Sunday, June 30, 2013

World Leads at Lake Saroma Ultra As Federation Cancels Team Selection for World Championships

by Brett Larner

The 28th edition of Japan's premier ultra, the Lake Saroma 100 km and 50 km Ultramarathon, took place June 30 along the northeastern shore of Hokkaido.  Lake Saroma was to have been the official selection race for the Japanese team for this year's IAU 100 km World Championships, but on Friday organizers posted a notice on the race website informing top-ranked participants that due to uncertainty surrounding South Africa's readiness to host the World Championships this October the team selection would be cancelled.

Despite both this disappointment and hot temperatures, both the men's and women's 100 km races saw world-leading performances.  In the men's 100 km division, 2009 winner Hideo Nojo (New Balance) improved on his 2nd-place finish last year with a world-leading 6:37:16 for this year's title, 4 1/2 minutes ahead of 2:18 marathoner Takayoshi Shigemi (Urugimura).  Two-time Olympic medalist and 2010 Lake Saroma champion Erick Wainaina (Kenya/New Balance) was 5th in 6:55:09, well off his best of 6:38:40.  Last year's runner-up also improved a place in the women's 100 km, Mai Fujisawa (Sapporo City Hall) taking the win in a world-leading 8:10:39.

In the 50 km division, defending women's champion Chiyuki Mochizuki (Canon AC Kyushu) won again in 3:30:10, Norifumi Goto (Chiboryo RC) winning the men's race in 3:18:51.

Lake Saroma Ultramarathon
Yubetsu, Hokkaido, 6/30/13
click here for top results

Men's 100 km
1. Hideo Nojo (New Balance) - 6:37:16 - WL
2. Takayoshi Shigemi (Urugimura) - 6:41:44
3. Tsutomu Nagata (Takada SDF Base) - 6:44:33
4. Yuki Takada (Aichi T&F Assoc.) - 6:49:53
5. Erick Wainaina (Kenya/New Balance) - 6:55:09

Women's 100 km 
1. Mai Fujisawa (Sapporo City Hall) - 8:10:39 - WL
2. Tomoko Hara (Sokyu RC) - 8:23:33
3. Hisayo Matsumoto (Saitama) - 8:30:37
4. Wakako Oyagi (Kiso RC) - 8:31:13
5. Mikiko Ota (Kyoto Tanzan RC) - 8:33:10

Men's 50 km
1. Norifumi Goto (Chiboryo RC) - 3:18:51
2. Takashi Fujiwara - 3:26:56
3. Kazuo Otaki - 3:29:35

Women's 50 km
1. Chiyuki Mochizuki (Canon AC Kyushu) - 3:30:10
2. Asami Kagawa - 4:04:02
3. Atsuko Shimokawara - 4:05:37

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Omwamba Leads Yamanashi Gakuin to Top of National University Ekiden Qualifier

by Brett Larner

Triple 2013 Kanto Region 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m champion Enock Omwamba led Yamanashi Gakuin University through the woods to take the top position at the National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Region Qualifier June 30 at Tokyo's National Stadium.  One of the most interesting meets on the Kanto circuit, the Kanto Region qualifier features twenty second-tier teams vying for seven spots at November's National University Ekiden Championships, every team with two men in each of four heats and the team's standing determined by the accumulated time of all eight men.  Team supporters line the track making noise and creating a high-energy environment.

Heading into the fourth and final heat, Yamanashi Gakuin had a lead of less than 7 seconds over rival Hosei University.  Omwamba led start to finish, dropping his trailers one by one to finish in 28:18.77, beating Hosei ace Kazuto Nishiike by almost 47 seconds and making hefty donation to the cause.  Yamanashi's Hiroto Inoue wrapped it up with a 29:09.75 for 3rd, adding another 4 seconds onto Yamanashi margin over Hosei.

Aoyama Gakuin University, which last year enigmatically failed to qualify for Nationals before setting the course record at the season-opening Izumo Ekiden, ran steadily for 3rd despite a lackluster performance by sophomore star Kazuma Kubota in Heat 4.  Chuo Gakuin University, Teikyo University, Daito Bunka University and Juntendo University filled out the list of qualifiers for the second of this year's Big Three university ekidens.

National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Region Qualifier
National Stadium, Tokyo, 6/30/13
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top seven qualify for National University Ekiden Championships
1. Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. - 3:57:32.71
2. Hosei Univ. - 3:58:51.38
3. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 3:59:17.60
4. Chuo Gakuin Univ. - 4:00:28.66
5. Teikyo Univ. - 4:00:34.80
6. Daito Bunka Univ - 4:00:43.66
7. Juntendo Univ. - 4:01:06.69
-----
8. Koku Gakuin Univ. - 4:01:37.26
9. Takushoku Univ. - 4:01:46.38
10. Tokai Univ. - 4:01:57.76

Heat 4
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:18.77
2. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 29:05.46
3. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:09.75
4. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:10.39
5. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:10.87
6. Ryo Nakagawa (Tokai Univ.) - 29:12.49
7. Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) - 29:13.59
8. Yudai Okamoto (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:16.52
9. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:17.72
10. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:18.89

Heat 3
1. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 29:27.81
2. Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) - 29:29.94
3. Shinichiro Tai (Hosei Univ.) - 29:30.19
4. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:32.87
5. Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:33.55

Heat 2
1. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:52.53
2. Yuki Hirota (Tokai Univ.) - 29:55.14
3. Koki Nanba (Teikyo Univ.) - 30:01.13
4. Akifumi Ueki (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:04.61
5. Ryoma Takeuchi (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:04.94

Heat 1
1. Tatsumi Abe (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:04.18
2. Hiroki Sugawa (Chuo Univ.) - 30:06.86
3. Junya Uemura (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:07.53
4. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 30:10.69
5. Ryo Hashimoto (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 30:13.81

Heat 5 - alternates' heat
1. Kazuma Tashiro (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:08.98
2. Noriyasu Ikeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:16.98
3. Shun Yamamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 30:17.52
4. Shunji Kikkawa (Tokai Univ.) - 30:17.61
5. Yuta Hamano (Senshu Univ.) - 30:19.40

text and photo (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Barsoton Over Karemi in Fukagawa

by Brett Larner
photo by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu

2013 World Cross-Country Championships junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) made a solid debut over 10000 m on June 29 at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet, narrowly winning the A-heat in 27:33.13 after leading much of the race. Less than a stride behind, former Sera H.S. star Jeremiah Karemi (Team Toyota Kyushu) took nearly a minute off his best as he finished in 27:33.38.  Now coached by Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita, Karemi is one of two Kenyans to pick where late Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru left off at the Toyota Kyushu team.

21-year-old Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), in the all-time Japanese top ten over both 10000 m and half marathon, was 7th in 28:02.36 to lead the Japanese contingent in the unusually deep heat, where 26 men broke 29 minutes.  Miyawaki raised eyebrows by announcing post-race that he plans to make his marathon debut in the upcoming season. Next behind him, London Olympian and 2:08 marathoner Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) and 2013 5000 m national champion Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) both ran new PBs, each clearing 28:20 for the first time.

In the women's 10000 m A-heat Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) ran 32:35.79 to take the win over marathoner Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) and Kenyan Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki).  Further back, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), just back from altitude training in the United States, was 4th in a relatively flat 32:42.56.  Veteran Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) added yet another sub-33 clocking to her credentials as she took 11th in 32:58.14.

Having won the 3000 m earlier this week in this season's first Hokuren Distance Challenge meet, Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) backed it up with another victory in the 5000 m A-heat as he outran Ethiopian Awol Kedir (Team Yasukawa Denki) in 13:23.89. Moscow World Championships 10000 m team member Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) ran a season-best 13:30.77 for 4th, but his Moscow teammate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) was a DNF at 3000 m after having run 3:48.53 for 2nd in the 1500 m a few hours earlier.  Absent a 5000 m for the women, Mary Waithira (Kenya/Toyota Jidoshokki) won the 3000 m A-heat in 9:03.73 by five seconds over Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei).

Other notable action came in the men's 10000 m B and C-heats.  In the B-heat, newcomer Abayne Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) led a five-man Ethiopian pack in 27:57.51.  Just starting his sophomore year at 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University, Hideto Yamanaka was the top Japanese man at 6th overall in a new PB of 28:26.03.  Hakone runner up Toyo University's Masaya Taguchi was next in 28:37.37 in his 10000 m debut, an apparent collegiate 10000 m debut national record.  In the C-heat, 2013 Sendai International Half Marathon winner Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) returned to action with a perfunctory 28:34.59 win over Toyota Kyushu's other new Kenyan, Titus Waroru and former Nihon University ace Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza).

The Hokuren Distance Challenge continues July 3.

2013 Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet Highlights
Fukagawa, Hokkaido, 6/29/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:33.13 - debut
2. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:33.38 - PB
3. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 27:54.35
4. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 27:58.02
5. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 27:59.11
6. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 28:02.18
7. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 28:02.36
8. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 28:13.23 - PB
9. Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:15.92 - PB
10. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 28:16.99 - PB

Women's 10000 m A-Heat
1. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 32:35.79
2. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 32:38.62
3. Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:38.71
4. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 32:42.56
5. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 32:45.56
6. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 32:49.90
7. Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 32:51.53
8. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 32:53.48
9. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 32:55.66
10. Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) - 32:57.11

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:23.89
2. Awol Kedir (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki) - 13:29.87
3. Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 13:30.18
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:30.77
5. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:38.98
6. Yuki Arimura (Meiji Univ.) - 13:43.20 - PB
7. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 13:44.01
8. Hideyuki Tanaka (Team Toyota) - 13:45.28
9. Charles Ndungu (Kenya/Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) - 13:46.32
10. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:47.58
DNF - Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.)

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Mary Waithira (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:03.73
2. Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 9:08.43
3. Yuka Inami (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 9:15.43
4. Miyuki Gokan (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:19.71
5. Tomoyo Yamamoto (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:22.12

Men's 1500 m
1. Ronald Kemoi (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 3:45.39
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:48.53
3. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 3:48.97
4. Koki Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 3:49.29
5. Kenta Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 3:50.48

Men's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Abayne Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 27:57.51
2. Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 28:01.01
3. Million Zewdie (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 28:02.86
4. Meraku Abera (Ethiopia/Team Kurosaki Harima) - 28:09.97
5. Agato Yashin Hasen (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) - 28:12.82
6. Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai Univ.) - 28:26.03 - PB
7. Masaya Taguchi (Toyo Univ.) - 28:37.37 - debut
8. Hiroki Mitsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:42.97 - PB
9. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:43.83
10. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 28:44.57 - PB

Women's 10000 m B-Heat
1. Katsuki Suga (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 33:19.19
2. Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) - 33:26.32
3. Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:36.90
4. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 33:46.12
5. Miyu Mogi (Josai Univ.) - 33:46.45

Men's 10000 m C-Heat
1. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:34.59
2. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:37.15
3. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 28:42.85
4. Ryosuke Maki (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:08.01
5. Kenta Iinuma (Team Sagawa Express) - 29:14.44

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kicks Off in Shibetsu

by Brett Larner

Rain and wind greeted the first in the 2013 Hokuren Distance Challenge series June 26 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido, combining with a shortage of top-tier domestic names to produce few noteworthy results.  NTN Kenyan Edward Waweru's 7:47.02 win the men's 3000 m was the most competitive run of the day, ranking him just outside the top ten worldwide this year with the Koichi Morishita-coached Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) just behind in 7:48.31.  2012 national 5000 m champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) was 4th in 8:06.39.

Little-known William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda), brought to Japan last year by coach Stephen Mayaka to run for tiny Sozo Gakuin University before jumping ship for the corporate leagues this year, had a win the men's 5000 m A-heat over the likes of 2011 World XC silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko).

This year's 1500 m national champion Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) partially redeemed his 4:02.32 winning time at the National Championships earlier this month with a 3:47.21 win in Shibetsu, while Payton Jordan 10000 m 3rd-place Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) turned in the key women's result of the day, winning the 5000 m A-heat in 15:49.19.

The Hokuren Distance Challenge continues Saturday in Fukagawa with an emphasis on 10000 m.  Two more meets follow in early July.

2013 Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet Highlights
Shibetsu, Hokkaido, 6/26/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 13:39.01
2. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:40.29
3. Agato Yashin Hasen (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) - 13:43.53
4. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:45.26
5. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:46.53

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 15:49.19
2. Yuka Ando (Team Tokinosumika) - 15:52.24
3. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 16:00.30
4. Satomi Ueta (Team Toto) - 16:02.56
5. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:05.26

Men's 3000 m
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 7:47.02
2. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 7:48.31
3. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 8:05.33
4. Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 8:06.39
5. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:09.37

Women's 3000 m A-Heat
1. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 9:14.37
2. Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 9:15.58
3. Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 9:16.21
4. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 9:16.88
5. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:18.92

Men's 1500 m
1. Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:47.21
2. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:47.37
3. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 3:48.64

Women's 1500 m
1. Mary Waithera (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:22.64
2. Haruka Mochizuki (Team Yutaka Giken) - 4:24.83
3. Miyuki Gokan (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:25.12

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'Marathon Everyman'

"Yuki Kawauchi is a world-class athlete, a full-time government clerk, and a Japanese national hero. Could he change the way we think about running?"

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/06/yuki_kawauchi_meet_the_marathon_running_government_clerk_who_s_a_national.html

Kawauchi's 2013 race schedule so far: Nineteen races run, twelve wins, six course records, three PBs, one all-comers' record.

Jan. 13: Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon, Tokyo: 1:05:31, 1st
Jan. 18: Egyptian Marathon, Luxor: 2:12:24 - ACR/CR, 1st
Jan. 20: Saitama Ekiden 3rd Stage (11.9k), Saitama: 36:54, 2nd
Jan. 27: Okumusashi Ekiden 4th Stage (4.679k), Hanno: 13:00 - CR, 1st
Feb. 3: Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Oita: 2:08:15 - CR/PB, 1st
Feb. 17: Kumanichi 30 km, Kumamoto: 1:29:31 - CR/PB, 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Tamana: 1:03:12, 2nd
Mar. 17: Seoul Int'l Marathon, Seoul: 2:08:14 - PB, 4th
Mar. 24: Saitama City Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:52, 1st
Apr. 7: Satte Sakura 10-Miler: cancelled due to bad weather
Apr. 14: Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:06:28, 1st
Apr. 21: Nagano Marathon: 2:14:27, 1st
Apr. 28: Oda Memorial Meet GP Men's 5000 m, Hiroshima: 14:09.88, 18th
May 4: Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon: guest run - started at rear of field and tried to chase everyone down; finished 10th with no time recorded
May 5: Toyohiragawa Half Marathon, Toyohiragawa: 1:05:45, 1st
May 12: Sendai Int'l Half Marathon, Sendai: 1:03:30, 10th
May 19: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:05:05, 14th
May 26: Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon, Kurobe: 1:03:58 - CR, 1st
June 2: Chitose Int'l Marathon, Chitose: 2:18:29 - CR, 1st
June 16: Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, Oki: 2:57:28, 1st

Still to come:
July 7: Gold Coast Airport Marathon
July 21: Shibetsu Half Marathon
July 28: Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Road Race
Aug. 17: Moscow World Championships marathon
Sept. 29: Hakodate Half Marathon
Oct. 6: Hirosaki Shirakami Apple Half Marathon
Oct. 13: Melbourne Marathon
Nov. 17: Ageo City Half Marathon
Nov. 24: Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon
Dec. 1: Fukuoka International Marathon
Dec. 15: Hofu Yomiuri Marathon
and more.

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kiptoo Sets Grandma's Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner
photo by Kenji Ogura

Japan's #3 independent runner Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business Service) made his international debut  June 22 at the 37th running of Grandma's Marathon.  Appearing through an invite from outgoing race director Scott Keenan and support from JRN after running a 2:13:38 best at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon, Matsumoto ran comfortably in the lead pack on mid-2:12 pace until eventual winner Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) made his race-breaking move near 30 km.  Worku went on to record the fifth-fastest winning time in Grandma's history, 2:11:14, with Kenyans Ernest Kebenei and Eliud Ngetich joining him under 2:12.  A total of 22 men ran sub-2:20 thanks in part to strong tailwinds throughout much of the point-to-point race.

Unable to follow Worku's play, Matsumoto lost ground and struggled over the final 5 km, ultimately finishing 17th in 2:17:53.  "I should have been able to make the podium," he told JRN post-race.  "I'm really, really disappointed."  Despite his disappointment, Matsumoto's time was the second-best of his relatively short marathon career.  Broadcast announcers took special note of him during the race, saying that at the pre-race press conference Matsumoto had sought out course record holder Dick Beardsley to talk and pay his respects.

The women's race was a Kenyan sweep, with Sarah Kiptoo marking a major PB of 2:26:31 to win by almost four minutes on the way to a new course record and runner-up Doreen Kitaka also setting a new PB of 2:30:21 to beat defending champion Everlyne Lagat, 3rd just off last year's winning time in 2:33:27.

37th Grandma's Marathon
Duluth, MN, June 22, 2013
click here for complete results

Men
1. Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:11:14
2. Ernest Kebenei (Kenya) - 2:11:45
3. Eliud Ngetich (Kenya) - 2:11:59 - PB
4. Matthew Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:12:09 - PB
5. Weldon Kirui (Kenya) - 2:12:55
6. Christopher Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:13:00
7. Jordan Chipangama (Zambia) - 2:13:08 - PB
8. Kennedy Kemei (Kenya) - 2:13:17 - PB
9. Michael Reneau (U.S.A.) - 2:13:53 - PB
10. Edward Mbuni (Kenya) - 2:14:28
-----
17. Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business Service) - 2:17:53

Women
1. Sarah Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:26:31 - CR/PB
2. Doreen Kitaka (Kenya) - 2:30:21 - PB
3. Everlyne Lagat (Kenya) - 2:33:27
4. Divina Jepkogei (Kenya) - 2:34:21 - PB
5. Pasca Myers (Kenya) - 2:34:24 - debut
6. Hirut Guangul (Ethiopia) - 2:35:29
7. Tibnit Gidey (Ethiopia) - 2:36:50
8. Jenna Boren (U.S.A.) - 2:40:38 - PB
9. Laurie Knowles (U.S.A.) - 2:41:59
10. Tezata Dengersa (Ethiopia) - 2:43:30

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Kenji Ogura
all rights reserved

Friday, June 21, 2013

Noguchi and Fukushi Back From Altitude Training in the U.S.

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/2013062101002337.html

translated by Brett Larner

2013 Moscow World Championships women's marathon team members Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) landed at Tokyo's Narita Airport on June 21, returning home after altitude training in Boulder, Colorado. Noguchi, 34, said, "This got me going at a nice pace for what comes next." Fukushi, 31, added, "Fatigue isn't bothering me. Everything's normal."

According to Athens Olympics gold medalist Noguchi, the two of them did almost the same training.  Watching Fukushi, whose track credentials far outweigh her own, Noguchi said, "Her rhythmical way of moving is different from mine.  I learned a lot."  Including the third member of the World Championships training camp, Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), Noguchi nodded as she said, "It was really motivating to be able to share advice and ideas with each other."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Matsumoto Faces Tough Challenge in Best-Ever Grandma's Marathon Field

by Brett Larner
photos by Kenji and Jamie Ogura

With 22 men on its entry list having run under 2:14 in the last four years, 11 of them sub-2:12 and an unprecented sub-2:10 contingent led by former marathon junior world record holder Bazu Worku (Ethiopia), in its final year under the helm of race director Scott Keenan the 37th running of Grandma's Marathon may, if the weather cooperates, see a serious shot at the historic 2:09:37 set in 1981 by the great Dick Beardsley.  Only one athlete among the top 22 hails from a country other than Kenya or Ethiopia, 27-year-old Japanese independent Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business Services).  Appearing at Grandma's with support from JRN after a recommendation from Japan's most famous independent, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), Matsumoto faces a tough challenge in climbing up through the ranks toward the front end of the field.

A graduate of running-oriented Kobayashi H.S. where he ran the National High School Ekiden Championships twice, Matsumoto attended the academically elite University of Tokyo, making news for qualifying for the 2005 Hakone Ekiden as a member of the Kanto Region Select Team and earning a reputation as an intellectual scholar-athlete.  Post-graduation he was recruited by the TEPCO corporate team coached by 1991 World Championships gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi, but the Fukushima disasters in his third year with the team spelled the end of his corporate league career as the TEPCO team was disbanded.  While his teammates moved to other teams or retired, Matsumoto opted to follow Kawauchi's example and go the independent route.

Taking a full-time job with the Tokyo-based Nikkei Business Services company Matsumoto spent time developing a workable training regimen before making a serious move to the marathon in the fall of 2012.  Going sub-2:20 for the first time in 2:19:26 at the Oct. 28 Oikawa Marathon, he followed up with a 2:18:59 best at the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon after going through halfway in 1:03:50, 10 seconds better than his half marathon best.  The Feb. 10 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon marked Matsumoto's big breakthrough. Running against a field of developing corporate runners at 2:11 pace, Matsumoto hit them with a hard surge at 30 km that broke the field apart.  Pushing on in the lead, he fell victim to winner Hiroaki Sano's closing speed but held on to improve his best by over 5 minutes to 2:13:38.

Matsumoto, course record holder Dick Beardsley and host family Jamie and Kenji Ogura.

Making his serious overseas debut in Grandma's, Matsumoto hopes to improve again to at least 2:12, a time that most years would put him at the front end of the field. Where it will put him this year, with possible tailwinds and strong competition lined up ahead of him to well below the 2:10 level, is anyone's guess, but Matsumoto has one point of history on his side.  At the start of his independent career in 2010, future 2:07 man and Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) outkicked Bazu Worku by 20 seconds over the final kilometer to set the Ottawa Marathon course record.  It would be a stretch for Matsumoto to do the same on Saturday, but if he did his position as another independent among Japan's leading men would be set.  The corporate league coaches and bureaucrats will be watching.

37th Grandma's Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Duluth, MN, 6/22/13

Men
Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:05:25 (Berlin 2010)
Gashaw Asfaw (Ethiopia) - 2:08:03 (Paris 2006)
Wegayehu Tefera (Ethiopia) - 2:08:25 (Seoul 2010)
Abraham Chelanga (Kenya) - 2:08:43 (Paris 2009)
Weldon Kirui (Kenya) - 2:09:06 (Eindhoven 2012)
Dereje Yadete (Ethiopia) - 2:09:51 (Tiberias 2012)
Tumicha Horsa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:53 (Saint Anthony 2012)
Ernest Kebenei (Kenya) - 2:10:55 (Nairobi 2011)
Tesfaye Sendeku (Ethiopia) - 2:11:18 (San Diego 2012)
Sammy Malakwen (Kenya) - 2:11:31 (Beirut 2012)
Meshack Kirwa (Kenya) - 2:11:45 (Nairobi 2009)
Francis Maundu (Kenya) - 2:12:09 (Toronto 2009)
Christopher Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:12:17 (Grandma's 2011)
James Kirwa (Kenya) - 2:12:54 (Des Moines 2011)
David Rutoh (Kenya) - 2:13:00 (Baltimore 2010)
Elijah Muturi (Kenya) - 2:13:17 (Zhenzhou 2012)
Joseph Mutinda (Kenya) - 2:13:19 (Torreon 2012)
Edward Mbuni (Kenya) - 2:12:32 (Nairobi 2010)
Lamech Mokono (Kenya) - 2:13:28 (Grandma's 2012)
Kennedy Kemei (Kenya) - 2:13:36 (Firenze 2006)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Benjamin Metto (Kenya) - 2:13:45 (Grandma's 2012)

Women
Yihunlish Delelecha (Ethiopia) - 2:30:39 (Grandma's 2011)
Everlyne Lagat (Kenya) - 2:31:32 (Grandma's 2012)
Doreen Kitaka (Kenya) - 2:32:31 (Grandma's 2011)
Sarah Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:33:42 (Cleveland 2013)
Hirut Guangul (Ethiopia) - 2:34:02 (Twin Cities 2012)
Tinibt Gidey (Ethiopia) - 2:34:43 (Twin Cities 2012)
Divina Jepkosgei (Kenya) - 2:34:53 (Grandma's 2011)
Gulume Tollesa (Ethiopia) - 2:36:05 (Marrakech 2013)
Tezeta Dengersa (Turkey) - 2:37:52 (Baltimore 2011)
Laurie Knowles (U.S.A.) - 2:38:11 (Grandma's 2011)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photos (c) 2013 Kenji Ogura
all rights reserved

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bunting Over Neko at Phnom Penh International Half Marathon

http://www.nikkansports.com/entertainment/news/f-et-tp0-20130616-1143679.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Phnom Penh International Half Marathon took place June 16 in the Cambodian capitol of Phnom Penh.  Having taken Cambodian citizenship in 2011 in a bid to make the London Olympics, Japanese-born comedian Hiroshi Neko, (born Kuniaki Takizaki), 35, ran the half marathon but was beaten by his rival, the native-born Hem Bunting, 27.  Bunting, the Cambodian marathon national record holder and a Beijing Olympian, won in 1:15:34. Neko, 2nd in 1:17:04, said post-race, "I couldn't keep me speed up in the second half the way I expected."

Neko became a Cambodian citizen in October, 2011 and was selected for the Cambodian Olympic team in the marathon in March last year.  However, citing factors including that Neko had not fulfilled the minimum one-year waiting period following his transfer of citizenship, the IAAF ruled that he was not elligible to run.  In addition to the problems with Neko's transfer of citizenship, the question of why the top domestic-born marathoner, Bunting, was not selected for the Olympic team raised serious issues.

This year marked the third running of the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon.  In addition to the half marathon distance, the event featured 10 km and 3 km division. Including Japanese runners, a total of over 4000 men and women took part.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kawauchi Wins Second-Straight Okinoshima Ultra in Late Father's Hometown; Rushed to Hospital

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130616-1143588.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130615-OHT1T00207.htm
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/06/16/kiji/K20130616006025620.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 8th annual Okinoshima Ultramarathon took place June 16 on the island of Okinoshima.  452 runners took part, including 141 women.  First among them in the event's 50 km division was Moscow World Championships marathon team member and defending champion Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who crossed the line in 2:57:28.  Kawauchi's father Ashio Kawauchi, who passed away in 2005 at age 59, was a native of Okinoshima, giving the Father's Day race a special significance for the younger Kawauchi.

It was his third-straight year running the Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km, with a DNF after collapsing with heat exhaustion in the final kilometers of 2011's race and a 2:51:45 course record last year.  At this year's race, after crossing the finish line Kawauchi appeared to be suffering from heatstroke and was rushed to the medical tent.  He was then taken to a local hospital while being given oxygen.  Weather conditions at the time of Kawauchi's finish just before 2:00 p.m. were 24.7 degrees with 85% humidity.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kiryu Breaks High School 200 m National Record in 20.41 Nineteen Years After Old Record was Set

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201306/2013061500237&g=spo

translated by Brett Larner



With a time of 10.01 already making him the all-time #2 Japanese man over 100 m, Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.) ran 20.41 (+0.5) to break the 200 m high school national record June 15 at the Kinki Region National High School Championships Qualifier at Nara's Konoike Field. The previous record of 20.57 was set at the same meet in 1994 by Kazuhiro Takahashi (Soekami H.S.). Having eclipsed that record by a margin of 0.16 seconds nineteen years after it was set, Kiryu now holds both the 100 m and 200 m high school national records.

Kiryu ran 21.81 in the heats and 21.05 in the semifinals, the fastest times in each round. Despite rain at the time of the final he ran perfectly, winning by a gap of more than one second over his nearest competitor.

Translator's note: Kiryu is Japan's eighth man to hit the 2013 World Championships A-standard of 20.52 this season.  The top four, including him, are all aged 21 or younger.  As of this writing Jamaica has five men with the A-standard, while the United States has fifteen including multiple athletes to have previously served drug suspensions.

Uehara Sets 1500 m Meet Record for Second-Straight Southern Kyushu High School Championships Title

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/item/369574

translated by Brett Larner

On the second day of the Southern Kyushu Regional High School Track and Field Championships at Kumamoto's Umakana Yokana Stadium, defending girls' 1500 m champion Miyuki Uehara (3rd yr., Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) won again in a meet record 4:22.08.  In the boys' 4x100 m relay, Naha Nishi H.S. (Okinawa) set a meet record of 40.85 to take the title.  Yumi Nobayashi (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) took her third-straight girls' 100 m victory in 11.98.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sweaty Kiryu Easily Powers Team to Final: "It's Hot Out Here"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/06/14/kiji/K20130614006009060.html

translated by Brett Larner

Neither heat nor fatigue bothers this 17-year-old.  With a 100 m best of 10.01, Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.) ran at Nara's Konoike Field with his team's 4x100 m relay in the qualifying heats for the National High School Track and Field Championships. With temperatures in Nara peaking at 35 degrees, sweat was pouring down Kiryu's face even just moving from the warmup track to the main ground.  "It's hot out here," he said with a smile.  With three straight races on deck, Kiryu anchored his team through the heats and semifinals to the final, where they are ranked first.  "I'm not tired at all," he said with conviction.  "I ran comfortably and feeling good."  With the final due up soon, it's another busy day on the road to Kiryu's quest for Japan's first 9-second 100 m.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Federation Announces National Teams for Asian Athletics Championships and East Asian Games

by Brett Larner

Alongside its post-National Championships announcement of the 41-member Japanese team for August's Moscow World Championships, the Japanese Federation announced the teams it has selected for July's Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, India and October's East Asian Games in Tianjin, China.

26 men and 26 women will make up the Asian Athletics Championships team, with sprinters Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC), Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN) and Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu), hurdlers Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima), Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) and Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) and high jumper Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC) doubling there and in Moscow.

The East Asian Games team includes 30 men and 28 women, led by 2013 national champions Yuki Ebhiara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu), Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.), Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.), Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) and Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.).

20th Asian Athletics Championships Japanese National Team
July, 2013, Pune, India
click here for complete team roster

Men

Sprints
Hideyuki Hirose (Team Fujitsu)
Yusuke Ishitsuka (Mizuno)
Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku)
Sota Kawatsura (Mizuno)
Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN)
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.)
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu)
Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu)
Kazuya Watanabe (Mizuno AC)

Middle Distance
Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko)
Takeshi Kuchino (Team Fujitsu)
Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu)

Long Distance
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin)
Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
Minato Yamashita (Team NTN)

Hurdles
Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima)
Yuta Imazeki (Shibuya Kyoiku H.S. staff)

Jumps
Takashi Eto (Tsukuba Univ.)
Shinichiro Shimono (Team Kyudenko)
Hiromi Takahari (Hitachi ICT)
Ryo Tanaka (Kansai Gakuin Univ.)
Wataru Yazawa (Hosei Univ.)

Throws
Ken Arai (77 Bank)
Yuya Koriki (Tottori AS)
Hiroshi Noguchi (Gunma Alsok Guard System)

Decathlon
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)

Women

Sprints
Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko)
Asami Chiba (Team Toho Ginko)
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC)
Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.)
Saori Kitakaze (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC)
Mayumi Watanabe (Team Toho Ginko)

Middle Distance
Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko)

Long Distance
Yoshika Arai (Team Edion)
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo)
Misato Horie (Team Noritz)
Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki)

Hurdles
Ayako Kimura (Team Edion)
Manami Kira (Chuo Univ.)
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC)
Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.)

Jumps
Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC)
Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko)
Megumi Nakada (Ibaraki Myotomo AC)
Saeko Okayama (Hiroshima JOC)
Kanae Tatsuta (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.)

Throws
Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo)
Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.)
Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiku Univ.)
Yukiko Shirai (Saga T&F Assoc.)

Heptathlon
Chie Kiriyama (Chukyo Univ.)
Fumie Takehara (Team Hasegawa Taiiku Shisetsu)

6th East Asian Games Japanese National Team
Tianjin, China, Oct. 2013
click here for complete team roster

Men

Sprints
Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.)
Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.)
Naoki Kobayashi (Tokai Univ.)
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.)
Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.)
Kengo Yamasaki (Nihon Univ.)

Middle Distance
Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.)
Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.)

Long Distance
Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu)
Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku)
Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.)

Hurdles
Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo Univ.)
Keisuke Nozawa (Waseda Univ.)
Hiroyuki Sato (Hitachi Kasei)
Wataru Yazawa (Hosei Univ.)

Jumps
Shoichi Matsushita (Tsukuba Univ.)
Kota Minemura (Tsukuba Univ.)
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno)
Yuhi Oiwa (Team Monteroza)
Naoto Tobe (Tsukuba Univ.)
Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.)

Throws
Roderick Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.)
Satoshi Hatase (Gunma Alsok Guard System)
Ryota Kashimura (Nihon Univ.)
Yuya Koriki (Tottori AS)
Yuji Tsutsumi (Kokushikan Univ.)

Decathlon
Akihiko Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)

Walks
Isamu Fujisawa (Alsok)
Eiki Takahashi (Iwate Univ.)

Women

Sprints
Anna Doi (Saitama Sakae H.S.)
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno)
Akane Kimura (Osaka Seikei Univ.)
Miho Shingu (Higashi Osaka Univ.)
Yuki Tamura (Iwate Univ.)
Saki Torihara (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.)

Middle Distance
Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.)
Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.)

Long Distance
Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku)
Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
Yuko Shimizu (Sekisui Kagaku)

Hurdles
Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko)
Airi Ito (Team Sumitomo Denko)
Haruka Shibata (Mizuno AC)
Eriko Soma (Tsukuba Univ.)

Jumps
Yurina Hiraka (Hokusho Univ.)
Yuki Mimura (Mizuno AC)
Tamaka Shimizu (Chuo Univ.)
Kanae Tatsuta (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.)
Mei Yamane (Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ.)

Throws
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.)
Chihiro Shigeyama (Kokushikan Univ.)
Ai Shikimoto (Kokushikan Univ.)
Mika Takekawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)

Heptathlon
Chie Kiriyama (Chukyo Univ.)

Walks
Kumiko Okada (Rikkyo Univ.)
Hiroi Maeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, June 10, 2013

26 Names Added to Japanese World Championships Team

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130610-00000001-spnavi-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At a Tokyo-area press conference on June 10, the Japanese Federation announced 26 more names for the Japanese national team for this summer's Moscow World Championships which kick off August 10.  On the men's side, sprinters Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.), Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) and Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) feature in the lineup.  Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) leads the women's additions after lapping the entire field in the women's 10000 m at the National Championships over the weekend.  Women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and 200 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) were also among those chosen.

In addition to the marathon and racewalk teams previously announced on April 25, the newly announced members bring the national team up to 41 athletes including 8 national record holders.  More athletes may be added pending the outcome of July's 20th anniversary Asian Games in Pune, India.

2013 World Championships Japanese National Team

Men

Sprints
Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) 100 m SB/PB: 10.01
Ryota Yamagata (Keio University) 100 m SB/PB: 10.07
Shota Iizuka (Chuo University) 200 m SB/PB: 20.21
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) 200 m SB/PB: 20.42
Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN) 200 m SB/PB: 20.46
Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin) 200 m SB: 20.48 / PB: 20.42
Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) SB: 45.47 / PB: 45.16

10000 m
Suguru Osako (Waseda University) SB/PB: 27:38.31
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) SB: 27:39.50 / PB: 27:38.25
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) SB: 27:52.79 / PB: 27:40.69

400 m Hurdles
Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) SB/PB: 48.41
Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) SB/PB: 49.31
Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo University) SB: 49.47 / PB: 49.46

Pole Vault
Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo University) SB/PB: 5.71 m
Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) SB: 5.72 m / PB: 5.83 m - NR
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) SB/PB: 5.70 m

Throws
Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) hammer throw SB: 78.71 m / PB: 84.86 m - NR
Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) javelin throw: SB/PB: 85.96 m

Decathlon
Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) SB: 7824 / PB: 8037 - NR

Marathon
Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) SB/PB: 2:08:00
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) SB/PB: 2:08:14
Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) SB/PB: 2:08:24
Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) SB/PB: 2:08:35
Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) SB: 2:08:51 / PB: 2:08:12

Walks
Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) 20 km SB/PB: 1:18:34
Takumi Saito (Toyo Univ.) 20 km SB/PB: 1:20:05
Takayuki Tanii (Team Sagawa Express) 50 km SB: 3:44:25 / PB: 3:43:56
Hirooki Arai (SDF Academy) 50 km SB/PB: 3:47:08
Koichiro Morioka (Team Fujitsu) 50 km SB: 3:50:51 / PB: 3:43:14

Women

Sprints
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) 100 m SB: 11.34 / PB: 11.21 - NR - 200 m SB: 23.12 / PB: 22.89 - NR

Long Distance
Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) 5000 m SB/PB: 15:21.57
Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Entertainment) 10000 m SB/PB: 30:59.19

Hurdles
Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) 100 mH SB/PB: 13.02
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) 400 mH SB: 55.85 / PB: 55.34 - NR

High Jump
Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen AC) SB/PB: 1.92 m

Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) SB/PB: 62.83 m - NR

Marathon
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) SB/PB: 2:23:34
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) SB: 2:24:05 / PB: 2:19:12 - NR
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) SB/PB: 2:24:21

Walks
Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu) 20 km SB: 1:30:45 / PB: 1:29:11
Masumi Fuchise (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) 20 km SB: 1:38:18 / PB: 1:28:03 - NR

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Iizuka and Kishimoto Set Places on Moscow Team on Final Day of Japanese National Championships

by Brett Larner

2010 World Junior Championships men's 200 m gold medalist Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) and London 400 m hurdles Olympian Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) joined the small ranks of athletes to earn guaranteed places on the Japanese team for the Moscow World Championships, winning their events with A-standard times on the final day of the 2013 Japanese National Track and Field Championships.

Iizuka led five men under the 20.52 A-standard, winning in 20.31 (+0.9) to secure his position.  Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN) ran a PB 20.46 in 2nd and Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) clocked 20.48 for 3rd, both putting themselves into solid consideration for the team.  Kishimoto had a mid-race scare from the ascendant Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) who overtook him on the back curve only to fall victim to Kishimoto's closing speed.  Kishimoto took 1st in 49.08 with Fueki 2nd in an A-standard PB 49.31, like Kobayashi and Takase getting onto the shortlist for Moscow team membership.

Three other events saw athletes win with B-standard times, putting them into team contention pending consideration by the Federation bureaucratic machine.  In the women's 5000 m, Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) took the national title after finishing 2nd to Kenyan pacer (yes, Kenyan pacers in a National Championship race) Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.), her 15:21.73 getting her under 15:24.00 B-standard for the first time.  Wanjugu was a step ahead in 15:21.57, while the top four Japanese women all recorded new bests. Onishi's teammate Riko Matsuzaki, the fastest Japanese woman of 2013 heading into nationals, took 3rd after taking over the lead position when Wanjugu and secondary Kenyan pacer Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) fell behind the target pace in the third km.

National record holders Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) and Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) took their events unchallenged, Fukushima running 23.25 in the women's 200 m and Murofushi throwing 76.42 in the men's hammer.  For Murofushi it was an almost unthinkable 19th-straight national title.  Here's to number 20.

Noteworthy for not making the team was men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokote (Team Fujitsu), the only Japanese man holding the B-standard.  Yokote fell victim to teamwork from Nihon University's Jun Mitake and Sho Kawamoto, Mitake pushing the pace early before Kawamoto took over at halfway.  Yokote waited until the final curve to kick past Kawamoto, but the younger collegiate held on to cross the line over a half-second ahead of Yokote, all but certainly eliminating Yokote from national team consideration.  Also noteworthy was the women's 3000 mSC, where national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) suffered a bad fall face-first into a barrier late in the race and was a DNF.  Yoshika Arai (Team Edion) took the national title in 9:58.22.

The most exciting finish of the day came in the men's 5000 m, where all-but-forgotten former Komazawa University ace Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) held off 10000 m collegiate record holder Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) by just 0.06 for the win in 13:49.57.  Hoshi pushed a long surge to the finish, Yoroizaka closing only in the final 50 m with a stunning sprint.  Both runners almost fell as they leaned from several strides out, Hoshi's momentum carrying him across the line first.  Former national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) was two seconds back in 3rd, doubling a day after finishing 8th in the 10000 m.

A complete World Championships team lineup announcement is due up from the Federation shortly.  Check back soon for more details.

97th Japanese National Track and Field Championships Day Three
Ajinomoto Stadium, Chofu, Tokyo, 6/9/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:21.57
2. Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:21.73 - PB
3. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:26.05 - PB
4. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:29.85 - PB
5. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:31.45 - PB
6. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 15:35.44
7. Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) - 15:39.45
8. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:45.56
9. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 15:46.38
10. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:49.47

Men's 5000 m
1. Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 13:49.57
2. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:49.63
3. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:51.13
4. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:52.02
5. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:54.06
6. Wataru Ueno (Team Honda) - 13:54.60
7. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:54.75
8. Takaya Iwasaki (DeNA RC) - 13:54.89
9. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 13:57.43
10. Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:58.10

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Yoshika Arai (Team Edion) - 9:58.22
2. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 10.04.07
3. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 10:06.22
DNF - Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC)

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 4:02.32
2. Yasunari Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 4:02.89
3. Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:03.09

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 4:16.17
2. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:17.76 - PB
3. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:18.08 - PB

Men's 800 m Final
1. Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 1:47.43
2. Masato Yokote (Team Fujitsu) - 1:47.96
3. Takeshi Kuchino (Team Fujitsu) - 1:48.72

Women's 800 m Final
1. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 2:05.30
2. Miho Tanaka (Nittai Univ.) - 2:05.38
3. Akari Kishikawa (Team Hasegawa) - 2:06.01

Men's 400 mH Final
1. Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) - 49.08
2. Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) - 49.31 - PB
3. Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo Univ.) - 49.57

Women's 400 mH Final
1. Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 56.62
2. Manami Kira (Chuo Univ.) - 57.15 - PB
3. Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) - 57.28

Men's 200 m Final (+0.9)
1. Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) - 20.31
2. Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 20.46 - PB
3. Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 20.48

Women's 200 m Final (+0.5)
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 23.25
2. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Toho Ginko) - 24.02
3. Yuki Tamura (Iwate Univ.) - 24.06

Men's 110 mH (+1.3)
1. Wataru Yazawa (Hosei Univ.) - 13.59
2. Hiroyuki Sato (Team Hitachi Kasei) - 13.61
3. Yutaro Furukawa (Team Kojima Press) - 13.66

Men's Hammer Throw
1. Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) - 76.42 m
2. Hiroshi Noguchi (Team Gunma Alsok Guard) - 70.11 m
3. Ryota Kashimura (Nihon Univ.) - 67.07 m

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sato Over Osako, Yamagata Over Kiryu, Murakami Over Dean, Shimura Over Kimura: Japanese Nationals Day Two

by Brett Larner

Day Two of the 2013 Japanese National Track and Field Championships was packed with great one-on-one matchups as the country's best went after positions on the Moscow World Championships team.

In the men's 10000 m, the pace faded after starting out on track for a national record thanks to eventual last-place finisher Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku).  #4-ranked Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) took over from Okamoto after falling at 3000 m, but the pace continued to slip.  The only two A-standard men, defending champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) reeled it out to a sprint finish for the second year in a row, and once again Sato proved the stronger over the final 50 m as he secured his place with a slower-than-expected 28:24.94 win to Osako's 28:25.84 runner-up finish. 2011's fastest Japanese 10000 m runner, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) took 3rd, but absent an A-standard mark he will stay home come August.

The men's javelin saw a great back-and-forth contest between 2009 Berlin World Championships bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and defending national champion Roderick Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.), alternating the lead position with each successive throw.  Murakami came out on top with a B-standard throw of 81.04 to Dean's sub-par 78.73, but with both have surpassed the Federation's special qualifying mark of 84.27 earlier this season they are each guaranteed a spot on the Moscow team.

The men's 100 m was the main draw of the evening for the 17000 spectators attending the Championships thanks to high school sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) up against London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.).  As in the heats, Kiryu's start was rocky and left with a gap he could not make up.  Yamagata took the win in 10.11 (+0.7), Kiryu next but far back in 10.25.  As in the javelin, both join the Moscow team, Yamagata's A-standard win and Kiryu's having met the Federation special qualifying standard of 10.01 earlier in the season getting them into the fold.


An unexpected highlight of the day came in the women's 100 m hurdles.  Lone B-standard woman and favorite Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) ran a PB and meet record 13.03, but out of nowhere independent Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) ran a PB 13.02 to beat her for the record, and having won in a B-standard time she now stands first in line for national team selection.

B-standard athletes won two other events to give themselves a shot at national team selection.  Perpetual men's 400 m champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) added another title to his collection with a 45.56 win, while women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) won easily in 11.41.

The other unexpected highlight of the day came in the women's 400 m, where unknown high schooler Haruka Sugiura (Hamamatsu Municipal H.S.) ran a nearly two-second PB of 52.52, a new junior national record, for the win.  Sugiura fell just short of the 52.35 B-standard, but with plenty of time ahead of her she is now another young Japanese athlete to watch over coming years.

The Japanese National Track and Field Championships wrap up with tomorrow's third day of competition.  JRN will once again be on-site to cover the meet live.

97th Japanese National Track and Field Championships Day Two
Ajinomoto Stadium, Chofu, Tokyo, 6/8/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:24.94
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 28:25.84
3. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:27.00
4. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:27.69
5. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:27.73
6. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 28:29.36
7. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:31.50
8. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 28:34.67
9. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:36.89
10. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:42.85

Women's 400 m Final
1. Haruka Sugiura (Hamamatsu Municipal H.S.) - 52.52 - NJR
2. Sayaka Oki (Niijima Gakuen H.S.) - 53.17 - PB
3. Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) - 53.56

Men's 400 m Final
1. Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.56
2. Kengo Yamazaki (Nihon Univ.) - 46.00
3. Hiroyuki Nakano (Aichi T&F Assoc.) - 46.23

Women's 100 m Final +0.0
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.41
2. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Toho Ginko) - 11.62
3. Anna Doi (Saitama Sakae H.S.) - 11.74

Men's 100 m Final +0.7
1. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.11
2. Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) - 10.25
3. Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 10.28

Women's 100 mH Final
1. Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) - 13.02 - MR, PB
2. Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) - 13.03 - PB
3. Airi Ito (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 13.27

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 81.04 m
2. Roderick Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.) - 78.73 m
3. Yuya Koriki (Tottori AS) - 77.84 m

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

National Championships Day Two Preview

by Brett Larner

Following the women's 10000 m meet record set yesterday by Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) joining her on the Moscow World Championships team, the 97th Japanese National Track and Field Championships continue today at western Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium.  Below is a quick guide to some of the day's best events, with the men's 10000 m, 100 m and javelin leading the way. JRN will be on-site to cover the meet live.

Men's 10000 m - June 8
There's been some momentum in the men's 10000 m this year, with three collegiates going sub-28 and two men hitting the 27:40.00 World Championships A-standard.  All of them are on the list for today's 10000 m, led by Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) in 27:38.31 and defending national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) with a 27:38.25 best and a 27:39.50 mark this year.  Sato outkicked Osako for the win and an Olympic spot last year, and as the only two men with an A-standard mark they will be battling again for the top two positions to make the Moscow team.  Hoping to join them are sub-27:45 men Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), sub-28 twins Keita and Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.), and seven other men with recent sub-28 times.  More of a stretch from B-standard territory are a top trio from 2012 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University, Shogo Nakamura, Shinobu Kubota and Kenta Murayama.  Miyawaki and Ugachi are the closest by far, but both have been shaky this season and will need excellent peaking to get under the A.  The Shitara twins appeared to have plenty in reserve when they ran sub-28 a month ago, but having run near 28:30 at the Kanto Regionals meet only a week later you have to wonder whether they have recovered enough for another hard 10000 m.

Men's 100 m - June 8
Likely to gain the most attention overseas, the men's 100 m final features a head-to-head matchup between two of Japan's best young sprinters, London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) and, in his National Championships debut, high school star Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.).  Both have cleared the 10.15 World Championships A-standard and, like Osako and Sato in the 10000 m, will be battling for the top two spots. With Kiryu knocking on a national record and sub-10 it could be an historic race. Also making the final is Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu).

Women's 100 m - June 8
The women's 100 m final is a one-woman show for national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC).  Fukushima should be unchallenged for the win, but currently holding only an 11.34 B-standard mark she will need to hit 11.28 to be guaranteed a World Championships position.

Women's 100 mH and 400 mH - June 8
Likewise in the women's hurdles, Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) is the only woman in the 100 mH field with a B-standard mark, having run a PB of 13.04 this season, but will need to find a 12.94 A-standard time to be sure that she will be going to Moscow.  In the 400 mH, Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) has the B-standard and has run an A-standard 55.34 in her career, but she will have to fight off rival Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko), right on the edge of a B-standard mark this season, for the win.  A win by Aoki slower than the 56.55 B-standard time would likely keep Kubokura off the Moscow team.

Men's Javelin - June 8
Another head-to-head matchup between two A-standard men, 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and college star Roderick Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.).  Dean's emergence over the last two years has spurred the veteran Murakami on to continued development, with Murakami throwing a PB 85.96 m this season.  At last year's Nationals Dean threw a meet record 84.03 m to surpass Murakami and earn an Olympic spot, but with his best currently standing at 84.28 m it will likely take another meet record for him to defend his title.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, June 7, 2013

Niiya Tears It Up With Solo 31:06.67 National Championships Meet Record

by Brett Larner
photos by Mika Tokairin
videos by okukon

Reaching all-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m with a 30:59.19 at the London Olympics, last year's 5000 m women's national champion Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Ent.) took her first 10000 m national title in aggressive style June 7 at the first day of the Japanese National Track and Field Championships, lapping the entire field as she soloed a meet record 31:06.67 to secure a place on the Moscow World Championships team and earn the #2 spot in the world so far this year, less than two seconds behind Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan's 31:04.85.

Running in the lead pack through 3000 m in 9:32, Niiya dropped a 3:00 split for the fourth km to blow the race apart and go it alone.  Pushing on, she ran alone right on national record pace for the final 7000 m split, picking off the rest of the field one by one and, in the home straight, kicking past eventual 2nd, 3rd and 4th-place finishers Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku), Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) and Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) to finish more than 400 m up on the rest of the field.  Her performance was all the more impressive in that it was her first major appearance since a rare bad run at this year's World XC Championships.  As the only Japanese woman to currently hold an A-standard 10000 m time she may be alone in Moscow, but based on today in a faster race the long-standing national record of 30:48.89 set by Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) in 2003 is surely a target.

London Olympian Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) was the only other athlete to guarantee himself a place in Moscow, winning the men's pole vault in an A-standard 5.70 m ahead of national record holder Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) who only cleared a B-standard 5.60 m.  Women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) won again in a B-standard 60.41 m to give herself a chance of selection for the Moscow team.  Behind her, Tsukuba University's Kiho Kuze set a women's national junior record of 58.98 m.  In the men's 3000 mSC, Minato Yamashita (Team NTN) outran top-ranked men Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) to win a PB of 8:33.57, unfortunately missing the B-standard by less than two seconds.



In qualifying rounds, London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) earned himself the top-seeded spot in the men's 100 m final, winning Heat One in 10.14 (+0.3).  High school sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) won Heat Two in 10.28 (+0.9), the next fastest time in either heat after Yamagata's.  Beijing Olympics 4x100 m bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) made it in to the final in 10.33 behind Kiryu, but London Olympian and past national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) faltered and failed to advance beyond Heat One.



Women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) easily made it to the final seeded #1 in 11.38 (+1.9), but her longtime rival Momoko Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) was nohwere to be seen, 6th of seven in Heat Two in 12.02 (+0.2).  Long ranked #1 nationally in the men's 400 m, Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) likewise easily went to the final maintaining his rank after running 46.57 to win Heat Three. Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) had a busy afternoon, advancing to the final in both the women's 400 m and 400 mH, while men's 400 mH favorite Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) had no trouble clearing his heat as he won in a conservative 50.93, the slowest winning time of the event's four heats.

The Japanese National Track and Field Championships continue Saturday and Sunday.

97th Japanese National Track and Field Championships Day One
Ajinomoto Stadium, Chofu, Tokyo, 6/7/13
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 31:06.67 - MR
2. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:16.58
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 32:17.17
4. Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:20.87
5. Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:37.10
6. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 32:37.65
7. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:39.90
8. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:41.82
9. Yuka Inami (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 33:00.21
10. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 33:41.25

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Minato Yamashita (Team NTN) - 8:33.57 - PB
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:33.82
3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:36.17

Men's Pole Vault
1. Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) - 5.70 m
2. Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) - 5.60 m
3. Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - 5.50 m

Women's Long Jump
1. Saeko Okayama (Hiroshima JOC) - 6.59 m (-0.3) - PB
2. Sachiko Masumi (Team Kyudenko) - 6.54 m (+0.1)
3. Yurina Hiraka (Hokusho Univ.) - 6.32 m (+0.0)

Women's Discus
1. Ai Shikimoto (Kokushikan Club) - 52.86 m
2. Ayumi Takahashi (Tsukuba Univ.) - 52.74 m
3. Marika Tokai (I most AC) - 50.28 m - PB

Women's Javelin
1. Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 60.41 m
2. Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) - 58.98 - NJR
3. Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiku Univ.) - 56.22 m

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photos (c) 2013 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved

National Track and Field Championships Start Today

by Brett Larner

The 2013 Japanese National Track and Field Championships kick off today at western Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium, three days of top-level domestic action with places on the national team for August's Moscow World Championships at stake.  The Federation set multi-tiered standards for Worlds qualification this year.  Any athlete with an A-standard mark who wins their event will automatically be on the team.  Likewise for any athlete clearing an ambitious set of special qualifying marks, in many cases better than the Japanese national records, and finishes in the top eight.  Any other A or B-standard athlete who makes the top three will also be given consideration.

Below is a quick guide to the Day One finals with the best head-to-head competitions and the most people likely to go on to Moscow.  Click here for complete entry lists.  JRN will be on-site to cover the meet each day, so check back for detailed coverage as the weekend progresses.

Women's 10000 m - June 7
Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) ran 30:59.19 at last summer's London Olympics and comes into Nationals as the only woman with a valid A-standard.  Having broken the Federation's special qualifying mark of 31:12.79 she is guaranteed a place in Moscow if she finishes in the top eight.  That should be a given, but she has been out of competition since a disastrous run at this year's World Cross Country Championships and is a large question mark.  Likewise for junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno), on the list with a best of 31:10.02 but out of sight since last year's Olympic Trials.  Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) looks like the favorite, just missing the A-standard at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in 31:45.29 but coming in strong.  1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) also holds a B-standard mark and could be in competition for a place if she is at full fitness after returning from training with American coach James Li.  Likewise for Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku), holder of an A-standard 31:43.25 best but entering Nationals just off the B-standard in 32:07.70.  37-year-old Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) is the only other woman in the field to have ever broken the A-standard but holds a season best of only 32:20.98.

Men's 3000 mSC - June 7
No Japanese men have hit the 8:32.00 World Championships B-standard, but past national champions Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) and Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) have both improved their bests this season and are just a step away, Shinoto at 8:32.79 and Takeda at 8:33.48.  A good one-on-one race could see the victor make it.

Men's Pole Vault - June 7
Three men, Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu), Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) and Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) have hit the 5.70 m A-standard mark, and with their nearest competition at only the 5.40 m level all three should make the national team if they go 1-2-3.

Women's Javelin Throw - June 7
Holding down the women's side of the current golden era of Japanese javelin, Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) set a national record of 62.83 m to clear the A-standard this season.  A top three finish will get her to Moscow, and with the next best competitor, Yuka Sato (Higashi Osaka Univ.), just under the B-standard in 59.22 m there isn't much chance of that not happening.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Naoko Takahashi Makes First Appearance As Federation Executive Board Member

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/471674.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130605-00000060-nksports-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2000 Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi, 41, named to the JAAF's board of directors, took part in a Federation executive board meeting for the first time June 5 in Tokyo.  "I hope that my 23 years of experience in athletics will help to nurture and develop the next generation of junior athletes," she told reporters.  Takahashi made reference to issues of intimidation and sexual harassment in Japanese athletics, saying, "I think there are people who don't have anyone they can talk to and don't know what to do.  I'd like to be there for them, nearby and accessible, someone who could be a friend our female athletes could turn to as if I were an older sister."

She also indicated that she plans to get married before the end of the year.  In march last year she revealed that she was in a relationship with her former trainer and current personal manager, Ko Nishimura, 40.  "We have to finalize our future sooner or later," she said.  "I think we can do it this year."

Also at the meeting, Hiroshi Yokokawa, 65, was officially named director of the executive board.  "I want to make Japanese athletics stronger," he said.  "My goal is to be a director who is always on the scene."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Results

San Diego, U.S.A., 6/2/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:56
2. Georgina Rono (Kenya) - 1:09:03
3. Firehiwot Dado (Ethiopia) - 1:09:46
4. Embet Bedada (Ethiopia) - 1:09:56
5. Paskalia Kipkoech (Kenya) - 1:10:14
6. Asami Kato (Japan/Team Panasonic) - 1:10:49
7. Yuko Watanabe (Japan/Team Edion) - 1:11:40
8. Lidia Simon (Romania) - 1:12:36
9. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 1:15:51
10. Joanne Zeiger (U.S.A.) - 1:16:45

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kawauchi Scores Huge Win on Gravel Road Marathon Course

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130602-1136884.html

translated by Brett Larner

Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the 33rd edition of the Chitose JAL International Marathon June 2 in a course record 2:18:29.  His time improved the course record, set 25 years ago, by one minute and 32 seconds, beating the 2nd-place finisher by more than nine minutes.  With more than 80% of the course consisting of gravel and dirt roads and an elevation difference of more than 150 m Kawauchi more than overcame whatever doubts he may have had about the World Championships.

In May Kawauchi ran five half marathons.  Post-race he told reporters, "My time wasn't bad, but it's been a long time [sic, 6 weeks] since my last marathon so my legs weren't moving well.  I wanted to run a little bit better than this."

33rd Chitose JAL International Marathon
Chitose, 6/2/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:18:29 - CR
2. Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC) - 2:27:50
3. Saeki Makino (Kawaguchi T&F Assoc.) - 2:29:57

Women
1. Miwa Shibuya (SRC 904) - 3:24:18
2. Sayumi Niwa - 3:28:36
3. Masumi Kawabe - 3:32:08