Skip to main content

Five Laotian Athletes to Run Oita City Half Marathon

translated by Brett Larner

In a visit to Lieutenant Governor Tomomasa Futsukaichi at the Oita Prefectural Government offices on Jan. 10, five Laotian athletes promised to run their best in the Jan. 14 Oita City Half Marathon. The five runners are coached in Laos by Oita native Kenji Ozawa, 46, a senior volunteer with the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Ozawa introduced each athlete individually, expressing his hope that they would all deliver good races.

Accompanying Ozawa in the visit to the Prefectural Offices were four men entered in the half marathon and one woman who will run the 10 km.  Lieutenant Governor Futsukaichi commented, "I could sense the depth of the bond between Ozawa and his athletes.  I hope to see them reap the full benefits of their training."

Ozawa began a two-year volunteer mission to help cultivate Laos' long-distance athletes in September, 2011, but returned to Japan last October due to health problems.  With assistance from friends in covering the costs of airfare and other expenses while the Laotian athletes are in Oita he was able to push for their invitation to this year's race.  "I want them to get a taste of the thriving Japanese road race scene and to take on the challenge of trying to compete in it," said Ozawa.  Entered for the half marathon, Tamawanchatt Saisawatt, 21, said, "My times have improved a lot through training with Coach Ozawa.  I want to run a fast time here."


Most-Read This Week

Men's Marathon Rout - JAAF Executives Announce Resignation

translated by Brett Larner

In the Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's marathon on Aug. 21, Satoru Sasaki (30) was the top Japanese man at 16th in 2:13:57.  Suehiro Ishikawa (36) was 36th, with Hisanori Kitajima (31) placing 94th.

At the end of athletics competition Japan's total was two medals and two top eight finishes, a total exceeding the JAAF's target one medal but falling short of its goal of five top eight finishes.  JAAF strengthening committee chairman Kazunori Asaba (55) announced that he intends to resign his position following the Rio Olympics.  Strengthening committee vice-chairman Katsumi Sakai (56) and director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh (63) are also expected to join the exodus of resignations.  Japanese athletics will be forced to make a fresh start before the Tokyo Olympics.

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Kawauchi Leaves for Oslo After Trying 100 m Time Trial

The civil servant runner admits to being shocked. 2017 London World Championships marathoner and men's captain Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport for Norway the evening of Sept. 13 to run the Sept. 16 BMW Oslo Marathon.

On Sept. 9 at the National University Track and Field Championships, Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) became the first Japanese man to break 10 seconds in the 100 m when he set a new national record of 9.98. The news has been the talk of the nation ever since. Kawauchi said, "It's pretty amazing. It took up the front page of every newspaper." What can he run for 100 m? "My PB is 13.1, but right now, 13.9," he admitted.

Kawauchi ran that time, "in the morning the day before yesterday," he said. "I did two time trials. I even wore spikes. I ran them for real and only did 13.9. To be honest, it was pretty shocking." Although short sprints are well outside his area of expertise it seemed…