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Ten Years of Japan Running News


Ten years ago today Japan Running News started with a story about the withdrawal of Wataru Okutani from the Japanese men's marathon team just before the start of the Osaka World Championships. The concept was to provide a high-quality and reliable source for information in English about as much of the fascinating and exciting but otherwise invisible world of Japanese distance running as possible, and in the ten years of almost daily updates since then that ideal hasn't changed.

The timing couldn't have been better, capturing the arcs of Samuel Wanjiru, Arata Fujiwara and Yuki Kawauchi, the rise of the Hakone Ekiden-driven university men's running circuit and of Japanese men's sprinting, and the buildup toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Along the way JRN has grown in ways we couldn't have expected, bringing writing jobs for publications worldwide and TV commentating work, the chance to work directly with some of Japan's best athletes and to travel around the world, and becoming the definitive English-language resource for both interested people and for other writers looking to add expertise to their own articles and books on the subject, credited or uncredited.

Below are four lists of some of JRN's best work over the last decade. The first lists our ten most popular stories by total read count, and the second gives the most-read story for each year excluding those on the first list. The third and fourth are lists of ten editor's picks of some of our favorite work that didn't necessarily rack up the views, the third made up of translations from Japanese media and the fourth of original contnet. There's no telling what the future holds, but we'd like to thank all the Japan Running News readers, supporters and colleagues over the last decade and hope that these stories remind you of some of the highs and lows of the years so recently gone by. Thanks for reading.

Brett Larner, editor in chief
Mika Tokairin, associate editor

JRN's All-Time Top Ten Most Popular Stories

  1. Last-Placer Named Winner After Entire Rest of Field Disqualified - Feb. 15, 2017
  2. Mekonnen Wins Tokyo Marathon, Amateur Kawauchi 3rd in 2:08:37 - Feb. 27, 2011
  3. Kipyego, Habtumu Win Tokyo Marathon, Fujiwara Back With 2:07:48 - Feb. 26, 2012
  4. Aoyama Gakuin University Breaks Izumo Ekiden CR in First-Ever Big Three University Ekiden Win - Oct. 8, 2012
  5. Hawkins and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Takeshita Over Muiru in Kanagawa - Feb. 5, 2017
  6. Samuel Wanjiru Shares the Secret of Training to Win - Dec. 24, 2008
  7. History Comes Calling - Kipsang and Chepchirchir Run Japanese Soil Records at Tokyo Marathon - Feb. 26, 2017
  8. Kawauchi Breaks World Record for Half Marathon in a Suit by 18 Minutes - Mar. 13, 2016
  9. Hakone Champion AGU's Isshiki Leads 27 Under 1:03 and 265 Sub-1:06 at National University Half Marathon Championships - Mar. 1, 2015
  10. Joseph Gitau Takes Surprise Win in Fukuoka in 2:06:58 - Dec. 2, 2012

JRN's Most-Read Stories by Year (excluding above top ten)

397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 20, 2007

Deeper and Deeper Goes the Greatest Half Marathon in the World - Ageo 2008 - Nov. 17, 2008

Masters Runner Yoshihisa Hosaka Sets 60+ World Record at Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon - Feb. 2, 2009

Japanese University Select Team Takes First-Ever International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2010

Ndambiri With the Win, Kawauchi With the Wonder - Fukuoka International Marathon - Dec. 4, 2011

Kenya Over Japan for Second-Straight International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2012

Mathathi Makes Transition to Marathon in Fukuoka, Kawauchi 3rd in Third Sub-2:10 of 2013 - Dec. 1, 2013

Chumba and Tsegaye Set Tokyo Marathon CRs as Five Japanese Men Break 2:10 - Feb. 23, 2014

Sonota and Nishiyama Make It a Komazawa 1-2, Yiu Breaks own NR at Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 15, 2015

Tsegay Over Makau for Fukuoka Win, Miracle-Worker Kawauchi 3rd - Dec. 4, 2016

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” - Mar. 28, 2017

Editor's Picks - Translations

Chunxiu Zhou's Japanese Coach Shinya Takeuchi Seeks to Make Personal Compensation to China for WWII - Aug. 14, 2008

Reiko Tosa's "Homemade" Training for Tokyo Finale - Mar. 18, 2009

The Man in the Wig Speaks - Mar. 25, 2009

From the Editor: Women's Marathoning and the Autumn Sky - July 2, 2009

"The Rocky of the Marathon World" - Saitama Governor Praises Kawauchi - Feb. 28, 2011

Arata Fujiwara - His Olympic Marathon Defeat in His Own Words - Aug. 22, 2012

A Group Overflowing With Individuality - Aug. 23, 2012

Aum Death Cult Defendant Kikuchi, On Trial for Tokyo Bombing, Claims She Seriously Trained to Break Marathon World Record - June 3, 2014

"I Was Afraid" - Japanese Long Distance's World Championships in Its Own Words - Aug. 31, 2015

Kawauchi on Tokyo 2020: "It Feels Like the War -- If You Step Out of Line People Call You a Traitor" - June 7, 2017

Editor's Picks - Original Content

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon - An Idea Whose Time Has Passed? - Nov. 13, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due: American and Japanese Men Aged 18-22 - Nov. 26, 2009

Wanjiru in the Words of Those Who Knew Him - May 16, 2011

Japan in Wanjiru - Dec. 19, 2011

How I Learned to Love the Ekiden and Why You Should Too - Dec. 20, 2012

A Second Chance to Make the Dream Come True - Yoshiko Sakamoto at the Zurich Marathon - Apr. 17, 2015

The Shape of Things to Come: Hakone, Where Things Are and Where They're Going - Jan. 11, 2016

Japan Surpasses U.S. as World's Largest Amateur Marathon Market - Jan. 22, 2016

The Kayoko Show: Long-Term Consequences of Agonistic Interactions Between Lobsters, and the Osaka Women's Marathon - Jan. 28, 2016

An Update on Eastern European Women in Japan - Apr. 26, 2017

Comments

Anonymous said…
10years already, time flies.
Congratulations Brett and keep them coming!!
Martin
TokyoRacer said…
Congratulations and thanks for 10 years of great reportage.
And thanks for listing the top ten stories. Somehow, I had missed the No. 1 - a classic!
koelmeyer said…
Thanks for the impeccable coverage, Brett.
I can't live without it!
Regards,
Gerard K

Most-Read This Week

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…

Running the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Part Three - Men's Marathon and Overall Summary

Today marks one year until the men's marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For the third time in the last week, once last Friday with one year to go to the Olympic women's marathon, once on Monday with a likely competitor in the men's marathon, and again today, I ran most of the Olympic marathon course taking temperature and humidity readings every half an hour to get a handle on what kind of conditions athletes in each race can expect to be facing. Between the three runs I covered about 80 km, and including the two times I did it last summer two years out from the women's marathon and men's marathon about 135 km, on the Olympic course. To get it out of the way off the bat, a couple of days ago a few readers told me that the Buy Me A Coffee button wasn't working. I think the problem has been fixed, so if you're so inclined please feel free to use it. Your support for JRN is always really appreciated.

And now on to the run.


This time out I went to the start …