator's note: Having no athletes qualified for any track and field event, Cambodia is entitled to send one athlete in an event of its choosing in a special exemption granted under Olympic rules.  Samorn was chosen over marathon national record holder Hem Bunting, who had been ignored in favor of Neko despite running a new national record at April's Paris Marathon seven minutes' faster than Neko's best time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Track Update

by Brett Larner

On the second of two straight weeks of regional track championship meets the most exciting racing came at the biggest Japanese collegiate meet, the Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships.  Mai Shinozuka (Chuo University) won the women's 5000 m to record her second-straight 5000 m - 10000 m double.  Looking to complete a 1500 m - 5000 m - 10000 m triple, Kenyan first-year Enoch Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) fell victim to Waseda University ace Suguru Osako, who came on strong late in the race to win the Division 1 men's 5000 m in 13:47.44 less than a second ahead of Omwamba.  The Division 2 race was dominated by two new African first-years from relatively unknown schools.  William Malel (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) won in a meet-record 13:25.82 as Leul Gebresilase (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.), a rare Ethiopian collegiate, held of Komazawa University's Shinobu Kubota for 2nd in 13:55.25.  Top-ranked Kenyan Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.) rounded out the Kanto Regionals action with a 1:04:13 in the Division 1 half-marathon, Daiki Nomoto (Takushoku Univ.) winning the Division 2 race in 1:05:35.

In pro action, Olympic marathon team members Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) had two of the most noteworthy results, each scoring a new 10000 m PB.  Nakamoto, who qualified for the London Olympics in March with a 2:08:53 marathon best, broke 29 minutes for the first time as he finished 9th at the Kyushu Corporate Track & Field Championships in 28:54.59, not far off winner Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) in 28:47.62.  Shigetomo, winner of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:23:23, won the Chugoku Corporate Track & Field Championships women's 10000 m in a new best of 33:25.48 despite recent injury troubles.  Both are slated to run next weekend's Bupa London 10000 m road race as part of a Rikuren-sponsored trip to spend time on the London Olympics marathon course.

Shigetomo's junior teammate Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) complete a 3000m-5000 m double with a meet-record 9:28.26 in the women's 3000 m, with Kenyan Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) winning the 10000 m in 28:52.47 after running poorly in last weekend's 5000 m.  Back in Kyushu, Kenyan Rose Maranga (Team Toto) won the junior women's 3000 m in 9:23.40 while marathoner Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) took the win in the 10000 m in 33:32.53.

In the Africanless Kansai region Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) won the men's 10000 m in 28:59.28, Nakamoto's Olympic marathon teammate Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) 3rd in 29:02.11.  The women's 10000 m in Kansai was more competitive, Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) outrunning teammate Yoko Aizu for the win 32:34.55 to 32:36.22, and women's 5000 m times were likewise quick, Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) winning 15:40.72.

The Kanto region had the fastest corporate times of the weekend, Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) winning the women's 10000 m in 32:17.28 over year-leading half-marathoner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), 2nd in 32:31.04.  Five-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) outran Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) in the 5000 m 15:33.48 to 15:39.75, while 2011 corporate track champ Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) easily won the 3000 m in 9:20.07.  Two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Logistics) beat 2012's top-ranked Japanese man in the 5000 m, 13:33.58 and 13:38.57 respectively, but the men's 10000 m was a surprise as not a single one of the Kenyan men entered in the race started.  5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) was there to pick up the win in a conservative 28:53.69.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, May 20, 2012

'Gebrselassie Takes Another Strong 10k Victory in Manchester'

Haile Gebrselassie leads Tsegaye Kebede and Ayele Abshero in front of Manchester United's home ground Old Trafford.

http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/LRR12/News/NewsDetail.aspx?id=65030

Translator's note: Ishikawa's Honda teammate Takahiro Yamanaka finished 16th at the Great Manchester Run in 29:54.  2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mara Yamauchi (GBR) was 6th in the women's race in 32:28.  Elsewhere overseas, national champion Team Nissin Shokuhin's Manabu Itayama was 7th at the Jakarta International 10 km road race in 31:33 while sub-2:10 man Tomoya Shimizu (Team Sagawa Express) ran 2:16:57 to take 2nd at the Riga Marathon, his teammate Masanori Ishida 6th in 2:23:00.

Men's marathon world record holder Patrick Makau watches the start of the City Games Manchester men's 150 m.

photos (c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Mathathi Wins Second-Straight Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Kalmer Sets Women's Course Record

http://jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2012052000089

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In the race's second running, held May 20, 2007 Osaka World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) won his second-straight Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon in a time of 1:01:29.  London Olympics marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) was the top Japanese finisher, 6th overall in 1:03:05, while civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) was 12th in 1:04:13.

Both Fujiwara and Kawauchi ran last weekend's Sendai International Half Marathon as well, with Fujiwara marking a faster time in Gifu.  "Running consistently two weeks in a row makes me feel like I've got the risks involved with what I want to do [at the Olympics] under control," said Fujiwara of his performance, which confirmed that he is able to produce desired results even under unfavorable conditions.  To simulate the heat he is likely to face at the Olympics, Fujiwara did not take any drinks during the race.  "Everything tells me that there's no problem with the direction my training is going," he said, stressing that he is making good progress in calibrating his training to be ready for the main event.

Translator's note: South African Rene Kalmer won the women's race in a CR 1:13:02 by two seconds over the great Catherine Ndereba of Kenya.

2012 Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/20/12
click here for complete results

Men
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:01:29
2. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:01:57
3. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:14
4. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:54
5. Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:55
6. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:03:05
7. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 1:03:12
8. Dishon Maina Karukuwa (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:03:15
9. Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 1:03:47
10. Mahoro Ikeda (Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:03:56

Women
1. Rene Kalmer (South Africa) - 1:13:02 - CR
2. Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) - 1:13:04 (CR)
3. Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) - 1:13:26 (CR)
4. Kaori Sakurai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:14:10
5. Lidia Simon (Romania) - 1:14:26
6. Kaori Akagawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:14:55
7. Eriko Noguchi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:16:18
8. Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:17:06
9. Haruna Yamamoto (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:18:18
10. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:19:56

Olympic Marathoner Shigetomo Wins Chugoku 10000 m in PB Time

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/olympic/news/2012/05/19/kiji/K20120519003285991.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the Chugoku Corporate Track & Field Championships May 19 at Hiroshima's Miyoshi Sports Park Field, London Olympics women's marathon team member Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) won the 10000 m title in a new PB of 33:25.48.  "It wasn't as fast as I wanted," she said afterwards, indicating the main task she has ahead of her in the time left until the Olympics.

Shigetomo had not raced since winning January's Osaka International Women's Marathon.  She took the 10000 m out hard, running alone with focus, but with lost training due to sciatic nerve problems she has been suffering since mid-March she was forced to scale back her target time by one minute.  Her coach Yutaka Taketomi commented, "We knew she wasn't in shape yet.  The goal now is to get her legs strong."

At the end of the month Shigetomo will run the Bupa London 10000 m road race as a preview of the Olympic marathon course.  "I want to absorb the atmosphere and the whole environment into my whole body and come away with a good feel for it," she said with a look of determination.

Translator's note: Most of the rest of Japan's Olympic marathoners will also be running in the Bupa London 10000.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Olympic Marathoner Nakamoto Scores 10000 m PB

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/05/19/kiji/K20120519003286760.html

translated by Brett Larner

London Olympics men's marathon team member Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) set a 10000 m PB May 19 at Sayagatani Field in Kita-Kyushu, finishing 9th at the Kyushu Corporate Track & Field Championships in 28:54.59.  "A PB makes me feel pretty good inside about things," Nakamoto commented with a smile.  "I'll be going into marathon training in good shape."

Nakamoto's previous best time was 29:04.24.  In today's race he stuck to the back of the lead pack, saving his energy for a intended surge over the final stage but unable to execute as planned.  "My closing speed is still a problem," he said without seeming too concerned.  His coach Naoki Yamagashira said, "We achieved our goal of improving his track speed.  He scored 100% today."

Next up Nakamoto will run the Bupa London 10000 road race on April 27 as part of his marathon training.  "I want to get a feel for the course in London," he said.  "After that I'll be building up my mileage."

Translator's note: As noted, this was Nakamoto's first time sub-29.  In March he ran a marathon PB of 2:08:53 at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.  Also this weekend, London men's marathon team member Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) finished 3rd at the Kansai Corporate Track & Field Championships 10000 m in 29:02.11.

Friday, May 18, 2012

'Hot Men’s 10 km the Focus on Busy Athletics Weekend in Manchester – Preview'

http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/LRR12/News/NewsDetail.aspx?id=65011

JRN is in Manchester with Honda runners Suehiro Ishikawa and Takahiro Yamanaka.

Teammates Ihara and Iwasaki Take Kansai Corporate 10000 m Titles; Olympian Yamamoto 3rd

2012 Kansai Corporate Track & Field Championships
Baycom Field, Amagasaki, 5/18-20/12
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:34.55
2. Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:36.22
3. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 32:53.08
4. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 32:59.58
5. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 33:04.23
6. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 33:04.80
7. Chizuru Ideta (Team Daihatsu) - 33:08.57
8. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 33:31.65
9. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 33:33.43
10. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) - 33:47.53

Men's 10000 m
1. Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 28:59.28
2. Yasuhito Ikeda (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 29:00.46
3. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 29:02.11
4. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 29:05.38
5. Noriyuki Nabetani (Osaka Police Dep't.) - 29:17.60
6. Kenta Iinuma (Team Sagawa Express) - 29:20.48
7. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 29:25.32
8. Shinichi Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 29:28.88
9. Shogo Matsugaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 29:29.88
10. Yusuke Hosokawa (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:30.39

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another Big Weekend on the Track and Roads

by Brett Larner

A second-straight weekend of regional track and field championship meets takes place across Japan this weekend.

The highlight is the second half of Japan's most competitive university meet, the Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships, featuring the men's and women's 5000 m and men's half-marathon.  Kanto is relatively weak for women's running, but four women entered in the 5000 m have bests under 16 minutes and another half-dozen are close so look for a quality race between defending champion Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.), Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.), Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.), twins Haruka and Moe Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.),   Narumi Shirataki (Hakuoh Univ.) and more.

Having already won the Division 1 1500 m and 10000 m titles last weekend, Kenyan 1st-yr Enoch Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) will be looking to complete the triple crown in the D1 5000 m where he will face the likes of sub-28 10000 m men Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University aces Keita and Yuta Shitara, and rival Kenyan newcomer Daniel Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.).  The Division 2 5000 m is also thick, with the top seed going to Ethiopian first-year Leul Gebresilase (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) and his 13:31.52 PB.  Gebreseilase's competition includes 2011 national university 5000 m champion Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), 2:10:02 marathoner Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) and Kenyans Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) and William Malel (Sozo Gakuin Univ.).

The favorite in the Division 1 half-marathon, always one of the highlights of the meet thanks to its unique multi-loop course through and around Tokyo's National Stadium, is 1:01:06 Kenyan Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.).  His teammate and defending champ Hirotaka Tamura returns to go for another title, with a likely challenge also due up from Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) in his first race since his international debut at March's New York City Half Marathon.  Favorites in the Division 2 race include Kazuhiro Kuga (Komazawa Univ.) and Yudai Yamakawa (Teikyo Univ.).

In pro action, the biggest meet of the weekend is the East Japan Corporate Track & Field Championships.  10000 m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia/Team Honda) is a regrettable early scratch, but on the entry lists are the likes of 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), former Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage superstar Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu), women's 5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno), men's 5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), sub-27 runner Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.), two-time world junior steeplechase champion Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Logistics), past Kenyan XC champion Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin), 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), five-time women's 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and many more.

Regional corporate championship meets are also slated to take place in Chugoku, Kansai and Kyushu this weekend.  The highlight is bound to come in the Chugoku regional meet, where recently-graduated Sera H.S. ace Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) will seek to make his unbeaten streak go up to eleven in the men's 10000 m.

On the roads, the biggest domestic race is the second running of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon featuring defending champion Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), the popular Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), Olympic marathon silver medalists Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) and Lidia Simon (Romania) and others.  Overseas, national champion Team Nissin Shokuhin's Manabu Itayama will make an appearance at the Jakarta International 10 km, but the big race will come at the Great Manchester Run 10 km where Team Honda's Suehiro Ishikawa and Takahiro Yamanaka will run against the likes of marathon world record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya), past world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Beijing Olympics marathon bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) and others.  2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mara Yamauchi (GBR) will face the great Linet Masai (Kenya) in the women's race.  JRN is in Manchester with Ishikawa and Yamanaka throughout the weekend.  Check back for ongoing results from this and the other races listed above.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Track Roundup

by Brett Larner

In addition to the big Golden Games in Nobeoka and the Kanto and Kansai Regional University Track & Field Championships, several regional corporate championship meets also saw noteworthy results over the weekend.

At the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Championships in Hiroshima, former Sera H.S. ace Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel) continued his unbeaten streak in his second pro race, scoring his tenth-straight win by winning the 5000 m in 13:42.00 by a margin of over 18 seconds.  Team Tenmaya runners made up the majority of the field in the women's 5000 m, with young Akari Ota winning in 16:05.99.  Tenmaya's former great Yurika Nakamura continued her apparent downward spiral, 15th in 17:47.93.

Almost on a par with Ndirangu's performance was that of year-leading half-marathoner Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), who beat a pack of Kenyans including 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) to set a meet record 13:43.97 in the men's 5000 m.  1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) was solid in the women's 5000 m, running 15:39.62 for the win over a field including 10000 m national champion Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) who was 4th in 16:21.38.  Kenyan John Thuo (Team Toyota) added to the weekend's sub-28 haul with a 27:59.50 win in the men's 10000 m.

Kenyan Alex Mwangi (Team YKK) fell short of a sub-28 clocking at the Hokuriku Corporate Championships but still took his second-straight 10000 m title with a 28:20.50.

The regional corporate championships continue this coming weekend with meets in Kanto, Kansai, Kyushu and the second half of the Chugoku meet.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Omwamba Takes Kanto Regionals 1500 m and 10000 m Wins in Collegiate Debut

by Brett Larner

scroll down to results for video of all races



The first university to bring Kenyans to run in Japan, Yamanashi Gakuin University debuted its newest find, first-year Enock Omwamba, on the first weekend of Japan's biggest and best university meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 12-13 in Tokyo's National Stadium.  Omwamba got the weekend started by taking down rival Nihon University's Kenyan first-year Daniel Kitonyi in the 1500 m, winning the final in 3:45.92.

 Returning the next day in the 10000 m, Omwamba stayed at the rear of the lead pack throughout the race as Nihon University senior Benjamin Gandu battled with Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University's ace twins Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara.  The Shitara twins worked together to crack Gandu and other at the front of the race, alternating the lead and pushing the pace until they were alone.  Omwamba came on strong in the final 2000 m, gaining contact with the twins, passing Yuta, then moving into the lead and surging away over the final lap to take the win in a new best of 28:18.93.  Keita, who ran his best of 28:15.90 just a few weeks ago, held off his brother for 2nd in 28:28.61 with Yuta two seconds back in his first time breaking 29 minutes, just ahead of past champions Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) and Gandu.

The Division 2 men's 10000 m was a strange and fascinating race of surges, somewhat slower than the main race but no less interesting.  A lead quartet made up of 5000 m national collegiate champion Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), teammate Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.), Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) and Kenyan Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) all took turns dropping repeated surges throughout the race, then backing off and letting the pace slacken.  National university half marathon champion Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.) struggled to stay with them, opting for a more even pace that saw him repeatedly gain contact with the quartet and then fall back.  In the end Murayama proved the strongest, holding off Fujii over the last lap for the win in 28:58.20.

The women's 10000 m also featured frontrunning teamwork from a pair of twins, Tsukuba University first-years Haruka Kyuma and Moe Kyuma in their 10000 m debuts.  Both Kyumas sat back in the pack through the slow first half before Haruka went to the front at 5000 m.  Moe moved up to join her and the two worked together to lead until Moe abruptly dropped back at 9000 m.  In the final kilometer Haruka paid for her frontrunning, dropping to 6th as defending champion Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) and Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) went to the line in a virtual photo-finish.  Shinozuka took the title in 34:08.45, Tayama clocking 34:08.56.

The Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships continue next weekend with both men's and women's 5000 m and the men's half-marathon, always one of the highlights of the meet.  Look for Shinozuka and others to add further titles to this year's haul.

2012 Kanto Regional University Track & Field Championships Part One
National Stadium, Tokyo, 5/12-13/12
click event for video

1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:18.93
2. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:28.61
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:30.68
4. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:32.63
5. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:45.83
6. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 28:46.16
7. Hideyuki Tanaka (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:51.06
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 28:53.25
9. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 28:54.64
10. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 29:06.60

1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:58.20
2. Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:59.13
3. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:00.85
4. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:02.70
5. Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.) - 29:08.25
6. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:22.07
7. Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 29:27.28
8. Sora Tsukada (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 29:28.13
9. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:34.87
10. Kazuma Ito (Waseda Grad School) - 29:39.91

1. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 34:08.45
2. Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:08.56
3. Megumi Amako (Waseda Univ.) - 34:12.79
4. Mayumi Watanabe (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:13.10
5. Narumi Shirataki (Nihon Univ.) - 34:13.11
6. Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 34:14.66
7. Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:19.53
8. Moe Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) - 34:28.79
9. Akane Kaai (Tamagawa Univ.) - 34:31.55
10. Rika Saito (Chuo Univ.) - 34:43.66

1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:45.92
2. Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 3:47.13
3. Yudai Yamamoto (Josai Univ.) - 3:52.41
4. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 3:53.46
5. Keisuke Hirata (Josai Univ.) - 3:54.76

1. Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:50.95
2. Yuki Kawasaki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:51.94
3. Ryotaro Otani (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:52.08
4. Harry Mulenga (Kenya/Soka Univ.) - 3:52.09
5. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:53.09

1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:25.83
2. Miho Shimizu (Hakuoh Univ.) - 4:27.52
3. Yukina Tanimoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:27.60
4. Izumi Minemura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:28.09
5. Shiori Fujinoki (Rikkyo Univ.) - 4:30.43

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kato, Newcomer Maina Win Reborn Sendai International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

Cancelled following last year's disasters, the Sendai International Half Marathon returned May 13 in a new format putting more emphasis on mass participation and less on the elite race with a notable absence of any foreign competition based outside Japan.

The women's division suffered when former national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) scratched earlier this week, but in her place the young Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) came through with a PB of 1:11:21 for the win over Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), dropping her late in the race after dueling much of the way.  Misato Horie (Team Noritz) was a distant 3rd in 1:13:21.

In the men's race, Kenyan newcomer Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) easily won in 1:01:34, going out in front of elder teammate Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) and gradually ratcheting up his pace.  The popular Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) tried to run with Gitau but soon faded back into the all-Japanese chase pack led by Olympic marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (Miki House).  As Gitau faded over the final 5 km Fujiwara surged, catching him at 19 km to take 2nd in 1:03:32.  Kawauchi likewised pushed hard, catching Gitau at the line but given 4th as both Gitau and Kawauchi clocked 1:03:49.  Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) was 5th in his first race since his breakthrough 2:09:16 PB at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.

2012 Sendai International Half Marathon
Sendai, 5/13/13
results via STITCHrunner

Men
1. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:34
2. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:03:32
3. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:03:49
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:03:49
5. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:04:15
6. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco) - 1:04:25
7. Keisuke Wakui (Team Yakult) - 1:04:26
8. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) - 1:04:28

Women
1. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 1:11:21 - PB
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:07
3. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:13:21
4. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:13:59
5. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 1:14:00
6. Mami Furuse (Team Kyocera) - 1:14:27
7. Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:15:11
8. Miu Kato (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:15:12

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Fukushi Gets 5000 m Olympic A, Osako Sub-28 at Golden Games in Nobeoka

by Brett Larner

After failing to qualify for the London Olympics in the marathon, 5000 m national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) successfully regrouped at the May 12 Golden Games in Nobeoka meet, clearing the Olympic A-standard as she narrowly finished 2nd behind Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) 15:18.01 to 15:18.46.  No other women were even close to the lead pair, with Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) 3rd in 15:33.80.

The bid for Olympic A qualifying times in the men's 10000 m was less successful.  Waseda University 3rd-year Suguru Osako, the Asian half-marathon junior record holder, 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist and 1500 m national university 1500 m champion, emerged from a small pack chasing the time behind pacer and Osaka WC bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) to give it a good shot but faded over the last 2000 m.  He nevertheless succeeded in breaking 28 for the first time, 2nd in a photo-finish with Mathathi in 27:56.94 to become the second Japanese collegiate sub-28 this season.  Komazawa University junior Shinobu Kubota was 3rd in a PB of 28:07.01 as the pros in the field all faltered.

Paced by World XC silver medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), the men's 5000 m was far from hitting even the B-standard but very entertaining.  Former 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) ran a wild and erratic race, going out on national record pace far ahead of Tanui, fading far back into the pack, and then surging at the end to retake 2nd  in a season-best 13:38.21.  10000 m year-leader Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) took the win in a PB of 13:36.69, promising in post-race interviews to hit an Olympic-standard time at next month's National Championships.

2012 Golden Games in Nobeoka
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 5/12/12
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:56.87
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 27:56.94 - PB
3. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:07.01 - PB
4. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:09.49
5. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:11.22
6. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:18.24
7. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) - 28:25.37
8. Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:25.85
9. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:36.91
10. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 28:40.43

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:18.01
2. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 15:18.46
3. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 15:33.80
4. Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) - 15:35.46
5. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:39.84
6. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 15:47.88 - PB
7. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 15:51.32
8. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 15:55.61
9. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 15:56.94
10. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 16:02.00

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 13:36.69 - PB
2. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 13:38.21
3. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:39.76
4. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 13:44.30
5. Keita Baba (Team Honda) - 13:44.44
6. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:44.86
7. Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:45.45
8. Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:45.75
9. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:45.96
10. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 13:46.14

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, May 12, 2012

College Roommates Fujiwara and Nakamoto Vow to Work Together in Olympic Marathon

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/athletics/news/20120511-OHT1T00217.htm

translated by Brett Larner

London Olympics men's marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (30, Miki House) attended an Olympic sendoff party held by his alma mater Takushoku University in Tokyo on May 11 together with his fellow Olympic marathoner Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki), one year below him at Takushoku.  The pair vowed to work together to target the top.

As students at Takushoku Fujiwara and Nakamoto were roommates.  "He is a great role model.  Standing on the same starting line at the Olympics, I want to work together," Nakamoto declared.  Fujiwara told the party's attendees with conviction, "Nakamoto wasn't really an athlete you would have noticed, but I always thought he was going to become strong.  We're going to focus everything we have and aim for the top."

The pair received advice and encouragement from Takushoku alumnus Shuichi Yoneshige (50), a member of the 1988 Seoul Olympics long distance team.  "Yoneshige said, 'I want to help support athletes who will make the Olympics.'  The things I learned from him have become important parts of my mental game," said Fujiwara.  Fujiwara will run Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon, where he plans to check his progress toward his planned Olympic peak.

Translator's note: Although Fujiwara gets more attention for his good races and personality, Nakamoto has had a far more stable and consistently-progressing marathon career, PBing every year from his 2:13:54 debut in 2008 to his 2:08:53 best this year and never finishing outside the top ten in eight marathon starts including last summer's World Championships.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mori Wins Kansai Championships 10000 m

89th Kansai Regional University T&F Championships
Nagai Stadium, Osaka, May 10-13, 2012
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:16.28
2. Chika Ogawa (Bukkyo Univ.) - 33:18.12
3. Ayako Mitsui (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:57.40
4. Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 34:03.48
5. Kanade Iida (Osaka Geidai Univ.) - 34:05.40
6. Aya Goto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 34:19.36
7. Aiko Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 34:43.77
8. Rina Asano (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 34:54.86
9. Shiori Hayashida (Osaka Geidai Univ.) - 35:06.84
10. Nanae Fukaumi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 35:07.19

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Busy Two Weeks of Track and Road Action Ahead

by Brett Larner

This weekend is the first of two successive weekends featuring regional track championships and an elite half marathon.  The Kansai Regional University T&F Championships, the most competitive university women's region in the country, starts things off May 10 and runs through the 13th, the first major meet following the graduation of Bukkyo University's collegiate 10000 m record holder Hikari Yoshimoto (Team Yamada Denki).  Entry list standouts include Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.), Sayuri Oka (Osaka Taiku Univ.) and Eriko Kushima (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.).

The Kanto Region University T&F Championships, the center of university men's running and typically a higher-level meet than the National University Championships, is split between this weekend and next.  Women's competition is thinner than in Kansai, but the meet will see talented twins Haruka and Moe Kyuma making their Regionals debut for Tsukuba University in the 10000 m.  The men's 10000 m, scheduled for Sunday, has too many good names to mention, but among the Japanese entrants watch out for the Shitara twins Keita and Yuta to push each other to new PB marks in low-28 territory.  An unusually large number of African first-years will be debuting in Kanto, among them Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) from two of the powerhouse schools traditionally using Kenyans as well as a group from relatively unknown schools, including Leul Gebresilase (Ethiopa/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) William Malel (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) and Harry Mulenga (Kenya/Soka Univ.).

The 1500 m at Kanto is scheduled for Saturday and features two of the best Japanese collegiates, Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), on the list, but both are also on the list for the weekend's most competitive meet, Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka.  In the 5000 m Murasawa, who was the top Japanese man in the Payton Jordan 10000 m in 27:50.59, is slated to face the likes of World XC silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), 13:18 man Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) and former national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B), while Osako, the 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist, will be chasing the Olympic A-standard in the 10000 m against 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), former Hakone Ekiden star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Suzuki) and at least five sub-28 Japanese men if he starts.  The women's 5000 m in Nobeoka most notably includes the strong Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).

With much of the best pro talent lining up in Nobeoka the first of two weekends of regional corporate league track championships is a little thin, but noteworthy among them is the Chugoku Regional Corporate Championships where former Sera H.S. star Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel) will seek to extend his nine-race-strong winning streak into the double digits in his second race since going pro last month.

Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon, late spring's most competitive, is also thinner than in past years but is making a welcome return after being cancelled following last year's disasters.  Sub-60 Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Nissin Shokuhin) will face his university-era rival Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) and Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) up front, while the Japanese field includes popular marathoners Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.).  The women's field suffers greatly from the withdrawal of marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), leaving twins Hiroko and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) the favorites alongside Noguchi's teammate Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex).

The following weekend features the second half of the Kanto Regional University Championships and the second round of regional corporate track championships, with the East Japan region weighing in as the toughest at the corporate level.  Look also for the second edition of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, where Mathathi and Kawauchi return as the top invited men.  Overseas, with support from JRN Suehiro Ishikawa and Takahiro Yamanaka, teammates of 10000 m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan at Honda, will run the Great Manchester Run 10 km along with the likes Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and Patrick Makau (Kenya).

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mizuki Noguchi Withdraws From Sendai International Half Marathon

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2012/05/20120509t14021.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and invited athlete Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) has withdrawn from the May 13 Sendai International Half Marathon due to poor physical condition.  Noguchi set the still-standing women's marathon national record of 2:19:12 at the 2005 Berlin Marathon and went on to run both the 2007 and 2008 Sendai International Half Marathons as an invited athlete.  In March this year she ran her first full marathon in four years, four months, finishing 6th at the Nagoya Women's Marathon and missing her chance at making a third-straight Olympic team.

Fujiwara Hopes to Debut New Sponsor's Uniform in Sendai

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/05/09/kiji/K20120509003210830.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

It's time to start stitching up that special new outfit.  London Olympics marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (30, Tokyo T&F Assoc.) returned to Japan's Narita Airport May 8 from training in California.   "My base training is done," he said of his time overseas.

The former "independent runner" has signed a sponsorship contract with children's clothing manufacturer Miki House, and, according to an involved party, "The new uniform has to be put together as quickly as possible."  At the Olympics Fujiwara will wear the national team uniform, but in other races he must wear his new uniform sporting the Miki House logo.  It's a rush job, but he hopes to debut his new outfit at the May 13 Sendai International Half Marathon.  On May 9 he will officially sign a contract, with Miki House president Koichi Kimura (67) scheduled to attend the press conference.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

IAAF Kills Hiroshi Neko's Olympic Ambitions

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201205/CN2012050801001972.html

translated by Brett Larner

On May 8 it was announced that the IAAF has sent a ruling to the Cambodian federation that Japanese comedian Hiroshi Neko (34, born Kuniaki Takizaki), who changed his citizenship last October with the aim of making Cambodia's London Olympic team in the marathon, does not satisfy Olympic entry qualifications.  Cambodia had already announced Neko as a member of its Olympic team, but the IAAF's decision kills his Olympic ambitions.

Cambodian Olympic Committee executive member Vath Chamrouen commented, "We're not going to take this any further.  We're going to pick someone else as soon as possible and send another athlete."

Translator's note: Cambodian national record holder Hem Bunting broke his own mark with a new  national record of 2:23:29 at April's Paris Marathon, almost seven minutes faster than Neko's PB set at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in February.

Marathon Squad to be Based in U.K. Pre-Olympics After Joint Altitude Training

http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/other/athletic/headlines/20120507-00000043-kyodo_sp-spo.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Japanese federation Rikuren announced May 7 that it is organizing a pre-Olympics base for its marathon team in the London suburbs and that team members will conduct their final training there beginning in July.  In response to the marathon squad's complete failure at the Beijing Olympics after one after another of them got injured, this will be Rikuren's first attempt at having its athletes dedicate themselves to working together and sharing their information and know-how.

Rikuren has previously left final training up to each athlete's individual camp, but, said a party involved with the federation's strengthening committee, "We want to make sure that each athlete is fully acclimated to London's weather and environment and to be sure of their condition so that they arrive at the Olympics in peak form."

Rikuren also indicated that the three members of the women's marathon team will go ahead with a previously-announced plan to conduct altitude training together in Flagstaff, Arizona beginning in June.  The Japanese swimming federation is reconsidering its altitude training plans following the death last week of World Champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen of Norway while altitude training in Flagstaff.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Golden Week Long Distance Track Roundup

by Brett Larner

click any meet name for complete results

Japan's Golden Week national holidays saw a series of meets with noteworthy long distance results across the country.  At the April 29 Nobeoka Spring Time Trials meet, 13:18 man Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) continued his comeback from a year of injury in 2011 with a 13:50.27 win in the 5000 m A-heat.  Former sub-28 high school sensation Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) was likewise under 14 after a seemingly endless series of injuries.  Closer to Tokyo, five-time women's 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) had an easy win in 3000 m at the Tokai University Time Trials meet, winning in 9:03.72 over teammate Akiko Matsuyama's 9:22.60.

Mitsuya and Ono doubled in the 10000 m four days later at the May 3rd Nobeoka Time Trials meet, going 1-2 with Mitsuya getting the win again in 28:49.61.  Olympic marathon team member Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) returned to competition for the first time since his 2:08:53 PB at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, 14th in 29:37.23.  The same day at the Shizuoka International meet, women's 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) got her Olympic season off to a good start, winning the 5000 m in 15:30.95 over a solid field including 5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), ekiden ace Yurie Doi (Team Starts), Kenyans Susan Wairimu and Grace Kimanzi and others.  Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) came out on top of the men's 5000 m in 13:19.18 against top-ranked Kenyan competition including Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and John Thuo (Team Toyota) and past 1500 m and 5000 m Japanese national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B).  Also on the 3rd, dominant high schooler Shiori Yano (Kita Kyushu Civic H.S.) won the National Junior Championships women's 5000 m in 15:59.93 in a sprint finish against twins Moe and Haruka Kyuma, 16:02.45 and 16:03.90 in their debuts wearing the Tsukuba University uniform.  Ken Yokote likewise made his debut for Meiji University, winning the boys' 10000 m in 29:24.79 by a margin of over 45 seconds.  Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) won the boys' 5000 m in a modest 14:23.06, narrowly outkicking his twin Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) and Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.), both of whom were also under 14:24.

The May 6 Golden Grand Prix Kawasaki meet was light on distance action but did feature a world-leading 8:18.06 by Kenyan Jairus Kipchoge in the men's 3000 m SC, where the top four men all broke the meet record.  Thicker distance action came at the nearby Nittai University Time Trials meet split over May 5 and 6.  JRN independent favorite Minami Yamanouchi (Koriyama Hosei H.S. AC) was the star of the weekend, showing up in her characteristic heavy t-shirt and baggy basketball shorts to win the 3000 m A-heat in 9:30.55 on the 5th, then returning less than 24 hours later to take down a pro field including 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and 2010 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) as she won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 16:05.13.  Making up for a poor 25th-place showing at last month's Nittai Time Trials, Kenyan Johnson Kiumbani (Team Konica Minolta) outran teammate Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) by a step to win the men's 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.11.  Naohiro Domoto (Team JR Higashi Nihon) was the top Japanese finisher, 3rd in 13:56.86.

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shizuoka International Meet - Distance Results

Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka, 5/3/12
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 13:19.18
2. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:21.22
3. John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota) - 13:23.41
4. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 13:27.06
5. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:41.56
6. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 13:46.35
7. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 14:00.31
8. Hayato Saito (Team Honda) - 14:05.13
9. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 14:08.95
10. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 14:18.77

Women's 5000 m
1. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:30.95
2. Ai Igarashi - 15:31.72 (Team Sysmex) - 15:31.72
3. Susan Wairimu (Kenya) - 15:31.74
4. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:32.23
5. Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 15:37.32
6. Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) - 15:40.73
7. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 15:43.95
8. Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) - 15:45.25
9. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:51.85
10. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:51.88

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Visit to the AIMS Marathon - Museum of Running

Today I attended an event at the Berlin Sports Museum's AIMS Marathon - Museum of Running through an invitation from Berlin Marathon founder Horst Milde and Dr. Helmut Winter.  A few pictures from the day:


1936 Berlin Olympics marathon gold medalist Sohn Kee Chung of Korea with eyes covered and downcast to avoid looking at the Japanese flag and doing his best to cover the Rising Sun on his chest during the medal ceremony.


The Naoko Takahashi booth, including one of the shoes she wore in her historic first-ever women's sub-2:20 WR at the 2001 Berlin Marathon.


Berlin Marathon founder Horst Milde (center) with the first two Berlin Marathon winners, 1974 champ Guenter Hallas (right) and 1975 winner Ralf Bachroeder (left)

 

Presenting the rarest and strangest race t-shirt in my collection, a signed shirt from the cancelled 30th anniversary running of the Kanagawa Half Marathon featuring a picture of an aged 1988 Seoul Olympics marathon gold medalist Gelindo Bordin, to Milde as a donation to the museum.

All photos by Brett Larner except Milde/Larner photo by Dr. Helmut Winter. 
photos (c) 2012 the respective photographers