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Siteki and Yoshitomi Lead Weekend Half Marathon Action (updated)

by Brett Larner

Following the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, the year's first full weekend of road racing included at least four major half marathons across the country.


At Tochigi's Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon, Kenyan Stanley Siteki, a Tokyo Kokusai University teammate of Hakone anchor stage "phantom winner" Akito Terui, outran Hakone champion Aoyama Gakuin University's alternates and B-team memeber to win in 1:03:20.  Last year's Takanezawa winner Aritaka Kajiwara was 4th in 1:03:45, exactly a minute slower than his 2016 course record.

In Tokyo, the High-Tech Half Marathon, a rebranded version of the popular Mari Tanigawa Half Marathon, saw former JR Higashi Nihon runner Shusei Ohashi win the men's race in 1:05:29.  Eri Suzuki, at 5th the top Japanese woman in last month's Honolulu Marathon, won the women's race in 1:16:57.



Now running for the minor Memolead corporate team, former #1-ranked amateur Hiroko Yoshitomi outdid Suzuki's time, winning the Oita City Half Marathon in 1:15:43 in a tuneup for the Osaka International Women's Marathon in three weeks.  Two-time Oita winner Fumihiro Maruyama and teammate Tomoya Adachi of 2017 New Year Ekiden winner Asahi Kasei scratched, leaving local amateur Hiroki Nonaka to win the men's race in 1:08:34.  A day later, Yoshitomi doubled up with a 1:16:02 win at her local Imabari Half Marathon in Saga.

Fresh back from touring the London World Championships marathon course, Yuki Kawauchi started his 2017 race calendar at the tiny Ikinoshima New Year Half Marathon near Nagasaki.  Running in heavy rain, Kawauchi won by ten minutes in 1:06:35.  Next weekend he is scheduled to return to the competitive Okukuma Half Marathon in Kumamoto.


© 2017 Brett Larner
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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

Race Entries

Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

Launched in September, 2015, Runnet Japan is an English-language branch of Runnet, Japan's dominant online entry service, catering to the international community.  The number of races offered on Runnet Japan is still limited but constantly expanding.

Other entry services like Sports Entry, TecNet and the new Sportsnavi Do still offer only Ja…

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