Skip to main content

Fukushi, Murayama, Shitara and Yoroizaka Take On Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km (updated)

Six Japanese athletes will line up at Saturday's Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km road race in the Czech Republic. Rio Olympian, 2013 World Championships marathon bronze medalist and 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) is the lone Japanese woman in the race. Now 35, Fukushi has mostly taken it easy since Rio, her season bests just 33:09.26 for 10000 m on the track and 33:48 for 10 km on the road. Standoffish with Japanese media about her future plans, it remains to be seen how hard Fukushi will run in Prague.

Teammates at the 2017 national champion Asahi Kasei corporate team, Kenta Murayama and Tetsuya Yoroizaka lead the five Japanese men on the list. Murayama, the U18 national record holder for 10000 m on the track and twin brother of adult national record holder Kota Murayama, ran well in the spring with a 1:00:57 for 5th at March's United Airlines NYC Half but underperformed at May's Ottawa 10 km. Yoroizaka, who has the unlucky distinction of having broken both the 5000 m and 10000 m national records but being beaten by other Japanese runners in both races, comes to Prague at the tail end of a short spin on the late summer European track circuit. With the Japanese men's road 10 km national record standing at just 28:05 there's a possible scenario in which he could land as Mr. Silver for a third time. The pair's new Kenyan training partner at Asahi Kasei, defending champion Abraham Kipyatich, will also be back to add another dimension to the equation.

Rio Olympian Yuta Shitara (Honda) is a late addition to the field, doing Prague as a tuneup for the Berlin Marathon. Viewers may remember Shitara as the do-or-die marathon debutant at this year's Tokyo Marathon who went through halfway under under 62 minutes and still ended up with a sub-2:10. Along with Murayama and Yoroizaka, Shitara's addition reunites the three members of Japan's 2015 Beijing World Championships 10000 m squad.

JRN will be onsite in Prague throughout race weekend to cover the race live. Follow @JRNHeadlines for more.

text and Murayama photo © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
Fukushi photos © 2011 and 2013 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved
Shitara/Ritzenhein photo © 2012 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Shitara Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

In a year that saw him deliver one of the most memorable debut marathons in history, a half marathon national record, 10000 m and marathon PBs and more, Yuta Shitara (Honda) ended 2017 on a high note, beating three-time defending champion Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) to win the 42nd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. Shitara, Karemi, London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), Ethiopian Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) and track ace Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran together in a lead group through the early going, but Shitara was just too much for the others to handle.

Shitara broke the tape in 45:58, only the fourth Japanese man to ever clear 45 minutes. Karemi was well under last year's winning time but nowhere close to catching Shitara, finishing 2nd in 46:10 and Inoue only 2 seconds behind him. With many corporate and university teams using Kosa to tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, it regularly produces the deepest 10 mile results i…