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New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden. Shitara's former Toyo teammates Takanori Ichikawa, 26, and Keisuke Kusaka, 26, are also members.

On Sept. 16 Shitara's twin brother Yuta Shitara (Honda) ran 1:00:17 to break the Japanese men's half marathon national record at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon. Hopes are high that at the Sept. 24 Berlin Marathon he will break Toshinari Takaoka's marathon national record of 2:06:16 dating back to 2002. Keita plans to make his marathon debut at the Dec. 3 Fukuoka International Marathon, having spent this summer doing base mileage. "I can't lose to Yuta, and there's nothing I'd want less than to be beaten by him," he said. Restarting his career on brand new ground, Shitara hopes to be on the starting line of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon alongside his brother.

source article: http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20170919-OHT1T50153.html
translated by Brett Larner

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2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

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Kawauchi Wins Nasu Shiobara Half Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (31, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who in April became the first Japanese man in 31 years to win the Boston Matathon, ran the 13th edition of the Nasu Shiobara Half Marathon November 3rd in Nasu Shiobara, Tochigi. 1700 people took part in the 2 km, 5 km and half marathon divisions starting and finishing in Kuroiso Sports Park in Kami-Atsusaki.

Running the half as a special guest, Kawauchi commented, "During the race I got serious." Dropping the rest of the field, he crossed the finish line 1st in 1:05:03. His nearest competition, Takashi Mino, 25, finished in 1:07:58. Triathlete Naomi Washizu, 35, won the women's race in 1:17:19.

source article:
https://www.sankei.com/sports/news/181103/spo1811030007-n1.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…