Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 as Seen by JRN Readers: Our Top Thirteen Stories of the Year

2013 was a big year for JRN, with total views since JRN's founding in 2007 crossing the one million mark in June and closing in on 1.5 million by year's end.  Needless to say, much of the readership revolved around the adventures of Japan's most popular indy runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), who factored into eight of our thirteen most-read stories of the year including all of the top three.

1. Mathathi Makes Transition to Marathon in Fukuoka, Kawauchi 3rd in Third Sub-2:10 of 2013 - Dec. 1
2007 Osaka World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/ Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) made a successful return to the marathon with the second-fastest-ever closing split on the Fukuoka course, while Kawauchi became the first Japanese man to break 2:10 three times in one year.  Click here for JRN's race preview.

2. Kawauchi Over Nakamoto in 2:08:15 Beppu-Oita Course Record - Feb. 3
Kawauchi and London Olympian Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) pushed each other to PBs in a one-on-one race that saw Kawauchi break the long-standing course record.  Race preview.

3. This One Goes Up to Eleven - Dec. 15
Yuki Kawauchi's record-setting 2013 in review.  Click here for a photo essay on Kawauchi by rival independent Arata Fujiwara (Miki House).

4. Chepyego 1:08:24 CR at Sanyo Women's Half Marathon - Dec. 23
Kyushu-based Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) outran two-time defending champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) for the win at the Sanyo Women's Half Marathon, taking nearly a minute off Akaba's course record.  Chepyego's countrywoman Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) won the 10 km in 32:24.

5. Kimetto Gets Tokyo Marathon CR - Feb. 24
Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) took his first World Marathon Majors title in a course record 2:06:50, with Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) making the Moscow World Championships team in 2:08:00.  Post-race Maeda criticized Kawauchi for talking too much. Race preview.

6. Ichida and Nishiike Lead Eighteen Under 63 Minutes in Ageo City Half Marathon Photo-Finish - Nov. 17
The 26th running of the world's deepest half marathon saw eighteen men run sub-63, seventeen of them collegiates, the most in the event's history.  Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) outkicked Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) and three others in the final 100 m for the win in 1:02:36.  For the third year in a row, the top two Japanese collegiates in Ageo earned invites to run March's New York City Half Marathon.

7. Bat Ochir Wins Hofu in 2:09:00, Kawauchi Scores Second Sub-2:10 in 14 Days for New World Record - Dec. 15
The 2014 Asian Games became a lot more interesting as Mongolia's Serod Bat Ochir took over two minutes off his own national record, beating Kawauchi for the win in Hofu. Kawauchi scored his second sub-2:10 in two weeks to set a new world record for the least time ever between sub-2:10s and becoming the first man in history to break 2:10 four times in one year.

8. Komazawa University Smashes Izumo Ekiden CR With Near-Perfect Performance - Oct. 14
The start of university men's ekiden season saw ten-time national champion Komazawa University easily break the Izumo course record set last year by rival Aoyama Gakuin University led by a stage record from star junior Kenta Murayama.  An all-star Ivy League University Select Team could do no better than 14th out of 22 against the world's best collegiate distance runners.  Race preview.

9. Seven-Year-Old Japanese Girl Finishes Honolulu Marathon in 7:41:45, Saying "That Was Fun" - Dec. 9
Seven-year-old Haruka Masuda unexpectedly became one of JRN's stars of the year when she ran the Honolulu Marathon with her parents.

10. Kenya 2:03:59 CR at International Chiba Ekiden - Nov. 23
For the third year in a row, the Kenya team beat Japan for the International Chiba Ekiden title, breaking its own course record in the process.  New Zealand's Zane Robertson turned heads with a stage record on the 10.0 km Third Stage.  Race preview.

11. ING New York City Marathon - Japanese Results - Nov. 4
Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) and Kawauchi ran the two fastest times ever by Japanese men on the New York course, with Imai taking 6th in 2:10:45.  London Olympian Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) was a disappointing 11th in the women's race.  Race preview.

12. Seko Introduces New Rainbow-Colored DeNA Uniform, Praises Kawauchi - Apr. 4
Marathon great Toshihiko Seko introduced the incredibly gaudy new uniform of his corporate team, which in 2013 moved from its historic place at the S&B Foods company to game maker DeNA.  Background on S&B disbanding.

13. Kawauchi and Puchkova Win Freezing Wet Nagano Marathon - Apr. 21
Kawauchi was unfazed by overnight snow that made the 2013 Nagano Marathon a wet and slushy mess, running 2:14:27 for his third marathon win of the year.  Russian Natalia Puchkova won the women's race in 2:30:40.  Race preview.


patrick voo said...

brett - thanks for all of your awesome work on behalf of japanese running, and for (even physically) bringing some of the greatest athletes in the world (not the least of which is my running idol yuki kawauchi) into the mainstream arena. happy new year to you!

Brett Larner said...

Thanks, Patrick. Likewise, happy new year.