Skip to main content

Weekend Preview - Sendai Half, Golden Games in Nobeoka and Golden Grand Prix Tokyo

by Brett Larner

With track season well under way there's a shortage of domestic road action this month.  Formerly Japan's main May half marathon, the Sendai International Half Marathon's stock has fallen in recent years against the rise of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon a week later but still features a good men's field including marathoners Arata Fujiwara (Miki House), Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), Japan-based Kenyans Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel), Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) and Mekubo Mogusu (Team Nissin Shokuhin), former Hakone Ekiden stars Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu), Takehiro Deki (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) and more.  The women's field is thinner, with veterans Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido), Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) and Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.) going up against young talents Ayaka Hitomi (Team Shimamura) and Misato Horie (Team Nortiz).  Click here for a complete field listing.

On the track, a smattering of regional corporate league track championship meets get underway ahead of next weekend's full-on deluge, but the big meet of the weekend for distance runners is Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka, always one of the highlights of the Japanese season.  The main focus of the day is 5000 m, with 2014 National Corporate Half Marathon runner-up Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) lining up against 2013 World XC junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and most of the other top Japan-based Africans in one heat and top young Japanese talent including Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.), Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta), Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) and Ikuto Yufu (Team Fujitsu) scheduled to slug it out in another.  The women's 5000 m features 2014 World Half Marathon Championships team member Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido), 2014 Marugame Half Marathon winner Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Japan-based Kenyan Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto).

Women's talent in Nobeoka is also split between 1500 m and 3000 m heats, but the other main draw for men is the 10000 m, where 2014 Lisbon Half Marathon winner Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) leads 2013 national 5000 m champion Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) and his 2014 World Half Marathon teammate Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) along with corporate league talents Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda).  Click here for complete entry lists.

The other big meet of the weekend takes place Sunday as Tokyo's National Stadium hosts its final major track event before being rebuilt, the Seiko Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet.  Teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) is the main domestic draw in the 100 m where he faces France's sub-10 man Christophe Lemaitre and American Justin Gatlin, who returned from a four-year drug ban to win medals at the London Olympics and Moscow World Championships.  Other men's medalists on the entry lists include London Olympics 400 m gold medalist Kirani James (Grenada), Moscow World Championships 800 m silver medalist Nick Symmonds (U.S.A.), and Moscow high jump gold medalist Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) in a great matchup against London high jump gold medalist Ivan Ukhov (Russia).

The women's field includes Moscow 1500 m silver medalist Jennifer Simpson (U.S.A.) and 100mH gold medalist Brianna Rollins (U.S.A.), and London hammer throw gold and bronze medalists Tatiana Lyseko (Russia) and Betty Heidler (Germany).  Tokyo-area fans shouldn't miss their last chance to catch some of the atmosphere of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics before the historic National Stadium is rebuilt for the the upcoming 2020 Olympics.  Click here for entry list highlights and ticket info.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Tokai University Outruns Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin to Win First Izumo Ekiden Title in Ten Years

Kanagawa's Tokai University outran two-time defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University to win the 2017 Izumo Ekiden, its first win at one of the Big Three university men's ekidens under head coach Hayashi Morozumi and Tokai's first Izumo title since 2007.

Formerly head coach at Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. where he produced the fastest-ever all-Japanese high school team and standout Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) on a cross-country based training regimen, since taking over at Tokai in 2011 Morozumi has set about systematically developing the Tokai program into one with the greatest depth in Japanese university running. On paper AGU had a slight advantage over Tokai over the first half of Izumo's six stages, but with Tokai's second half runners, including its top two men Shota Onizuka and Hayato Seki, ranked at the top of their stages AGU needed a decent lead by halfway to stand a chance.

From the start it wasn't to be. In hot and sunny conditions Tokai&#…