Skip to main content

Adachi Against Kawauchi, 50% of XC Season, Another Ekiden and More - Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

February is one of those months with more events crammed in than it's possible to cover.  This weekend features at least three good quality marathons, a 10-miler, another late-season ekiden, and half of the elite Japanese cross country season.

That XC happens east of Tokyo in Chiba at the Chiba International XC Meet, along with the Feb. 21 Fukuoka International XC Meet one of the two races that decide the Japanese team for next month's World XC Championships in China.  Marugame Half Marathon remnants Samuel Tsegaye (Eritrea) and Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) make up the major share of the international component in the senior men's 12 km where they face the likes of 2015 Hakone Ekiden course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University's Kazuma Kubota, Daito Bunka University wonder twins Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida and many more.  The Japanese junior teams usually represent well at worlds, and most of the country's best up-and-coming talent will be there.

Others will be at the Chugoku Women's Ekiden, which this year changes homes and names slightly to the Chugoku Women's Sera Ekiden in Sera, Hiroshima, home of 2014 National High School Ekiden champion Sera H.S.  Further west, the Karatsu Road Race hosts sub-2:10 marathoner Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), top track runners Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) and Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Kenyan Edward Waweru (Team NTN) in its 10-miler, with a good selection of upper-level Japanese women including Misato Horie (Team Noritz) and Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) in its 10 km division.

Another sub-2:10 marathoner from the Asahi Kasei crew, Tomoya Adachi, lines up on home ground at the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon where his main competition is 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  Kawauchi, with a PB of 2:08:14, is recovered from his ankle sprain in late December but down in fitness during his recovery.  Adachi, who ran a 2:09:59 best in Fukuoka in December, should be a more than worthy competitor for him.  Good lower-tier races are also on the calendar at the Ehime Marathon and the Kitakyushu Marathon, the latter of which saw quality times in its first edition last year.

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Japan Dominates Asian Cross Country Championships

Japan dominated the 14th Asian Cross Country Championships Thursday in Guiyang, China, winning all four team gold medals to hold the hosts China back to silver in every race.

Japan's only individual gold came in the Junior Women's race, one of its usual areas of strength. Yuna Wada led a Japanese sweep of the top four positions to win the 6 km race in 20:43 with scoring teammates Ririka Hironaka and Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu just behind.

Wada Yuna of Japan wins Junior Women’s 6km cross country race of 14th Asian Cross Country Championship . Japan also won Team championship — Asian Athletics (@asianathletics) March 15, 2018
With the meet also serving as China's National Championships Chinese athletes won the individual gold in the other three races, Dan Li, Cairen Suolong and Jianhua Peng all showing better closing speed to beat their Japanese rivals by 3~4 seconds. Li won the Senior Women's 8 km by 3 seconds over Japan's Yukari Abe, leadi…