Skip to main content

Fast High Schoolers, A National Record, and Kawauchi in an Ekiden - Weekend Road Race Roundup

by Brett Larner

The Osaka International Women's Marathon and Osaka Half Marathon were the weekend's main races, but across the country there was plenty of other action on the roads.  Highlights:

  • In Yamagata, Sakata Minami High School 10th-grader Masato Arao ran 29:27 for 2nd at the Yamagata Prefecture Winter Road Race 10 km, one second behind winner Shuhei Moriya.  Arao's time was 21 seconds faster than the best-ever track 10000 m time by a Japanese 10th-grade boy, Keigo Iijima's 29:48.25.
  • Now in semi-retirement and working as an assistant coach for the Hitachi women's corporate team, former high school star Satoru Kitamura won the men's 10 km at Ibaraki's 65th Katsuta Marathon in 30:06.  Hitachi women defended their titles in both the 10 km and marathon, Ryo Koido winning the 10 km in 33:16 and Kana Kurosawa the marathon in 2:43:03 and both slightly faster than last year.  The men's marathon, by contrast, was very slow.  After a 2:13:15 course record by Shingo Igarashi last year, the winning time this year was 2:22:09 by debuting Juntendo University student Hiroki Kai.  Runner-up last year in 2:15:05, Naoki Inoue was again 2nd in 2:23:13.
  • At Tokyo's Shinjuku City Half Marathon, T20-classified runner Ryo Kaneko won overall in the men's race.  His time of 1:09:31 took 5 seconds off his own T20 national record of 1:09:36. Post-race Kaneko said, "My personal goal is to run 1:08.  I'll keep running until I reach my limit."
  • After having been beaten by national champion high school team Sera H.S. last year, the Mazda corporate men's team stepped up its game this year at the 80th running of the Chugoku Yamaguchi Ekiden to win by more than three minutes.  Mazda's win came in large part thanks to its Ethiopian pair Bekele Shiferaw and Teressa Nyakora.  Shiferaw won the opening stage by 4 seconds over JFE Steel Kenyan Charles Ndirangu, with Nyakora setting a new course record of 34:36 for the 11.9 km Third Stage.  African-born athletes won four of the race's seven stages, a rarity on today's ekiden circuit where restrictions on non-Japanese athletes are common.  The Japanese performance of the day came from Hayato Sonoda of the Kurosaki Harima team who followed up his 2:10:40 breakthrough in Fukuoka by running the 15.9 km Sixth Stage 36 seconds faster than the next-fastest Japanese man on the stage, the biggest margin recorded by any Japanese runner in the ekiden.
  • At the 63rd running of Saitama's Okumusashi Ekiden, Tokyo Kokusai University made up for missing the Hakone Ekiden by downing the Police Department team for the win.  Tokyo Kokusai runners won the third through fifth stages, putting them too far away for the Police to catch even with a new 9.3 km Sixth Stage record of 27:28 by Police anchor Tatsunori Sato.  Running for the Saitama Prefectural Government team, Yuki Kawauchi was only 9th on the 4.3 km Third Stage in 13:16 after coming down with a cold the day before the race.  Post-race Kawauchi told reporters that he plans to try to break his marathon PB of 2:08:14 this spring in preparation for August's London World Championships, for which he is the leading contender for the Japanese team after the first selection race.  "I'm doing everything that needs to be done," he said.  "I am training with the intention of being chosen to represent Japan.  But if other athletes outperform me in terms of results [in the remaining selection races], that would be a good thing."

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Kobayashi Wins London Bronze Without Hakone Experience While Hakone Veteran Kawauchi Fails to Make Top 8

The World Championships in athletics were first held in Helsinki, Finland in 1983. Up until the 1991 Tokyo World Championships they were held once every four years, but beginning with the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships they switched to an every other year format. London this year was the 16th edition. To date 68 men with Hakone Ekiden experience have competed in the World Championships, with three of them winning medals in the marathon.

In Tokyo in 1991 Hiromi Taniguchi became the first Japanese World Championships gold medalist, raising the excitement level at the games.  As a student at Nittai University Taniguchi had won the Hakone Ekiden's downhill Sixth Stage three years in a row from 1981 to 1983. As a fourth-year in 1983 he set a new stage record of 57:47. Course changes have rendered his record an historical artifact, but Taniguchi is still considered Hakone's greatest downhill runner.

At the 1999 Seville World Championships and 2005 Helsinki World Championships, …