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Japan's Main Summer Track Series Starts Tomorrow in Shibetsu

by Brett Larner

Japan's late-June and early-July Hokkaido-based Hokuren Distance Challenge time trial series gets underway tomorrow in Shibetsu.  Formerly a six-part series, the Distance Challenge now includes only four meets, June 26 in Shibetsu, June 29 in Fukagawa, July 3 in Abashiri and wrapping up July 6 in Kitami.  Given the series' timing its focus is often on improving marks ahead of international championships and Japanese athletes often produce their best track times of the year at one of the four races.

Shibetsu features mens' and womens' 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m distances.  On the women's side where the most notable names are 2013 London Marathon 7th-place finisher Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and 2013 National Championships 5000 m 3rd-placer Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) in the women's 3000 m A-heat, with Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), 3rd in this year's Payton Jordan 10000 m, looking like the favorite in the 5000 m A-heat.

5000 m national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) and 2:09:12 debut marathoner Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) are the top Japanese entries in the men's 5000 m, but most of the action there is bound to come from the eight-strong African contingent led by 2011 World Cross Country Championships silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) and the current #1-ranked Japan-based African, Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku).

Click here for complete starts lists for the Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

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© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

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With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …