Saturday, November 30, 2013

Akaba, Davila and Watanabe Headline 32nd Running of Sanyo Women's Road Race

http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/feature/sports/other/2013/11/30/20131130225458.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The invited athlete list for Japan's last major road race of the year, the 32nd Sanyo Women's Road Race on Dec. 23 in Okayama, was released by race organisers on Nov. 30. Coinciding with main sponsor Sanyo Newspapers' 135th anniversary, the Yuko Arimori Cup half marathon division at the Sanyo Women's Road Race will for the first time be a selection race for the World Half Marathon Championships national team, with next year's World Half due to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark next March.

Targeting the first three-peat in Sanyo history, 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) heads the invited field along with 2013 Hokkaido Marathon winner Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) and, from overseas, London Olympian Desiree Davila (U.S.A.).  Others in the half  marathon include past World Championships marathoners Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease), 23-year-old local Tenmaya corporate team runners Aki Odagiri and Rei Ohara and veterans Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) and Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz).

In the Kinue Hitomi Cup 10 km division, Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment) lends international quality to help make this year one of the most competitive on record.  Facing here are Tenmaya's 19-year-old great hope, Akari Ota, local Kojokan H.S. graduate Katsuki Suga (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) and former national champion Ritsumeikan University ace Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido).

Akaba has announced that she will retire following January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, making Sanyo one of her final races.  In her absence, other top-placing Japanese athletes in Sanyo will have a chance to earn one of the five places available on the World Half team.  Along with Sanyo, top finishers in last summer's National Championships 10000 m and next February's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships will be given consideration for team nomination.

The race starts and finishes at Concourse Stadium in Okayama.  The half marathon gets underway at 10:00 a.m., with the 10 km division starting at 10:15.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2013 Fukuoka International Marathon Preview

by Brett Larner



Japan’s last top-level marathon of the year takes place this Sunday with the 67th running of the historic Fukuoka International Marathon. In recent weeks Fukuoka has been hit by some high-level withdrawals including 2010 New York City Marathon winner Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia), last year’s Fukuoka runner-up Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) and 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), but with four of last year's top six returning it looks set to be a very close-matched and exciting race up front.

Defending champion Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) returns as the fastest man in the field with the 2:06:58 time he set last year. In his only recent race, the Oct. 27 Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden, Gitau ran 19:21 for 6.60 km to finish only 4th on the stage nearly a minute behind the winner, and with little else to go on he has to be viewed as a question mark coming in to Fukuoka. His strongest competition should be 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC). Mathathi made an abortive marathon debut in Fukuoka last year, looking fine but abruptly dropping out late in the race when he was unable to cope with the momentum of the surge thrown in by Horibata and carried by Gitau. With another year behind him he should be in it for 1st place.  Polish national record holder Henryk Szost is the next-best man on the list with his 2:07:39 at last year’s Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, and with a 2:08:42 for 3rd in Fukuoka last year he should be a solid podium contender.   But if Japan’s big two have anything to say about it that won't be enough for the win.

Those big two are the star independents who have double-handedly revitalized Japanese men's marathoning, Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t). Fujiwara has not run a marathon since jumping into last year’s Fukuoka on a month’s training and subsequently getting injured, but following altitude training in St. Moritz, Switzerland over the summer he was a strong 4th at the Great North Run followed two weeks later by a win at the Hakodate Half Marathon. After Hakodate he suffered some overtraining issues, but since the beginning of November his training has been flawless and he is optimistically predicting a time under his PB of 2:07:48. If he does it he will be only the second Japanese man to break 2:08 more than once and may well have the chance to become the first Japanese man to win Fukuoka since 2005 World Championships bronze medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) back in 2004.

Kawauchi has been off more than on since a disappointing run in the Moscow World Championships marathon, but bracketing a so-so 2:12:29 for 11th at the New York City Marathon were a 59:17 clocking for 20 km, equivalent to the second-fastest half marathon time of his career, and a 1:03:06 half marathon, the fourth-best of his career. Kawauchi has said since the summer that his goal in Fukuoka, his tenth marathon so far this year, is to make the Japanese team for next year’s Asian Games and that he will remove himself from consideration for future World Championships and Olympics teams if he fails. He believes a 2:07:30 will be necessary to get there and has spoken confidently this week of reaching that time.  To make the team he will also have to beat Fujiwara, something he has only ever done twice in his career and only once in a marathon.  Let's hope for a replay of Kawauchi vs. Fujiwara's college roommate Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) at Beppu-Oita last February but one second per km faster.



If there is another Japanese man likely to challenge them it is 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta). Despite holding the then-world record of 1:28:00 for 30 km, Matsumiya struggled in numerous attempts at the marathon between 2006 and 2011, not breaking 2:10 until Tokyo last year where he ran 2:09:28. At this year’s Tokyo Marathon he improved that to 2:09:14, and if he has really learned to put it together he should on paper at least be able to handle Fujiwara and Kawauchi’s mid-2:07 pace and score one for the corporate league's pride.

Skipping last weekend’s Spanish national championships to get into a faster race, Ayad Lamdassem rounds out the sub-2:10 men having set a best of 2:09:28 in London this year after a failed debut attempt in the cold rain of last year’s Lake Biwa. Other possible front-pace contenders include former Nihon University ace Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza), who beat Kawauchi at October’s Takashimadaira 20 km, and Ireland’s Alistair Cragg who looks to complete his first marathon after a string of DNFs.

The Fujiwara-Kawauchi showdown aside, this particular front-pack lineup may not have the star power to excite the marathon world’s fashionistas, but the second pack has enough intrigue to be the kind of well-balanced, multi-faceted race that the Japanese seem to be just about the only ones to have realized makes for something that will appeal to the average TV viewer.  Olympian Reid Coolsaet is back from a broken collarbone to take a shot at the Canadian national record of 2:10:09 set 38 years ago in Fukuoka by the great Jerome Drayton.  Half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) will run his last marathon before retiring, returning to the site where he ran his best of 2:07:13 against the late Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) and a then-unknown Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) in 2007.  A solid pack of 2:11-2:14 men including Wanjiru's great high school-era rival Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin), teammates Takaaki Koda and Satoru Sasaki of Asahi Kasei and Chiharu Takada and Koji Gokaya of Fujiwara's former corporate team JR Higashi Nihon, 2:13 independents Sho Matsumoto and Etsu Miyata who emerged this year from the corporate system to join the growing numbers of marathoners inspired by Fujiwara and Kawauchi to pursue their own careers, and international quartet Andrew Lemoncello (Great Britain), Mark Kenneally (Ireland), Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) and Carlos Trujillo (U.S.A.) will be looking to make the jump up to the golden A-list.  All told it looks like a great race for anyone who appreciates something more than just the latest -est.

The Fukuoka International Marathon will be broadcast live on TV Asahi starting at noon Japan time on Sunday, Dec. 1. Although the race can be seen live with English commentary in some locations, most overseas fans will have to take their chances with watching the race live on Keyhole TV. Some Japanese-language updates may be available via local broadcaster KBC. JRN will also once again cover Fukuoka live via Twitter @JRNLive.

Fukuoka is not the only noteworthy distance racing in Japan.  Also on Sunday in Kyushu is the world's deepest 10 miler, the 38th Kumamoto Kosa 10 Mile Road Race where the best of the corporate leagues not running Fukuoka tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships.  Further north in the general environs of Tokyo is this year's last full edition of the celebrated Nittai University Time Trials track meet, where more top high school, university and corporate men and women will be getting ready for championship ekiden season.  The biggest event outside Fukuoka, though, is Saturday's Hachioji Long Distance Time Trials meet in Tokyo's western suburbs sponsored by the 2013 New Year Ekiden national champion team Konica Minolta.  Hachioji features six heats of 10000 m and one 5000 m heat, with the 10000 m A-heat boasting fifteen of the top Japanese-based Africans led by Olympian Bidan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) and eight Japanese men looking to go under 27:50, most notably all-time Japanese #7 Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota; 27:41.57), former collegiate national record holder Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei; 27:44.30) and, looking to join the list of Japanese collegiates to run 27 minutes this year, 2013 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University aces Shinobu Kubota and Kenta Murayama.  Check back throughout the weekend for coverage of these top-level events alongside Fukuoka.

67th Fukuoka International Marathon
Fukuoka, Dec. 1, 2013
click here for complete field listing

21. Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 2:06:58 (Fukuoka 2012)
68. Atsushi Sato (Japan/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:07:13 (Fukuoka 2007)
3. Henryk Szost (Poland) - 2:07:39 (Biwako 2012)
22. Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 2:07:48 (Tokyo 2012)
23. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul Int'l 2013)
25. Takayuki Matsumiya (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 2:09:14 (Tokyo 2013)
4. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) - 2:09:28 (London 2013)
5. Reid Coolsaet (Canada) - 2:10:55 (Toronto Waterfront 2011)
26. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:11:02 (Tokyo 2013)
62. Takaaki Koda (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:08 (Tokyo 2011)
28. Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:28 (Tokyo 2013)
29. Chiharu Takada (Japan/Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:53 (Tokyo 2013)
66. Koji Gokaya (Japan/Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:12:07 (Biwako 2011)
71. Hironori Arai (Japan/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:27 (Biwako 2011)
61. Yuki Nakamura (Japan/Team Kanebo) - 2:12:52 (Tokyo 2012)
64. Etsu Miyata (Japan/unattached) - 2:13:19 (Nagano 2010)
63. Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
59. Andrew Lemoncello (Great Britain) - 2:13:40 (London 2010)
54. Mark Kenneally (Ireland) - 2:13:55 (Amsterdam 2011)
57. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) - 2:14:10 (New York 2011)
55. Clint Verran (U.S.A.) - 2:14:17 (Chicago 2002)
51. Carlos Trujillo (U.S.A.) - 2:14:21 (Chicago 2012)
65. Yasuyuki Yamamoto (Japan/Team JFE Steel) - 2:14:21 (Biwako 2012)
53. Chia-Che Chang (Taiwan) - 2:16:06 (Pyongyang 2012)
58. Bobby Curtis (U.S.A.) - 2:16:46 (New York 2011)
52. Ben Moreau (Great Britain) - 2:16:46 (London 2010)
56. Brendan Martin (U.S.A.) - 2:22:32a (Boston 2013)

Debut / Shooting for first marathon completion
72. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 58:56a (Great North Run 2011)
7. Alistair Cragg (Ireland) - 1:00:49a (New York Half 2011)
73. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 1:01:06 (Marugame Half 2012)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Yukiko Akaba Announces Retirement Plans

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/11/28/kiji/K20131128007099510.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 28 marathoner Yukiko Akaba (34, Team Hokuren) announced on her blog that she plans to retire following the 33rd edition of the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 26.  That deadline for retirement was set more than a year ago.  "Retiring now doesn't mean I'm just quitting," she said.  "I can't realistically expect to make any more Olympic teams.  If I keep going then eventually I'll just be puttering along without any clear goals.  Not many people will like this decision, but it is a happy occasion and I'm thankful from the heart for all the support I've received.  I will keep giving it my all until Osaka and bring my best performances to every race I have left before that."

Akaba is a graduate of Josai University.  She won the 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon in 1:08:59 and was 3rd at this year's London Marathon in 2:24:43 but was not named to the Moscow World Championships team.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gebremariam and Horibata Withdraw From Fukuoka With Injuries

http://www.asahi.com/articles/SEB201311260038.html
http://www.asahi.com/articles/TKY201311140653.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The organizers of the 67th Fukuoka International Marathon announced on Nov. 26 that feature foreign invited athlete Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia) has withdrawn from Sunday's race with an injury to his left calf.  Gebremariam was the 2010 New York City Marathon champion and went on to run 2:04:53 at the heavily wind-aided 2011 Boston Marathon.  He placed 8th in the 10000 m at the 2012 London Olympics.

Also announced was the withdrawal of domestic elite Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) due to pain in his left knee.  At last year's Fukuoka Horibata ran a PB 2:08:24 to finish 2nd overall as the top Japanese man, qualifying for the 2013 Moscow World Championships marathon.  After suffering a stress fracture in the spring he dropped out of August's World Championships marathon at 13 km after experiencing difficulty.

Previously announced withdrawals include Andrew Carlson (U.S.A.), Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fukushima's Disaster-Hit Kawauchi Village to Rename Main Street in Yuki Kawauchi's Honor at Dec. 8 Running Event

http://www.minpo.jp/news/detail/2013110812011

translated by Brett Larner

Known as Japan's #1 amateur runner, two-time World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will appear in Kawauchi village on Dec. 8 to help launch the town's new Mini-Marathon race. Never giving up and clenching his teeth as he runs with all his strength, Kawauchi resonates with the people of the village as they face the future and take steps forward toward reconstructing from the TEPCO Fukushima #1 Nuclear Reactor disaster.

Mayor Yuko Endo has long shared a sense of affinity with the athlete with the same name as the town under his stewardship, and when he approached the famous marathoner with an invitation to run Kawauchi was quick to accept. "I've always been curious about this town that shares the name of Kawauchi with me," he said.

At 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 8 Kawauchi will give a talk in the Iwananosato area of the town. Afterward, Kawauchi will help launch the Mini-Marathon through the streets around Iwananosato, giving runners in the children's, elementary school, junior high school, high school and open divisions the chance to run with him. Along with commemorative photos with Kawauchi, the event will include the chance to help paint a giant mural with him on panels made with genuine Kawauchi village wood. The main road making up the race course will also be renamed "Yuki Kawauchi Commemorative Road" in his honor.

Organizers hope the event will attract participants from a wide area. Mayor Endo was optimistic, saying, "Kawauchi running here will help give us all the strength to face reconstruction of our lives and future."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nineteen Collegiates Go Sub-29 at Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials

by Brett Larner
video courtesy of Ekiden News



Just a week after record-setting depth at the Ageo City Half Marathon, where seventeen men from Kanto-region universities broke 1:03, most for the first time, more records fell at the Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, site of the future 2020 Olympic Stadium.  Like Ageo, the Kanto meet serves to build toward final team selection for the biggest event in Japanese sports, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. Spurred on by the drive to make their schools' Hakone teams and by scholarships on offer to any university man who ran a sub-29 PB at the meet, last year fifteen collegiate men broke 29 in the A-heat.  This year the number was up to a stunning eighteen, led by Takuya Fujikawa of 2012 Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University in 28:35.72.

Fujikawa and Kenyan Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) who ran in the lead group most of the way in Ageo last weekend, ran together at an ambitious pace up front while a large pack stayed on a steady 28:40 pace.  In the final 1000 m the pack moved to try to catch Fujikawa and Muthee, Kazuma Tashiro (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) nearly closing the gap to Muthee but Fujikawa getting away on a strong last kick.  Fujikawa's time of 28:35.72 was a PB by over 45 seconds and led four Aoyama Gakuin men under 29, all in PBs.  A nineteenth man joined the sub-29 ranks in Heat 14, where Shintaro Miwa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) unexpectedly ran 28:59.67 for the win, his first time under 29.

Again this year Kanto organizers added a university women's 10000 m to the timetable. Largely a dual race between 2013 National University Women's Ekiden Championships 2nd and 3rd placers Daito Bunka University and Matsuyama University, Daito Bunka athletes swept the top three spots led by Yuko Iwata in 33:14.88.  The top runner from a school other than the above two was Kana Kurosawa of Ibaraki University, 7th in 33:35.75.

All told the meet was another sign of the rapid rate of growth both depth and quality in Kanto Region university men's athletics that is transforming Japanese men's distance running.  With this generation of university athletes set to reach their peak at the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the next seven years should be very interesting to say the least.

2013 Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials
National Stadium, Tokyo, 11/23/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 16
1. Takuya Fujikawa (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:35.72 - PB
2. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 28:37.53
3. Kazuma Tashiro (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:38.81 - PB
4. Taketo Kumazaki (Teikyo Univ.) - 28:40.20 - PB
5. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:41.48 - PB
6. Kenshi Sawano (Senshu Univ.) - 28:41.85 - PB
7. Ikki Takeuchi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:42.71 - PB
8. Ryu Takaku (Toyo Univ.) - 28:42.78 - PB
9. Kengo Namioka (Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:43.44 - PB
10. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:44.29 - PB
11. Kazuki Uemura (Toyo Univ.) - 28:44.81 - PB
12. Tsukasa Koyama (Teikyo Univ.) - 28:45.24 - PB
13. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:46.02 - PB
14. Mizuho Tanaka (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:48.24 - PB
15. Shunsuke Ishida (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:48.62 - PB
16. Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 28:50.23 - PB
17. Takahiro Yagihara (Teikyo Univ.) - 28:50.33 - PB
18. Takafumi Kikuchi (Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:54.17 - PB
19. Kenta Muto (Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:00.67 - PB
20. Shuji Matsuo (Senshu Univ.) - 29:01.99 - PB

Men's 10000 m Heat 14
1. Shintaro Miwa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 28:59.67 - PB
2. Daiji Kawai (Reitaku Univ.) - 29:17.68
3. Kenta Nakayama (Senshu Univ.) - 29:19.44 - PB
4. Yusuke Nakayama (Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:20.01 - PB
5. Keita Nagura (Toyo Univ.) - 29:20.64 - PB

Women's 10000 m
1. Yuko Iwata (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:14.88
2. Fueka Kimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:16.45
3. Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:16.76
4. Anna Matsuda (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:20.38
5. Natsumi Fujiwara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:25.57
6. Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:33.85
7. Kana Kurosawa (Ibaraki Univ.) - 33:35.75
8. Hiromi Hikida (Nittai Univ.) - 33:39.55
9. Marie Yamakami (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:44.06
10. Eri Utsunomiya (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:57.97

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kawauchi 1:04:44 Course Record at Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon

by Brett Larner



A week after running 1:03:06, the fourth-best time of his career, at the Ageo City Half Marathon, indy ace Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in action with a 1:04:44 course record at the 4th edition of the Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon in Kawagoe, Saitama.  Running against a pack of second-tier men from Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University, Kawauchi was alone by halfway to win by more than a minute over Toyo's Takaki Omuro, whose PB of 1:05:54 for 2nd improved on the 1:06:28 PB he had set a week earlier in Ageo. 

Kawauchi's time took 49 seconds off the record set last year by fellow independent Sho Matsumoto and put him in good position for next weekend's Fukuoka International Marathon, where Kawauchi will shoot for 2:07 and a place on the Japanese team for next year's Asian Games marathon.

4th Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon
Kawagoe, Saitama, 11/24/13

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:44 - CR
2. Takaki Omuro (Toyo Univ.) - 1:05:54 - PB
3. Tatsuya Shimizu (Toyo Univ.) - 1:05:58
4. Koji Yoshimura (Toyo Univ.) - 1:06:36
5. Kenji Takano (Toyo Univ.) - 1:07:01

Women
1. Konoka Azumi - 1:29:37

Maeda and Tanui Lead Kyudenko to Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden Course Record

by Brett Larner

Regional qualification for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships wrapped up Nov. 23 in Fukuoka with the 50th edition of the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden.  Driven by a mid-race stage win by this year's fastest Japanese marathoner, 2:08:00 man Kazuhiro Maeda, and a new stage record by Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui, the Kyudenko team covered the seven-stage, 78.8 km ekiden in a course record 3:50:36 to take the win over favorites Asahi Kasei and Toyota Kyushu.

Strong in the early going, the relatively minor Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki and Kurosaki Harima teams led for the first three stages, Kyudenko close behind but Asahi Kasei and Toyota Kyushu, running without its four best men including New York City Marathon 6th-placer Masato Imai, getting off to a slow start.  Down 1 second on Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki and 46 seconds on leader Kurosaki Harima at the handoff, Maeda went to work on the 12.2 km Fourth Stage, running 27 seconds faster than the next-best man to pass both teams and open a 14-second lead.  Further back, Maeda's Moscow World Championships marathon teammate Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) ran 35:26, the fourth-fastest time on the stage.

Picking up the tasuki from Maeda, Tanui lopped a stunning 27 seconds off the record for the 9.2 km Fifth Stage, running 24:52 to give Kyudenko a comfortable lead of 1 minute over Kurosaki Harima.  Toyota Kyushu's Titus Waroru was the next fastest on the stage in 25:32, moving the team into the top three for the first time while Asahi Kasei remained stalled in 4th.

Asahi Kasei got down to business on the 9.1 km Sixth Stage as Komazawa University alum Takuya Fukatsu ran a stage record 26:13 to overtake Toyota Kyushu for 3rd and coming within 20 second of 2nd-place Kurosaki Harima, but despite the advance Kyudenko's lead over 2nd grew to 1:29 after a solid run from Kazuaki Iwami.  Asahi Kasei anchor Yuki Iwai won the 14.2 km Seventh Stage in 41:45, overtaking Kurosaki Harima anchor Junichi Tsubouchi for 2nd and closing the gap to Kyudenko but out of range of the win as Kyudenko's Akiyuki Iwanaga brought the team home to the course record.  Kurosaki Harima held off Toyota Kyushu for 3rd by 10 seconds, both teams over two minutes behind the winners.  Toyota Kyushu's results were strong given the absence of its best men, but the important question is whether its top four were all held in reserve to rest up for New Year's Day and give the younger team members more corporate league experience or whether the team has been hit by a string of injuries among its best men. With Toyota Kyushu a potential winner at the New Year Ekiden the national championships' outcome will be heavily influenced by the answer to that question.

50th Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Fukuoka-Kitakyushu, 11/23/13
16 teams, 7 stages, 78.8 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top seven qualify for New Year Ekiden national championships
1. Kyudenko - 3:50:36 - CR
2. Asahi Kasei - 3:51:48
3. Kurosaki Harima - 3:53:05
4. Toyota Kyushu - 3:53:15
5. Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki - 3:54:12
6. Yasukawa Denki - 3:55:19
7. Nishitetsu - 3:56:36
8. Togami Denki - 4:05:35

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (13.4 km) - Ryo Kiname (Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 40:25
Second Stage (10.2 km) - Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) - 31:17
Third Stage (10.5 km) - Takashi Goto (Nishitetsu) - 29:05
Fourth Stage (12.2 km) - Kazuhiro Maeda (Kyudenko) - 34:46
Fifth Stage (9.2 km) - Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 24:52 - CR
Sixth Stage (9.1 km) - Takuya Fukatsu (Asahi Kasei) - 26:13 - CR
Seventh Stage (14.2 km) - Yuki Iwai (Asahi Kasei) - 41:45

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kenya 2:03:59 CR at International Chiba Ekiden

by Brett Larner
photo courtesy of STITCHrunner


The 2013 International Chiba Ekiden lived up to expectations with a dynamic race that saw two-time defending champion Kenya make it three in a row in a course record 2:03:59 for the six-stage, 42.195 km course with a team made up of three men and three women. Kenya led wire to wire, but despite a couple of scares from 2012 runner-up Japan mid-race, Kenya managed to build a lead of over three minutes on the final two stages to seal the record-setting win.  Japan again took the silver spot in 2:07:13, with last year's 4th-placer Russia moving up to 3rd just a few meters back in 2:07:22.  The 2012 bronze medal U.S.A. team spent much of the race in the back half of the field, advancing to 5th on the anchor stage but outrun by 28 seconds by a team made up of the world's best collegiate distance runners, the Japanese University Select Team, 4th in 2:08:03.

2010 World XC champion Joseph Ebuya (Kenya) led the 5.0 km men's First Stage off a slow first lap of the track, accompanied on either shoulder by Japan's top two collegiate runners, Komazawa University's Kenta Murayama (Univ. Select Team) and Waseda University's Suguru Osako (Japan). A mid-stage change of gear dropped Osako, and when Murayama ran into trouble late in the leg Ebuya pulled away to take the stage best in 13:31.  Murayama was run down by perpetual Chiba First Stage top three man Egor Nikolaev (Russia) but came back with his characteristic last kick to take second on the stage in 13:40 by a stride over Nikolaev.

Kenya's Caroline Nyakagwa started the 5.0 km Second Stage strong, but behind her 2013 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Ayuko Suzuki gave the kind of run that showed why she is the world's #1 collegiate long distance woman, running Nyakagwa down and pulling up to her shoulder.  Nyakagwa responded and turned on a long surge to reopen Kenya's lead to six seconds, but Suzuki, a student at Nagoya University, took the fastest time on the stage from her by three seconds in 15:31.  The surprise of the stage came a ways back as unheralded Moeno Nakamura (Chiba Pref.) ran 15:36, the third-best time on the stage, to advance Chiba to 3rd overall.  Japan's Risa Kikuchi faltered, dropping to 5th behind the strong Canada team.

Starting the 10.0 km Third Stage with a six-second lead 19-year-old Kenyan Daniel Muteti ran steadily, finishing with an eight-second lead.  Behind him came the highlight of this year's Chiba, as Japan's top man in the Moscow World Championships 10000 m, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan) started in 5th three seconds ahead of last year's Chiba First Stage winner Zane Robertson (New Zealand).  Robertson immediately closed the gap, clocking 2:33 for the first kilometer with Ugachi responding in 2:36.  Working together, the pair devoured the Canadian, Chiba and University teams, going through halfway in 13:40 and 13:43 to leader Muteti's 14:06 split.  Pushing on, they came to the exchange zone eight seconds behind, crossing the line side by side and both breaking the course record with Robertson scoring the new record in 28:04, well over a minute faster than his track 10000 m best.

Little changed on the 5.0 km Fourth Stage, Esther Ndiema extending Kenya's lead over Japan to fourteen seconds as New Zealand began a backwards trajectory that carried it to 6th by ekiden's end.  Starting the stage ten second behind 4th-place Russia, Natsuki Omori brought the University Select Team another stage win as she ran 15:45 to catch Russia's Natalia Aristarkhova, both crossing the line for the handoff to the Fifth Stage simultaneously.

Like Third Stage man Muteti just 19, Kenya's Edwin Mokua rocketed a 2:30 opening kilometer split on the 10.0 km Fifth Stage.  Despite having set a course record three weeks ago at the East Japan Corporate Ekiden, Yuki Sato (Japan) was in trouble almost immediately, going through halfway in only 14:41.  Russian Anatoly Rybakov, along with his twin Evgeny a veteran of many Chiba Ekidens, pulled away from the University Select Team's Yuma Hattori to run down first Malcolm Hicks (New Zealand) and then Sato. Hattori, who set a stage record of his own last month at the Izumo Ekiden, also took down Hicks but came up three seconds short of catching Sato for 3rd.  Mokua took the stage best title in a 27:59 made more solid considering the stage's considerable hills, Rybakov next in 29:11.  The U.S.A. team made its first impact of the day as Sean Quigley outran Hattori's time by one second to take the third-fastest time on the stage in 29:19 and maintain the Americans' sixth-place position.

With a 2:19 lead to burn over 7.195 km, Kenya's anchor Emily Chebet, the 2010 and 2013 World XC gold medalist, did not take things easy.  Burning a 22:23 stage win, she brought the Kenyans home for the 2:03:59 overall course record, Kenya's third-straight Chiba title.  Japan's Sayuri Oka had her work cut out for her to give Japan silver once again, starting the stage six seconds behind Russian Liudmila Lebedeva.  Catching her quickly the pair dueled over the hills, Lebedeva pulling away on the downhills and Oka retaking the lead on the ups.  Peaking out onto the flat Oka threw in a surge that opened a gap she held to the end, giving Japan 2nd in 2:07:13 nine seconds up on 3rd-place Russia and taking the second-fastest time on the stage in 23:12.  Like Quigley, American anchor Laura Thweatt was third-fastest in 23:18, picking off New Zealand's Nicki McFadzien but far short of cathching University Select Team anchor Nanaka Izawa.

The same five teams having taken the top five spots last year with only 3rd, 4th and 5th juggling positions, New Zealand, Germany and Canada did the expected and rounded out the top eight.  9th heading into the anchor stage, Canada needed a big run from new marathon national record holder Lanni Marchant to get there, and with a 23:49 for the fifth-best time on the stage Marchant delivered, running down Australia's Tarli Bird in the late going.

All told it was the second year in a row that Chiba seemed to be operating on a higher level, with Olympic and other world-level medalists bringing performances worthy of their names, athletes from around the globe writing enthusiastically on Twitter and elsewhere about their experiences and big crowds along the course and watching the live nationwide TV broadcast.  With so much talk in other countries, especially the U.S., about the "health of the sport" and lack of interest in elite racing perhaps it's worth looking at what Japan, the one place to both make team running its focus and to enjoy mass popularity for its elite racing, is doing right.



2013 International Chiba Ekiden
Chiba, 11/23/13
13 mixed men's/women's teams, 6 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Team Results
1. Kenya - 2:03:59 - CR
2. Japan - 2:07:13
3. Russia - 2:07:22
4. Japanese University Select Team - 2:08:03
5. U.S.A. - 2:08:31
6. New Zealand - 2:08:57
7. Germany - 2:11:16
8. Canada - 2:11:30
9. Australia - 2:11:54
10. France - 2:13:16
11. Ukraine - 2:14:49
12. Chiba Prefecture - 2:15:50
13. Romania - 2:17:24

Top Stage Performances
First Stage (men, 5.0 km)
1. Joseph Ebuya (Kenya) - 13:31
2. Kenta Murayama (Japanese University Select Team) - 13:40
3. Egor Nikolaev (Russia) - 13:41
4. Suguru Osako (Japan) - 13:48
5. Yoann Kowal (France) - 13:53

Second Stage (women, 5.0 km)
1. Ayuko Suzuki (Japanese University Select Team) - 15:31
2. Caroline Nyakagwa (Kenya) - 15:34
3. Moeno Nakamura (Chiba Prefecture) - 15:36
4. Lucy Van Dalen (New Zealand) - 15:43
5. Nicole Sifuentes (Canada) - 15:57

Third Stage (men, 10.0 km)
1. Zane Robertson (New Zealand) - 28:04 - CR
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan) - 28:07 (CR)
3. Daniel Muteti (Kenya) - 28:45
4. Evgeny Rybakov (Russia) - 28:51
5. Steve Kelley (Australia) - 29:19

Fourth Stage (women, 5.0 km)
1. Natsuki Omori (Japanese University Select Team) - 15:45
2. Esther Ndiema (Kenya) - 15:47
3. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:53
4. Natalia Aristarkhova (Russia) - 15:55
5. Kellyn Johnson (U.S.A.) - 15:56

Fifth Stage (men, 10.0 km)
1. Edwin Mokua (Kenya) - 27:59
2. Anatoly Rybakov (Russia) - 29:11
3. Sean Quigley (U.S.A.) - 29:19
4. Yuma Hattori (Japanese University Select Team) - 29:20
5. Malcolm Hicks (New Zealand) - 29:42
5. Djamel Bachiri (France) - 29:42

Sixth Stage (women, 7.195 km)
1. Emily Chebet (Kenya) - 22:23
2. Sayuri Oka (Japan) - 23:12
3. Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 23:18
4. Liudmila Lebedeva (Russia) - 23:27
5. Lanni Marchant (Canada) - 23:49

Reserves' 5000 m

Men
1. Daniel Balchin (New Zealand) - 13:57.26
2. Chris Barnicle (U.S.A.) - 13:57.95
3. Duer Yoa (Australia) - 14:08.69
4. Viacheslav Shalamov (Russia) - 14:22.48
5. Ioan Stefan Vasile (Romania) - 14:49.19
6. Oleksandr Babaryka (Ukraine) - 14:59.20
DNF - Joseph Chacha (Kenya)

Women
1. Eunice Mutie (Kenya) - 15:57.26
2. Sairi Maeda (Japanese University Select Team) - 15:59.70
3. Natalia Novichkova (Russia) - 16:33.11
4. Tetyana Vernyhor (Ukraine) - 16:39.52
5. Rachel Kingsford (New Zealand) - 16:47.42
6. Andrea Seccafien (Canada) - 16:53.29
7. Dorothy McMahan (U.S.A.) - 16:54.69
8. Sophie Barker (Australia) - 17:21.39

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 STITCHrunner
all rights reserved

Friday, November 22, 2013

2013 International Chiba Ekiden Leads Weekend Action (updated)

by Brett Larner



Saturday's 2013 edition of the International Chiba Ekiden tops this weekend's list of international long distance action, with thirteen mixed men's and women's teams from around the world competing over Chiba's six stage, 42,195 km course.  Two-time defending champion Kenya returns with a team led by 2010 and 2013 World XC women's gold medalist Emily Chebet Muge and 2010 World XC men's gold medalist Joseph Ebuya.  Japan provides the toughest competition, with a team including all three men from the Moscow World Championships 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) along with their Moscow women's 5000 m teammate Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku).  2012's 3rd-placer U.S.A. returns a quality squad of domestic talent but should again face tough challenges for the podium from the team it beat to get there last year, Russia, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1500 m silver medalist Nick Willis-led New Zealand team, and the 2010 Chiba-winning Japanese University Select Team.  Canada, hosts Chiba Prefecture, and, with the great Irina Mikitenko as an alternate, Germany, make up the rest of the upper end of the field.

Fuji TV's live broadcast of the 2013 International Chiba Ekiden starting at 1:00 p.m. may be available to overseas viewers via Keyhole TV or other sources, but look also for JRN's live coverage of the race via Twitter @JRNLive.  Click here for a more detailed field listing and preview.  Complete start lists with running order are available here.

A breakdown of the best matchups on each stage based on the current starting lists:

First Stage (men, 5.0 km)
Joseph Ebuya (Kenya) - 12:51.00 - 2010 World XC gold medalist
Suguru Osako (Japan) - 13:20.80 - 1st, 2013 Nat'l Univ. Ekiden 2nd Stage (13.2 km) - 38:08
Will Leer (U.S.A.) - 13:21.55
Nick Willis (New Zealand) - 13:27.54 - 2008 Olympics 1500 m silver medalist
Yegor Nikolayev (Russia) - 13:35.33
Kenta Murayama (Univ. Select Team) - 13:47.19 - CR, 2013 Nat'l Univ. Ekiden 4th Stage (14.0 km) - 39:24; CR, 2013 Izumo Ekiden 3rd Stage (7.9 km) - 22:36

Second Stage (women, 5.0 km)
Lucy Van Dalen (New Zealand) - 15:21.08
Nicole Sifuentes (Canada) - 15:27.58
Ayuko Suzuki (Univ. Select Team) - 15:31.45 - 2013 World Univ. Games 10000 m gold medalist
Caroline Nyagakwa (Kenya) - 15:35.35
Risa Kikuchi (Japan) - 15:36.28 - 1st, 2013 East Japan Women's Ekiden 2nd Stage (4.0 km) - 12:52
Gulshat Fazlitdinova (Russia) - 15:43.58

Third Stage (men, 10.0 km)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan) - 27:40.69 - 2nd, 2013 E. Japan Corp. Men's Ekiden 2nd Stage (15.3 km) - 44:20
Girma Mecheso (U.S.A.) - 27:52.38
Evgeny Rybakov (Russia) - 28:05.75
Dylan Wykes (Canada) - 28:12.82
Daniel Muteti (Kenya) - 13:08.00
Zane Robertson (New Zealand) - 13:13.83 - 1st, 2012 Int'l Chiba Ekiden 1st Stage (5.9 km) - 13:29

Fourth Stage (women, 5.0 km)
Esther Ndiema (Kenya) - 14:57.16
Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:21.73 - 1st, 2013 Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden 1st Stage (6.0 km) - 19:08
Maren Kock (Germany) - 15:27.65
Viktoriya Pohoryelska (Ukraine) - 15:28.35
Kellyn Johnson (U.S.A.) - 15:31.66
Natalya Aristarkhova (Russia) - 8:50.76 (3000 m)

Fifth Stage (men, 10.0 km)
Edwin Mokua (Kenya) - 27:38 (road)
Yuki Sato (Japan) - 27:38.25 - CR, 2013 E. Japan Corp. Men's Ekiden 2nd Stage (15.3 km) - 44:18
Sean Quigley (U.S.A.) - 27:50.78
Anatoliy Rybakov (Russia) - 28:06.54
Yuma Hattori (Univ. Select Team) - 28:22.43 - CR, 2013 Izumo Ekiden 5th Stage (6.4 km) - 17:54
Marius Ionescu (Romania) - 29:01.83

Sixth Stage (women, 7.195 km)
Emily Chebet Muge (Kenya) - 30:47.02 - 2010, 2013 World XC gold medalist
Sayuri Oka (Japan) - 32:06.79 - 1st, 2013 W. Japan Corp. Women's Ekiden 3rd Stage (10.2 km) - 32:29
Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 32:15.51
Corinna Harrer (Germany) - 32:30.41
Nanaka Izawa (Univ. Select Team) - 32:39.31 - 1st, 2013 Nat'l Univ. Women's Ekiden 5th Stage (9.2 km) - 29:53
Lanni Marchant (Canada) - 32:46 (road) - NR holder, marathon - 2:28:00



Chiba is not the only noteworthy race this weekend, though.  At the southern end of the country, the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden closes out the corporate men's regional qualifying for the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships.  The Asahi Kasei team is the perpetual favorite in the Kyushu region, but the Koichi Morishita-coached Toyota Kyushu team, featuring 2013 New York City Marathon 6th-placer Masato Imai and 2013 Great North Run 6th-placer Ryuji Watanabe, looks set to give them a scare both this weekend and on Jan. 1.  At least one major East Japan corporate team's head coach has picked Toyota Kyushu to win the big show, and the push for that title will start this weekend.  Also in the southwestern half of the country is the 75th Kansai University Men's Ekiden Championships, relocated this year to the Tango peninsula from its past site at Lake Biwa.

On the calendar in the eastern half of the country are the Kanto Region University Men's 10000 m Time Trials meet and the Fuchu Tamagawa Half Marathon, both in Tokyo, and Saitama's Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon.  The Kanto meet has developed into a chance for runners bound for the sport's biggest event, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, to boost their 10000 m bests ahead of their coaches' final selections for their Hakone rosters. Last year the meet featured scholarships for any Kanto region university man who ran a sub-29 PB at the meet, an incentive that spurred the top fifteen men in the A-heat to go under the 29-minute mark, all but one in PB times.  With a high-quality entry list and a stunning rate of development across the region this year's meet could outshine those results.

Fuchu used to be the premier fall half marathon on the Japanese calendar for the country's university men, but with the advent of the Ageo City Half Marathon Fuchu's stock has fallen in recent years.  Still, each year the race features a quality contingent from nearby 2013 Izumo Ekiden and National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University and runners from a smattering of other schools, so the potential for a quality race is still there.  The Koedo Kawagoe half is a new event in just its fourth running.  A week after running the fourth-fastest half marathon time of his career in Ageo, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will be lining up in Kawagoe to get a piece of the 1:05:33 course record set last year by Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business) before heading to Fukuoka next week.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Atsushi Sato to Pursue New Dream as Coach After Fukuoka

http://www.minyu-net.com/sport/running/news/131121/news2.html

translated by Brett Larner

Half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has announced that he will retire following next month's Fukuoka International Marathon. Now 35, he has increasingly been forced to deal with running in pain and numbness in his legs.  In an interview on Nov. 20 Sato admitted, "I've had more and more problems with injuries and just can't seem to be able to do the kind of training I need any more."

Sato relocated his training base from Hiroshima back to his hometown of Aizubange-machi, Fukushima following the 2011 disasters with the intent of training for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, 2016.  He has been building his mileage there, but realizing he would not be able to achieve this goal and deciding to retire, he said, "I've always had the dream of being a mentor and coach, so I'd like to put the punctuation on one phase on my life and move on to the next."

Sato is on a leave of absence from the Chugoku Denryoku company until next September. "I told them about six months ago that I plan to become a coach," he indicated.  His exact future plans are still undecided, but he plans to discuss the situation with the higher-ups in the company management.  Of his work helping with disaster reconstruction efforts within Fukushima prefecture he said, "I certainly intend to continue that work."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Year Ekiden Regional Qualifier Roundup

by Brett Larner

Four regions across Japan held their qualifying races on Sunday for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships.  In the Chugoku region, Team Chugoku Denryoku suffered a scare in its pursuit of a 17th-straight win, trailing trailing Team Mazda until the sixth of the ekiden's seven stage before advacing to earn its place in Maebashi on New Year's Day.  Ideal conditions helped runners set new records on five of the ekiden's seven stages, led by a scintillating 19:41 record on the 7.2 km Second Stage by Ethiopian Ayele Abayneh (Team Mazda), who outran Team JFE ace Kenyan Charles Ndirangu by nine seconds.  Four teams in all from the Chugoku region qualified.

Six teams made the grade in the Kansai Region, where Team Sagawa Express won despite the absence of London Olympics marathoner Ryo Yamamoto.  Team Osaka Gas had a close victory over the Osaka Police Department team to pick up the last qualifying spot, but the big news of the race for fans across the country was the corporate ekiden debut of collegiate 5000 m national record holder Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko).  Following graduation from Waseda University Takezawa joined the legendary non-ekidening S&B corporate team, but following the team's disbanding in summer, 2012 he returned home to Hyogo rather than follow the other S&B members to new sponsor DeNA.  Joining the new Sumitomo Denko team, Takezawa won the 10.87 km Third Stage in a superb 30:46 to help the team finish 4th and get into the qualifying bracket.  An Olympian and stage record holder at the Hakone Ekiden, 2014 will be Takezawa's first time lining up at the New Year Ekiden.

The Chubu and Hokuriku regions once again jointly held their qualifying races, with seven spots available to Chubu teams and two for those from Hokuriku.  In the Chubu division Team NTN led off strong with new records on both of the first two stages, but the Toyota Boshoku and Toyota A teams were relentless in closing the gap, Toyota Boshoku taking the title with stage wins on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth legs.  Despite seven spots being available, only six teams finished as Team Chuo Hatsujo was eliminated after its Fourth Stage man Haruaki Kojima suffered a DNF and the Moriyama SDF Base team did not start.  The outcome on New Year Ekiden qualifying is unclear at this stage.  In the tiny Hokuriku division, annual winner YKK led off with a stage record by Kosuke Murasashi and never looked back.  The surprise of the race came in 2nd, where Team Sekino Reform unexpectedly beat perpetual runner-up Omokawa Lumber to pick up the region's second New Year Ekiden berth.

One more regional men's qualifier for the New Year Ekiden remains, Saturday's Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden.  Look for JRN's detailed corporate season review and New Year Ekiden preview following the Kyushu race.

52nd Chugoku Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Sera, Hiroshima, 11/17/13
12 teams, 7 stages, 82.8 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top four teams qualify for New Year Ekiden national championships
1. Chugoku Denryoku - 4:06:19
2. Mazda - 4:07:14
3. JFE Steel - 4:08:38
4. Chudenko - 4:15:28
-----
5. Takeda Pharm. - 4:33:16

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (13.0 km) - Taichi Takase (JFE Steel) - 38:29 - CR
Second Stage (7.2 km) - Ayele Abayneh (Mazda) - 19:41 - CR
Third Stage (11.6 km) - Naoki Okamoto (Chgoku Denryoku) - 34:46 - CR
Fourth Stage (9.5 km) - Yuki Moriwaki (JFE Steel) - 27:27
Fifth Stage (9.5 km) - Takumi Kiyotani (Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:19 - CR
Sixth Stage (19.0 km) - Rui Yonezawa (Chugoku Denryoku) - 56:40 - CR
Seventh Stage (13.0 km) - Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 38:38

56th Kansai Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Tanabe, Wakayama, 11/17/13
13 teams, 7 stages, 80.45 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top six teams qualify for New Year Ekiden national championships
1. Sagawa Express - 4:00:32
2. Otsuka Seiyaku - 4:02:09
3. NTT Nishi Nihon - 4:03:37
4. Sumitomo Denko - 4:03:44
5. Sanyo Tokushu Seiko - 4:05:11
6. Osaka Gas - 4:06:16
-----
7. Osaka Police Dep't - 4:09:46

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (12.6 km) - Yukio Fujimura (Sumitomo Denko) - 40:15
Second Stage (7.68 km) - Naoto Morimoto (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 23:05
Third Stage (10.87 km) - Kensuke Takezawa (Sumitomo Denko) - 30:46
Fourth Stage (9.5 km) - Masaki Sekido (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 27:23
Fifth Stage (16.0 km) - Kenta Iinuma (Sagawa Express) - 47:35
Sixth Stage (11.0 km) - Masanori Ishida (Sagawa Express) - 33:09
Seventh Stage (12.8 km) - Takayasu Hashizume (Sagawa Express) - 37:46

53rd Chubu Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Tahara, Aichi, 11/17/13
10 teams, 7 stages, 83.6 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top seven teams qualify for New Year Ekiden national championships
1. Toyota Boshoku - 4:07:27
2. Toyota A - 4:08:46
3. NTN - 4:12:33
4. Aisan Kogyo - 4:13:27
5. Aichi Seiko A - 4:14:34
6. Toenec - 4:18:47
*The Chubu region had seven New Year Ekiden qualifying places available but only six eligible teams finished the race.

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (11.2 km) - Yuji Sasanuma (Team NTN) - 33:15 - CR
Second Stage  (8.3 km) - Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 22:29 - CR
Third Stage (10.0 km) - Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota A) - 29:00
Fourth Stage (17.5 km) - Tomohiro Shiiya (Toyota Boshoku) - 52:22
Fifth Stage (13.3 km) - Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Toyota Boshoku) - 39:10
Sixth Stage (9.7 km) - Tomohiro Hayakawa (Toyota Boshoku) - 29:09
Seventh Stage (13.6 km) - Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota A) - 40:34 - CR

43rd Hokuriku Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Tahara, Aichi, 11/17/13
4 teams, 7 stages, 83.6 km

Top Team Results - top two teams qualify for New Year Ekiden national championships
1. YKK - 4:12:36
2. Sekino Reform - 4:20:57
-----
3. Takada SDF Base - 4:22:02
4. Omokawa Lumber - 4:22:57

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (11.2 km) - Kosuke Murasashi (YKK) - 33:40 - CR
Second Stage  (8.3 km) - Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 23:21
Third Stage (10.0 km) - Takanori Kawara (Sekino Reform) - 30:53
Fourth Stage (17.5 km) - Naohiro Yamada (YKK) - 52:35
Fifth Stage (13.3 km) - Teppei Suegami (YKK) - 40:16
Sixth Stage (9.7 km) - Yoshihiro Hinomoto (YKK) - 29:33
Seventh Stage (13.6 km) - Yuya Asaka (Takada SDF Base) - 41:38

© 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Marathoner Gets Timely Boost in Japan'

http://www.todayonline.com/sports/marathoner-gets-timely-boost-japan

Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km - Japanese Results

30th Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km Road Race
Nijmegen, Netherlands, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 48:43
2. Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) - 50:59
3. Ayame Takagi (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:08
4. Honoka Yuzawa (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:27
5. Miranda Boonstra (Netherlands) - 51:41
6. Kim Dillen (Netherlands) - 51:53
7. Mio Muraoka (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:56
8. Yurina Yokoyama (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 52:38

Men
1. Leonard Komon (Kenya) - 42:15
2. Nicholas Kipkemboi (Kenya) - 42:32
3. Daniel Chaves da Silva (Brazil) - 43:49
4. Jesper van der Wielen (Netherlands) - 44:33
5. Tom Wiggers (Netherlands) - 44:42

© 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, November 18, 2013

Osako 13:20.80 at Nittai University Time Trials

by Brett Larner
video courtesy of Ekiden News



Among the seven major Japanese races and meets over the weekend, the Nittai University Time Trials meet featured a standout showing from 22-year-old Waseda University senior Suguru Osako.  Already in the all-time Japanese top five for 10000 m after a 27:38.31 runner-up finish at Stanford in the spring, Osako hung tough in the Nittai 5000 m A-heat against the likes of international-level Kenyans Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), Bidan Karoki (DeNA RC) and Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) to take seven seconds off his best with a new mark of 13:20.80, making him the all-time sixth-fastest Japanese man over 5000 m and the second-fastest Japanese collegiate ever behind only former Waseda star Kensuke Takezawa's 13:19.00.  Two-time World Junior 3000 mSC champion Ndiku took the win over Karoki in 13:14.97, with 2013 World XC Junior silver medalist Barsoton outkicking William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) and Osako for 3rd in 13:19.04.  Further back, Kento Hanazawa (Yachiyo Shoin Gakuin H.S.) ran 13:59.09 to join the growing ranks of sub-14 Japanese high schoolers.

Kenyan high schooler Miriam Waithera (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) took the women's 5000 m A-heat win in 15:33.47 over 2011 Japanese national 10000 m champion Kayo Asaba (Team Denso), formerly Kayo Sugihara.  Asaba's Denso teammates swept the top three spots in the women's 3000 m with Miyuki Oka first across the line in 9:18.36, setting Denso up for a strong showing at next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, the focus of the year for corporate league women.  Further south at the Shizuoka Long-Distance Time Trials meet the top-end of the women's 5000 m results were of similar quality, Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) taking the win in 15:37.89 over Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.).

Back at Nittai in the men's 10000 m, Ethiopian Mekashaw Kassa (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) took an easy in 28:30.73 win over a field that included four Team Subaru runners under 29 minutes. Three collegiates from minor Hakone Ekiden schools went under 28:40 led by Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.), 4th overall in a PB of 28:33.50.  Other noteworthy sub-29 performances included Ataru Otani of the Nanyo City Hall team, which earlier this month qualified for the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships for the first time, was 9th in 28:38.84, and Daisuke Uekado (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.), 12th in 28:48.22 to become the second university runner from outside the Hakone Ekiden-centered Kanto region to break 29 this season.  The explosive growth happening right now in Japanese university men's athletics looks as though it's not just limited to the power centers of Hakone.

234th Nittai University Time Trials
Nittai University, Yokohama, Nov. 16~17, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 31
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:14.97
2. Bidan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 13:15.75
3. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:19.04
4. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 13:19.83
5. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:20.80
6. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:27.38
7. Ronald Kemwoi (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 13:41.99
8. Charles Ndungu (Kenya/Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) - 13:44.53
9. Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13:46.17
10. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Nanyo City Hall) - 13:51.94
-----
13. Kento Hanazawa (Yachiyo Shoin Gakuin H.S.) - 13:59.09

Women's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Miriam Waithera (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 15:33.47
2. Kayo Asaba (Team Denso) - 15:37.63
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 15:40.58
4. Miki Sakakibara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:41.82
5. Aki Saito (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:42.16
6. Kanako Shimada (Team Uniqlo) - 15:42.81
7. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 15:43.69
8. Shiori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 15:44.10
9. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:44.19
10. Mayumi Hatakeyama (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 15:44.79

Men's 10000 m Heat 4
1. Mekashaw Kassa (Ethiopia/Team Yachio Kogyo) - 28:30.73
2. Keiji Akutsu (Team Subaru) - 28:31.72
3. Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 28:32.54
4. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:33.50
5. Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 28:34.29
6. Kenshi Sawano (Senshu Univ.) - 28:34.39
7. Shohei Kurata (Jobu Univ.) - 28:35.00
8. Kazuya Namera (Team Subaru) - 28:36.38
9. Ataru Otani (Nanyo City Hall) - 28:38.84
10. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:46.08

Women's 3000 m Heat 5
1. Miyuki Oka (Team Denso) - 9:18.36
2. Naoko Koizumi (Team Denso) - 9:19.24
3. Kaori Koriki (Team Denso) - 9:23.56
4. Yumika Miura (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:24.73
5. Mirai Waku (Nasutakuyo H.S.) - 9:26.04

Shizuoka Long-Distance Time Trials
Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m - Heat Two
1. Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:37.89
2. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:40.68
3. Misuzu Nakahara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:48.66
4. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 15:49.38
5. Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:56.84

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ichida and Nishiike Lead Eighteen Under 63 Minutes in Ageo City Half Marathon Photo-Finish (updated)

text and photos by Brett Larner
videos courtesy of Ekiden News


On a busy weekend featuring at least seven major events across the country, Japan's biggest race of the weekend took place northwest of Tokyo in Saitama.  With perfect conditions for its 26th running, the Ageo City Half Marathon, consistently one of the world's deepest halves as a consequence of being the unofficial tryout race for Japan's biggest sporting event, the Jan. 2-3 university men's Hakone Ekiden, saw a dramatic race with five men battling to the line to make history.   In a relationship set up by JRN, two invitations to run March's New York City Half Marathon were up for grabs for the first two Japanese collegiate finishers, and, having seen the effect on last year's Ageo winner Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) who returned from finishing 10th in New York in 2013 to set course records at both the Izumo Ekiden and National University Ekiden Championships, the field responded en masse.



The race started with a mishap that spelled disaster for one school, as an A-list member of Josai University's Hakone team fell at the start, was trampled underfoot by the dense pack behind, and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with a broken collarbone and other injuries.  Sailing on and skimming right around 3:00 min/km pace, a lead pack of around seventy hit halfway in 31:34, on track for a 1:03:08 finish time, without any clear leaders. Koki Takada (Waseda Univ.), Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.), Takayuki Maeno (Meiji Univ.), Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.), Norihisa Imai (Toyo Univ.), Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) and others took turns in the three to five-wide front line but none exerted true pressure until Imai began to push after the halfway mark.  By 15 km the lead group was down to thirty, all university men in the hunt for both places on their schools' Hakone Ekiden teams and tickets to New York except for former Hakone Ekiden Select Team teammates Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).

Rounding a corner with 3 km to go Yufu attacked, with Takada immediately responding and going to his side.  Yano and Kajiwara quickly took over, with a handful of others latching on to make a lead group of seven dipping into 62-minute territory. Yufu soon faltered and dropped as the pace continuously increased, but with 1 km to go the other six men were still locked tight as Kajiwara, Takada and Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) hit each other up front.  600 m to go and Maeno dropped.  500 m to go and Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) craftily came up behind leader Nishiike from the rear of the pack for the first time.  400 m to go and Nishiike, 0.02 out of the medals at the 2010 Youth Olympics 3000 m, surged on the corner leading onto the track.  All five men were onto the track within one second of each other, but while Nishiike and Kajiwara fought for control Ichida put on an incredible surge in the home straight to catch them both at the line in a photo-finish. Nishiike and most spectators thought he had won it, but on review of the finish data the title went to Ichida with both he and Nishiike timed at 1:02:36, making it the third-straight year that an identical twin runner took the top Japanese collegiate spot in Ageo.

Kajiwara was 3rd a stride behind in 1:02:37, just outrunning Takada who took 4th in 1:02:38. Redeeming himself for an anchor stage breakdown two weeks ago that cost 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University a seeded top three finish at the 2013 National University Ekiden Championships, Yano was 5th in another photo finish with Takada in a PB 1:02:38.  Almost everybody in at least the top twenty ran a PB or debut.  Just two weeks after running the New York City Marathon Kawauchi ran his fastest half marathon of the year, 1:03:06, just four seconds slower than he ran last year in Ageo when he finished 3rd. This year he was 20th.



In its first 25 years Ageo had seen a total of thirty-six men run under 63 minutes.  Eighteen more joined their number today, the most ever in a single year of Ageo history and all but Kajiwara university athletes.  Aided by perfect conditions and given extra drive by the New York Half's big apple on a stick, the results were rich in import for the Hakone Ekiden, whose coaches use Ageo to pare down their rosters to the final entry list they will submit in a month's time.  Waseda University was the big team winner of the day, with four of its younger runners clocking sub-63 bests. Nishiike's Hosei University continued its steady development over the last year and a half with three men, including Nishiike, under 63.  Even favorite Komazawa University benefitted from the day, with Komazawa 1500 m and 10000 m record holder Yufu recording the second-fastest time of his career, 1:02:51 for 7th, and first-year Yusuke Nishiyama debuting in a solid 1:02:54 for 10th.  Overall depth returned to the kind of legendary numbers Ageo has not seen since 2006:

10th place: 1:02:54
25th place: 1:03:23
50th place: 1:04:07
100th place: 1:04:49
200th place: 1:06:08
300th place: 1:07:51
400th place: 1:09:50
500th place: 1:13:26

All told it added up to the greatest day in Ageo's 26-year history.

That history received an additional footnote as Singaporean Mok Ying Ren ran 1:07:53 to set a new national record.  The time, which put him 301st, also earned him a place at March's World Half Marathon Championships, the first time an athlete has ever qualified for a national team at Ageo.  Mok Ying Ren next races at December's Southeast Asian Games marathon in Myanmar where he is one of the favorites for the win.




26th Ageo City Half Marathon
Ageo, Saitama, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:02:36 - PB
2. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:36 - debut
3. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 1:02:37 - PB
4. Koki Takada (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:38 - PB
5. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:38 - PB
6. Takayuki Maeno (Meiji Univ.) - 1:02:45 - PB
7. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:51
8. Daiki Taguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:53 - PB
9. Kosuke Tanaka (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:53 - PB
10. Yusuke Nishiyama (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:54 - debut
11. Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:54 - debut
12. Keisuke Sago (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:02:54 - PB
13. Yuto Aiba (Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:56 - PB
14. Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:57 - PB
15. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:57
16. Shota Miyagami (Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:58 - PB
17. Takuma Sano (Hosei Univ.) - 1:02:58 - PB
18. Koki Ido (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:59 - debut
19. Kaname Tada (Chuo Univ.) - 1:03:05 - PB
20. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:06
-----
301. Mok Ying Ren (Singapore) - 1:07:53 - NR

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

award ceremony photo (c) 2013 Jason Lawrence
all rights reserved

Arai and Tanaka Set Course Records at Kobe Marathon

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/201311/0006503245.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Over 20,000 people took part in the third edition of the Kobe Marathon on Nov. 17, running on the streets raised from the ruin of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Starting out at a much faster pace than Kobe saw in either of its first two runnings, Hironori Arai (34, Team Chugoku Denryoku) and local veteran Chihiro Tanaka (44, AthleC AC) set new men's and women's course records of 2:17:01 and 2:36:53. For each of them it was their first time to win in Kobe.

Organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government, the Kobe Civic Government and the Hyogo Prefecture Track and Field Association, the race had "Give Thanks for Friendship" as its official theme to express the city's gratitude for the assistance it received during the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake and to help raise support for survivors of the East Japan Earthquake and the recent major typhoon in the Philippines.  A total of 20,674 runners participated in the race's 42.195 km full marathon and 10.6 km quarter marathon division.

3rd Kobe Marathon
Kobe, Hyogo, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Hironori Arai (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:17:01 - CR
2. Shoji Takada (Nittai Univ.) - 2:17:15
3. Harun Malel (Kenya) - 2:17:45
4. Yuya Takayanagi (Nittai Univ.) - 2:17:55
5. Takeshi Tsubouchi (Kanagawa Univ.) - 2:18:37

Women
1. Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) - 2:36:53 - CR
2. Hiromi Saito (Kobe Gakuin Univ.) - 2:39:51
3. Satoko Uetani (Kobe Gakuin Univ.) - 2:43:42
4. Ikue Tabata - 2:44:17
5. Monica Njeru (Kenya) - 2:46:37

'Fourth Japanese Marathon Victory for Mayorova in Yokohama'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/fourth-japanese-marathon-victory-for-mayorova

Saturday, November 16, 2013

'Mayorova Finally Aiming to Finish in Yokohama, Ongari and Kalmer the Threats'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/preview/mayorova-ongari-kalmer-yokohama-marathon

A shame that none of the hometown athletes are deemed to be threats.  JRN will cover the race live via Twitter @JRNLive starting at noon on Sunday, Nov. 16.  Overseas viewers may be able to catch TV Asahi's live broadcast via Keyhole TV.

Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 11/17/13

22. Yumiko Hara (AASP Running Club) - 2:23:48 (Osaka Int'l 2007)
1. Albina Mayorova (Russia) - 2:23:52 (Nagoya Women's 2012)
2. Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 2:24:20 (Rotterdam 2011)
11. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:24:28 (Nagoya Women's 2012)
3. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 2:24:33 (London 2011)
12. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:24:57 (Osaka Int'l 2012)
13. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:25:38 (Tokyo 2009)
14. Eri Okubo (Miki House) - 2:26:08 (Tokyo 2012)
5. Tetyana Filonyuk (Ukraine) - 2:26:24 (Rome 2010)
6. Freya Ross (Great Britain) - 2:28:10 (London 2012)
15. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 2:28:49 (Tokyo 2011)
7. Rene Kalmer (South Africa) - 2:29:59 (Yokohama Int'l 2011)
16. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 2:33:21 (Tokyo 2013)
24. Maki Inami (AC Kita) - 2:37:34 (Tokyo 2011)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Carlson, Ito and Rothlin Withdraw From Fukuoka Marathon

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20131113/ath13111318250000-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 13 the organizers of the Dec. 1 Fukuoka International Marathon announced that 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), American Andrew Carlson and 2013 Gold Coast Airport Marathon runner-up Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) have all withdrawn from the race due to training setbacks.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kawauchi to Run Kumamoto Castle Marathon

http://kumanichi.com/news/local/main/20131113003.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 13 it was announced that popular civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) will run the third edition of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon Feb. 16 in Kumamoto.  In February this year Kawauchi won the event's longstanding Kumanichi 30 km division in a course record 1:29:31. On Nov. 8 Kawauchi contacted race organizers to say that he wanted to run the marathon division next year. Given that the achievements and popularity that have made him Japan's top marathon runner would lead to a surge of interest in the Kumamoto Castle Marathon, organizers were quick to make him the first invited athlete in the short history of the marathon division.

There is no doubt that organizers are banking on the 'Kawauchi Effect.'  A race spokesperson commented, "Kawauchi told us, 'Compared to other races, the crowd support in Kumamoto was fantastic.'  It seems as though he's motivated to dominate our event with course records in both the 30 km and full marathon divisions.  Thanks to his 30 km win this year our name value as an event has skyrocketed.  His coming here will no doubt serve to attract other top athletes in the future and to generate excitement among the other amateur runners who will run in the race with him."

The winner of both editions of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon to date, holder of its 2:19:30 course record and an amateur civil servant runner like Kawauchi, defending champion Shota Jige (25, Kumamura City Hall) was happy to hear that Kawauchi would be in the race.  "I'll do my best to stay with him," Jige said.  "I hope I can learn something from his running."

At the 2011 Tokyo Marathon Kawauchi outran the best of the corporate leagues to finish 3rd overall in 2:08:37 as the top Japanese finisher, immediately becoming a celebrity.  He failed to make the 2012 London Olympics team, but in February this year two weeks before his Kumanichi 30 km course record win he won the historic Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in a course record 2:08:15 to qualify for his second-straight World Championships marathon team.  Several weeks later he improved his best to 2:08:14 in Seoul, South Korea. In every race he took an assertive approach, supplementing his low-volume training by using other races as speed work in what has become the hallmark of his unique style.

Ekiden Ace Izawa to Join Koide Collective in Pursuit of Marathon Medal

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aichi/news/20131111-OYT8T01064.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having helped lead Toyokawa H.S. to its first-ever National High School Ekiden Championships title, women's long-distance runner Nanaka Izawa (Sr., Juntendo Univ.) has signed a contract to join the 2012 national champion Universal Entertainment corporate league team following her graduation next spring.  At Universal she will also receive coaching from the legendary coach of Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi, the Universal-affiliated Sakura AC's Yoshio Koide.  Currently doing student teacher work back at Toyokawa, Izawa showed her resolve as she said, "My future is in the marathon, and the Tokyo Olympics are my goal."

At the National High School Ekiden Championships Izawa ran the Third Stage as a first-year, the Second Stage as a second-year, and the ace First Stage as a third-year, winning each of them.  When she was a second-year in 2008 Toyokawa won its first-ever national title, repeating within a follow-up win in 2009.  After entering Juntendo University she suffered a long period of injuries, but on the 9.2 km Fifth Stage last month at the National University Women's Ekiden Championships, the longest and most competitive leg of the race, she returned to the top with a stage win.  "I was surprised too," she smiled.  "I was really, really happy."  The stage title was proof that she had finally worked out the issues that led to her serial injuries.  The years of setbacks meant that her university career was nowhere near as stellar as her high school years, but, she said, "I've learned to be able to think about my training for myself and from that things have been improving bit by bit. These four years were an investment in the future me."

Izawa received offers from a large number of corporate teams, but the chance to work with Koide was the deciding factor.  "I think he's the greatest coach in the world," she said, "so I have asked Mr. Koide to guide me."  In addition to taking Takahashi to her Olympic gold medal and world record, Koide also led Yuko Arimori to two Olympic marathon medals, silver at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, to solidify his reputation as one of the world's leading marathon coaches.

Up to now Izawa has focused mostly on 5000 m and 10000 m track races.  Looking toward the future she said, "I know it's probably not realistic to jump straight to the marathon, but I want to start making the migration in that direction."  With the 2020 Olympics just seven years away this period will see intense attention paid to the activity and achievements of Izawa's generation.  "My career goal is to win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," she said with full determination.  "The challenge for me now is to develop the means to make that goal a reality."

'Kawauchi Right Back to Work the Day After NYC'

http://www.nyrr.org/newsroom/nyrr-news-service/kawauchi-right-back-to-work-the-day-after-nyc

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

International Chiba Ekiden Entry Lists - Osako, Sato and Ugachi Lead Japanese Team

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/131111/oth13111119380017-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 11 Rikuren, the Japanese Federation, announced the entry lists for the thirteen teams at the Nov. 23 International Chiba Ekiden.  A six-stage, 42.195 km event, Chiba is unique in featuring mixed men's and women's teams with each gender alternating over the course of the race.

The Japanese team will be picked from an entry list of four men and four women.  The men's list includes all three Japanese men from this summer's Moscow World Championships 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), as well as Moscow women's 5000 m runner Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku).  Combined with the likes of 2011-2013 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University's star anchor Shinobu Kubota and women Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku), Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) and Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu), all stage winners in major fall ekidens, the Japanese national team will be looking to return to the victor's position for the first time in four years.

The Japanese University Select Team is also strong, led by 2013 World University Games 10000 m gold medalist Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya University), 2013 National University Ekiden and 2013 Izumo Ekiden stage record-setter Kenta Murayama (Komazawa University) and Yuma Hattori (Toyo University), also a stage record-setter in Izumo.

Along with hosts Chiba Prefecture, ten foreign teams are set to run.  Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m 4th-placer Emily Chebet and 2010 World XC champion Joseph Ebuya top the Kenyan team, while women's marathon national record holder Irina Mikitenko and Moscow 1500 m 5th-placer Homiyu Tesfaye are noteworthy names on the German team. Newly-crowned marathon national record holder Lanni Marchant leads a Canadian team that features London Olympians Reid CoolsaetAlex Genest, Nicole Sifuentes and Dylan Wykes.

The 2013 International Chiba Ekiden will be broadcast live on Fuji TV starting at 1:00 p.m. Click here for details on watching online.  JRN will once again cover the race live on Twitter @JRNLive.

2013 International Chiba Ekiden Entry List Highlights
Chiba, 11/23/13
click here for complete entry lists

Australia
Jackson Elliott - 13:57.80
Steve Kelly - 28:52.30
Duer Yoa - 13:50.50

Canada
Reid Coolsaet - 13:21.53
Lanni Marchant - 32:46.00
Nicole Sinfuentes - 15:27.58
Dylan Wykes - 28:12.82

Chiba Prefecture
Mika Kobayashi (Juntendo Univ.) - 15:59.26
Moeno Nakamura (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:51.35
Kohei Ogino (Team Fujitsu) - 28:56.18
Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 15:57.40
Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:20.32

France
Djamel Bashiri - 13:56.47
Timothee Bommier - 13:51.64
Fatiha Klilech-Fauvel - 32:46.73

Germany
Corinna Harrer - 32:30.41
Maren Kock - 15:27.65
Irina Mikitenko - 14:42.03
Philipp Pflieger - 13:31.24
Andre Pollmacher - 27:55.56
Homiyu Tesfaye - 13:58.73
Steffen Uliczka - 13:41.88

Japan
Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:16.46
Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) - 15:36.28
Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:07.01
Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) - 32:06.79
Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:21.73
Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 27:38.31
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:13.60 / 27:38.25
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:40.69

Japanese University Select Team
Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 28:22.43
Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 32:39.31
Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 32:51.53
Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:14.57
Yuki Muta (Meiji Univ.) - 13:47.58
Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:40.34
Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 32:49.02

Kenya
Joseph Chacha - 13:51.84
Emily Chebet - 14:46.89
Joseph Ebuya - 12:51.00
Edwin Mokua - 27:38
Eunice Mutai - 14:40.00
Daniel Muteti - 13:08.00
Esther Ndiema - 14:57.16
Caroline Nyakagwa - 31:42.25

New Zealand
Malcolm Hicks - 13:43.96
Zane Robertson - 13:13.83
Holly Van Dalen - 15:41.68
Lucy Van Dalen - 15:21.08
Nick Willis - 13:27.54

Romania
Marius Ionescu - 29:01.83

Russia
Natalya Aristarkhova - 8:50.76
Gulshat Fazlitdinova - 32:01.83
Ludmila Lebedeva - 32:46.08
Yegor Nikolayev - 13:35.33
Natalya Novichkova - 15:34.34
Anatoliy Rybakov - 28:06.54
Yevgeny Rybakov - 28:05.75
Vyacheslav Shalamov - 13:38.10

Ukraine
Mihailo Iberk - 28:48.60
Volodymyr Kyts - 13:52.69
Viktoriya Pohoryelska - 15:28.35

U.S.A.
Chris Barnicle - 28:10.59
Kellyn Johnson - 32:30.40
Katie Kellner - 32:58.73
Will Leer - 13:21.55
Girma Mecheso - 27:52.38
Sean Quigley - 27:50.78
Laura Thweatt - 32:15.51