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National Women's Ekiden Leads Weekend Road Action

by Brett Larner

National championship ekiden season winds down over the next two weekends with the National Women's Ekiden this Sunday in Kyoto, followed a week later in Hiroshima by the National Men's Ekiden.  Both races feature teams from each of Japan's 47 prefectures made up of top talent all the way from junior high school runners to Olympians competing to determine the true geographic center of Japanese distance running.

Sunday's 32nd running of the National Women's Ekiden features Moscow World Championships marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Aomori) and 4th-placer Ryoko Kizaki (Kyoto), 2013 5000 m national champion Misaki Onishi (Mie), 2013 London Marathon 3rd placer Yukiko Akaba (Tochigi), 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo), Mutsumi Ikeda (Shiga) and Nanako Kanno (Kyoto) of 2013 National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University, Azusa Sumi (Aichi), Hanami Sekine (Aichi) and three other members of 2013 National High School Girls Ekiden winner Toyokawa H.S., Wakana Kabasawa (Gunma) and Ema Hayashi (Gunma) of 2013 National Junior High School Girls Ekiden champion Fujimi J.H.S. and many more competing over 42.195 km subdivided into 9 stages.  The race will be broadcast nationwide live and commercial-free on NHK beginning at 12:30 p.m. Japan time on Sunday, Jan. 12.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch live on Keyhole TV; upgrade to the premium version results in a significantly more reliable stream.  JRN will also cover the race live via Twitter @JRNLive.

Three decent half marathons also add to the weekend's action, with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) getting his year moving as usual at the 15th edition of Tokyo's Tanigawa Mari Half Marathon.  Far to the south on Kyushu, Nagasaki hosts the 43rd running of the Unzen Obama Half Marathon, while locals tune up for next month's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon at the 54th Oita City Half Marathon on the Monday public holiday.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

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2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


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© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

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