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Ekiden Weekend Roundup

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201301280004.html
http://www.komaspo.com/4210
http://mainichi.jp/area/saitama/news/20130128ddlk11050143000c.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130127-1077441.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130127-OHT1T00214.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Three late-season ekidens took place this weekend.  Amid light snow in Yamaguchi, 48 teams took part in the 76th running of the Chugoku Yamaguchi Ekiden on a 7-stage, 84.4 km course from Ube City Hall to Shunan City Hall.  In the elite division, after an exciting Sixth Stage that saw 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) cover the 15.9 km stage in 46:11 to move his team up into 1st, Team Chugoku Denryoku retook the lead on the anchor stage and claimed its eleventh Chugoku Yamaguchi title and first in two years in a time of 4:06:44.  Saikyo High School's A team won the high school division in 4:18:58 after leading all the way from the Second Stage, also claiming its eleventh win and first in two years.  Defending local division winner Hiroshima T&F Association picked up a second-straight division win in 4:23:18.  The Chugoku Denryoku team received a banner of victory at the award ceremony, with each of the division winners receiving a trophy from sponsor Chugoku Newspaper Co.

At the 59th Atsugi Ekiden, 2013 Hakone Ekiden 3rd-place Komazawa University took its fourth-straight win, just of its own record from last year as it covered the six-stage, 42.195 km course in 2:05:28.  Up to Fourth Stage there was some turnover in the lead, but when Shota Baba took over from Kenya Sonota Komazawa got into its rhythm.  Fifth Stage man Koki Takahashi started well but faded over the second half of his stage to lose ground, leaving it up to anchor Koji Someya to hold on to the overall win.  Despite running conservatively Someya clocked the fastest time on the anchor stage, joining Baba and First Stage runner Yoshihiro Nishizawa in picking up stage wins.

At the 59th Okumusashi Ekiden, Tokai University beat defending champion Chuo University, winning the open division in 1:56:20 for the six-stage, 38.792 km course. Tokyo Nogyo Prep #3 H.S. won the high school division in 1:58:46, putting an end to Saitama Sakae H.S.'s hopes of an eleventh-straight Okumusashi win.  205 teams altogether ran Okumusashi, where the biggest news came via Saitama Prefectural Government team Fourth Stage runner Yuki Kawauchi who clipped 1 second off the existing record to set a new mark of 13:00 for the 4.679 km stage.  It was Kawauchi's fourth race, third win and second-straight ekiden run of 2013.  "Including high schoolers, I passed about twenty people today," said Kawauchi.  He will next race the Feb. 3 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, one of the domestic selection races for August's Moscow World Championships.  "Everything's going smoothly so far," he said.  "I just have to be careful about fatigue and losing my edge."  At the first domestic selection race, December's Fukuoka International Marathon, Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) ran 2:08:24. That time is Kawauchi's target in Beppu-Oita.  "If I run faster than Horibata did then I might not do Lake Biwa in March," he revealed, hoping to get the job done in one take.

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JAAF Announces Last-Chance Olympic Marathon Standards: 2:05:49 and 2:22:22

We hereby announce the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon Team qualifying standards for the MGC Final Challenge.
men: 2:05:49
women: 2:22:22 These times are one second faster than the fastest times run by Japanese men and women within the MGC Race qualifying period. The fastest athlete under these standards at one of the MGC Final Challenge series races will earn the third and final spot on the Tokyo 2020 team following the two to be decided at September's MGC Race. MGC Final Challenge series races:
Men:73rd Fukuoka International MarathonTokyo Marathon 202075th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Women:5th Saitama International Marathon39th Osaka International Women's MarathonNagoya Women's Marathon 2020 For more information on the overall Tokyo 2020 Olympic team qualification process please click here.
The official MGC site:  http://www.mgc42195.jp/
source press release:
https://www.jaaf.or.jp/news/article/12712/
translated and edited by Brett Larner

10000 m National Championships Lead Weekend Action

It's a busy weekend on the track across the country. In long distance action the main event is Sunday's 10000 m national championships, held this year a month and a half before the rest of the National Track and Field Championships in an effort to help people produce better performances to maximize their world rankings points. The 10000 m will be held in Osaka's Nagai Stadium just after the Golden Grand Prix Osaka meet, which maxes out this time around with the 3000 m steeplechase.

22 women are entered in the 10000 m including 6 of the 7 who have cleared the 31:50.00 Doha World Championships standard and the only one who has cleared the 31:25.00 Tokyo Olympics standard. That would be the currently world-ranked #3 Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC), who lapped 2nd place the last time she ran Nationals back in 2013 en route to a still-standing championships record 31:06.67. #16-ranked Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post), jointly #22-ranked Kaori Morita (Panasonic) and Mizuki Matsuda (Daiha…

Weekend Track Highlights

The IAAF World Relays in Yokohama were the weekend's main track action, but the first round of regional corporate championships and a few other meets brought distance action across the country.

The women's 10000 m was the highlight at the Kansai Region Corporate Championships, with Wacoal teammates Yuka Ando and Mao Ichiyama recovering from decent runs at the London Marathon last month to go 1st and 5th, Ando the fastest in 32:43.18. Their fellow MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifier Madoka Nakano (Noritz) was 2nd in 32:50.18, doubling the next day in the 5000 m where she was 5th in 16:07.24. Former Hakone Ekiden rivals and now teammates at NTT Nishi Nihon, Kenyans Patrick Wambui and Dominic Nyairo went 1-2 in the men's 10000 m in 28:41.84 and 28:43.86. Ryota Motegi (Sumitomo Denko) just missed the meet record in the men's 1500 m, winning in 3:44.12.

At the Chubu Region Corporate Championships Kenyans Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and Macharia Ndirangu