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

Shitara a Day After 2:07:50 Gold Coast Win: "Even If We Ran the Trials Right Now I'd Win"

Former marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (27, Honda) returned to Narita Airport on July 8 a day after scoring his first-ever marathon win at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon. Shitara won in an excellent course record time of 2:07:50, lending momentum to his buildup for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials just over two months away.

During the race Shitara suffered a mishap, bleeding from both nipples early on. "It rained right before the start," he said, "and once I started running it started chafing. I was a little worried about it, but if you want to compete at the top of the game then there are no excuses." Shrugging it off, even as his uniform soaked up the blood Shitara kept up his fast pace. "My training paid off in this result," he said with obvious satisfaction. "Winning gives me confidence, and I want to make good use of that after this."

Up to now Shitara has followed his own training program, never running longer t…

Japan Sweeps Half Marathon and Men's 20 km Race Walk Medals at Napoli Universiade

Japan pulled off three medal sweeps in the last two days of track and field competition at the 2019 Napoli Universiade, taking all three individual medals and the team gold medals in the men's 20 km race walk and both the women's and men's half marathons.

Koki Ikeda kicked off the medal rush Friday with a 1:22:49 win in the men's 20 km race walk, opening more than 30 seconds on teammates Masatora Kawano and Yuta Koga. The next morning the Japanese women followed the walkers' lead, waiting until the third time around the three-lap course to drop the competition. Just 19, 2019 National University Half Marathon champion Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) was really impressive over the last two kilometers, seeming to be going at an all-out sprint and opening more than 20 seconds on Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) and Yuki Tagawa (Matsuyama Univ.) for the win in 1:14:10.

#ユニバーシアード2019
男子ハーフマラソン

スタジアムで表彰待ちをしていたら伊藤くんが繰り上げで3位になった情報が入ってビックリ😳
中国人選手が指定の場所以外で給水を取ったので失格になったのですが、そのシーンを観てて給水…

Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) an…