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31-Year-Old Watanabe Aiming for "Top 3 on Stage" at Hakone Ekiden

In preparation for its second-straight appearance at the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, Tokyo Kokusai University held an open practice session for the media at its campus in Sakado, Saitama. Among its members is 2011 World Championships 5000 m team member Kazuya Watanabe, 31. "I want to do my part to pass on the tasuki and help us make the podium," said Watanabe of his hopes for the team to improve on its 17th-place finish last time.

That time Watanabe finished 7th on Hakone's Seventh Stage. "I want to help generate momentum," he said. "If I can I want to run the Fourth Stage on Day One. I want to finish higher up in the field that I did last time, top 3 if I can." Watanabe is studying to earn a degree in physical education. During the summer he had a heavy class load. Asked about his summer training he answered tersely, "I couldn't concentrate on running." He skipped month-long team training camps in Hokkaido and Gifu in late July to attend c…

'Niiya and McSweyn Take Zatopek:10 Victories in Melbourne'

https://www.iaaf.org/news/report/niiya-mcsweyn-win-zatopek-10-2018

58th Zatopek:10Melbourne, Australia, 12/13/18
complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Japan/Nike Tokyo TC) - 31:32.50
2. Sinead Diver (Australia) - 31:50.98
3. Ellie Pashley (Australia) - 32:17.81
4. Emily Brichacek (Australia) - 32:22.38
5. Camille Buscomb (New Zealand) - 32:28.37

Women's 1500 m
1. Whitney Sharpe (Australia) - 4:16.48
2. Madeleine Murray (Australia) - 4:18.36
3. Lilli Price (Australia) - 4:18.73
4. Natalie Rule (Australia) - 4:22.15
5. Isabella Thornton-Bott (Australia) - 4:23.53
-----
7. Ran Urabe (Japan/Nike Tokyo TC) - 4:27.32

action photo © 2018 Riley Wolff/Tempo Journal, all rights reserved
trophy photo © 2018 Masato Yokota, all rights reserved

Zatopek:10 Livestreaming

Livestreaming of today's Zatopek:10 meet in Melbourne, Australia beginning at 6:25 p.m. local time. Japan's Ran Urabe and Hitomi Niiyaof the Nike Tokyo Track Club will both run, Urabe in the women's 1500 m at 7:25 p.m. and Niiya in the women's 10000 m at 8:15 p.m. Full schedule and entries here. Live results will be posted here.

Japan's Beijing Olympics Men's 4x100 m Relay Team Officially Elevated to Silver After 10 Years

On Dec. 11 the Japan Olympic Committee announced that Japan's 2008 Beijing Olympics men's 4x100 m relay team has been officially elevated from the bronze medal position to silver. The leading runner for former gold medalists Jamaica, Nesta Carter, tested positive for prohibited substances in an antidoping test, leading to the IOC stripping the Jamaican team of its medals. Carter appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but lost the appeal in June this year. The International Olympic Committee released a statement on the official change in status on Dec. 7. A medal ceremony will be held for the four team members at a later date.

The Japanese national team ran 38.15 at the Beijing Olympics. Its four members in running order were Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara. Their bronze medal was only the second Japanese Olympic medal on the track in history, the first coming 80 years earlier at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics where Kinu…

2019 Hakone Ekiden Entry Lists and Rankings

Entry lists are out for the world's biggest running event, the Jan. 2-3 HakoneEkiden university men's championships. Aoyama Gakuin University has built a near monopoly on Hakone, winning the last four years and looking this year to follow Chuo University and Nittai University as the third team in Hakone's 95 years of history to win it five years straight. But with its weakest lineup since 2015, the year AGU first rose to Hakone dominance, that won't be easy.

Using the chart above from JRN's January, 2016 article "The Shape of Things to Come" which predicted the breakthrough we've seen this year in Japanese men's marathoning based on the last 20 years of Hakone results, we've ranked the 23 teams in the 2019 Hakone Ekiden based on the combined scores of the 10 best runners on each team's 16-man entry roster.
The Win 1. Tokai University - 70 pts.
2. Komazawa University - 69 pts.
3. Teikyo University - 62 pts.
4. Aoyama Gakuin University - 61 …

Defending Champs Return to 2019 Boston Marathon

Defending champions Marcel Hug (Switzerland), Yuki Kawauchi (Japan), Desiree Linden (U.S.A.) and Tatyana McFadden (U.S.A.) will return to the April 15 Boston Marathon to lead the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team.

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…

Gosa Over Habtegebrel in Ethiopian Bahraini Duel at Saitama International Marathon

For the second year in a row Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel found herself knocked down to 2nd in the Saitama International Marathon's home straight, this time to fellow Ethiopian-born emigrant Dalila Gosa.

Part of a group of nine that immediately separated from the main body of the elite women-only race behind three pacers, both Gosa and Habtegebrel stayed at the front of the pack on mid-2:25 to low-2:26 pace as its five Japanese constituents and lone Ethiopian national Fatuma Sado dropped off one by one. When the last pacer stepped off at 30 km Habtegebrel and Gosa took turns leading in a successful effort to drop Kenyan Sylvia Kibet.

Last year Habtegebrel lost out to Flomena Cheych Daniel of Kenya by 3 seconds in the home straight, both of them ultimately having their times disallowed due to poor direction on the final corner. This time both Gosa and Habtegebrel successfully turned at the right spot thanks to improved course marking and marshaling, but Habtegebrel again lacked the…

Yamanouchi Leads Six Under Doha Standard in Deepest Women's 10000 m in World This Year

With the 31:50.00 standard for the 2019 Doha World Championships 10000 m announced earlier this week following the IAAF's about-face on its new world rankings system, Japan wasted no time in getting its people under the mark.

In cold conditions for the mid-afternoon Corporate Women's Time Trials meet at Yamaguchi's Ishin Me-Life Stadium the women's 10000 m A-heat went out strong and steady, 15:45 through halfway before the lead group began to splinter. Just two weeks after a season-worst performance at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden the Atsushi Sato-coached Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) roared back into form with a 31:16.48 meet record for the win, outkicking Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Starts) to land at #2 in the world so far this year and #8 on the all-time Japanese list. Yamanouchi and Kimanzi were the only two to clear 31:20, but all told six women made it under the 31:50 Doha standard, making the race the year's deepest worldwide.

Having fully recovered f…

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Hitomi Niiya Leaves for Australia for Comeback 10000 m: "Everything That Can Be Done Is Done"

5th in the 10000 m at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, Hitomi Niiya (30, Nike Tokyo TC) left Japan Dec. 7 for her first 10000 m since returning from five years away from the sport, the Dec. 13 Zatopek:10 in Melbourne, Australia. The Zatopek:10 will be her fifth race in a year that saw her run a 31:08 course record on the anchor stage of November's East Japan Women's Ekiden. Her condition is even better than at the time of her come-from-behind East Japan victory.
"The result is important, but everything that I could do to be ready for it is done," she told reporters. "All that's left is to run hard for 30 minutes." Since starting her comeback Niiya has run mostly 5000 m, but now her focus has shifted to 10000 m. "If you consider when I was running before a 10, I'm at about 6 or 7 right now" she said. As a test of her fitness she is setting 31:30 as her target. That is more than 30 seconds off her best but would rank her #1 in Japan and…

Fukushi, Maeda and Iwade Lead Sanyo Ladies Road Race Elite Field

The organizers of the Dec. 23 Sanyo Ladies Road Race have announced the elite field for this year's 37th running. Honami Maeda of local corporate team Tenmaya and others preparing for next September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials will be in the field, along with national record holder and Rio Olympian Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) who will return to Sanyo for the first time since 2005.

The half marathon division promises to be an exciting race between Olympic contenders. Among the eight women to have qualified for the MGC Race so far, Maeda, teammate Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) and Reia Iwade (Under Armour), the 2nd-place Japanese woman at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon, will face off. Others include Fukushi, 2017 World Championships track runner Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei), and Australian Ellie Pashley, who represented her country at this year's World Half Marathon Championships. It looks set to be a high-level battle.

The 10 km features Mai Nishiwaki and Sara Miy…

No Discussion of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Marathon Start Time at IAAF Council Meeting

IAAF executive and JJAF chairperson Hiroshi Yokokawa told media that at the Dec. 4 IAAF Council meeting in Monaco there had been no specific discussion of the proposal to conclusively fix the start time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathons at 6:00 a.m. He said that the IAAF will implement a comprehensive schedule for the entire athletics competition, including the marathons, in consultation with each director.

"The next Council meeting is not until next March," he said. "The decision has to be made before then, so the talk was that we would work on it as soon as possible. There will probably be a lot of discussion and decision making done via email." In the meantime, there are increasing calls for further countermeasures against the extreme heat expected at the Tokyo Olympics, and the Organizing Committee is continuing to review plans for event start times.

source article:
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/201812050000156.html
translated by Brett La…

Niiya to Make 10000 m Return at Zatopek:10

All-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) makes a return to the distance at Australia's Zatopek:10 next week with support from JRN after five years away from the sport. Niiya's history at the distance is short with only four track 10000 m races to her name, but good ones they were, one and all:
31:28.26, 2012 Hyogo Relay Carnival - 1st30:59.19, 2012 London Olympics - 9th31:06.67 MR, 2013 Japanese National Championships - 1st30:56.70, 2013 Moscow World Championships - 5th Following her crushing defeat over the last lap in Moscow after leading the entire race Niiya quit running and everything to do with it. But in the spring this year, now 30, she decided to try to make a comeback in hope of making the 2020 Olympic team in the 10000 m, telling the media, "I still totally hate running, but unfortunately it seems like this is where I belong." 
After three track races from 3000 m to 5000 m between June and October she made a definitive statement of in…

Vote for Nilsson for European Athlete of November

Sweden's David Nilsson has been nominated for European Athlete of November for his 1:02:09 national record at last month's Ageo City Half Marathon, where he raced Japanese national record holder Yuta Shitara through 20 km. Vote for Nilsson on FacebookInstagram or Twitter by Saturday.

photo © 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Muritu Over Fujimoto At Record-Breaking Kosa 10-Miler

Fukuoka wasn't the only big race in Japan yesterday. Just south near Kumamoto, the world's #1 10-miler took place in rural Kosa. Primarily a tuneup for the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships, the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race produced two of the fastest Japanese times ever, two national records, and record-setting depth.

Up front, a larger-than-usual contingent of Japan-based Kenyans and top-level Japanese talent including Chicago 2:07:57 man Taku Fujimoto (Toyota), Jakarta Asian Games steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) and others pushed through a 14:10 first 5 km despite warm and humid conditions and a light headwind. The lead pack gradually whittled down to five by 15 km, where John Muritu (Toyota Kyushu), Fujimoto and Cyrus Kingori (SGH Group) attacked at the base of a short downhill.

In the last sprint Muritu got away to take 1st in 45:56, with Fujimoto next in 45:57 and Kingori 3rd in 45:58. Fujimoto's time was one…

Hattori Scores First Japanese Win at Fukuoka in 14 Years

Continuing the best year in Japanese men's marathoning history, one that has seen the last generation of Hakone Ekiden talent finally deliver on the brilliance they showed at Hakone in college, former Toyo University leader Yuma Hattori (Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to become the first Japanese man to win the Fukuoka International Marathon since 2004.

In warmer than usual conditions the lead pack ran steadily through 25 km on pace for between 2:07:15 and 2:07:20, perfect for getting as many men as could take it through the rapidly closing qualification window for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials. Early casualties included World Championships medalists Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (Eritrea) and Japan's best championships marathoner, Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki). Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), who rebounded from the low point of his career this fall with excellent times in races the last two weekends, was off the back of the pac…

Debele and Sullohern Scratch from Saitama International Marathon

The Saitama International Marathon regrets to announce that invited athletes Workneh Debele (Ethiopia), Celia Sullohern (Australia) and Ayaka Inoue (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) have withdrawn from next weekend's race with injuries. Debele has been suffering from inflammation issues in her left leg, Sullohern sustained a stress fracture, and Inoue is experiencing heel pain.

In their place, organizers have invited Maryna Damantsevich (Belarus), 2:27:44 at this summer's Berlin European Championships, and Fatuma Sado (Ethiopia), 2:26:41 for the win last January at China's Xiamen Marathon.

source article:
https://saitama-international-marathon.jp/news/3308/
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Fukuoka, Kosa and Nittai - Weekend Preview

Three main races make up this weekend's action, the Fukuoka International Marathon, Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler and Nittai University Time Trials. 2018 has been the best year in history for Japanese men's marathoning, and Fukuoka is sure to add to the numbers. There hasn't been a Japanese winner in Fukuoka since Tsuyoshi Ogata in 2004, and with ten recent sub-2:10 Japanese in the field including half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) and a few others with potential for high-level breakthroughs or longshot comebacks it wouldn't be surprising to see someone overcome the relatively weak international field.

The loss of Callum Hawkins (Great Britain) to injury takes some of the spark out of the international contingent, leaving a group of East Africans at their peak a few seasons back and now in range of any Japanese man looking to run at the 2:07 to 2:08 level. 2011 World Championships silver medalist Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) is the only one to stand out of …

Komazawa University to Establish Third-Party Committee to Investigate Claims of Strife Between Coach Oyagi and School President

In response to a tabloid magazine's claims that Komazawa University president Hachiro Hasebe and others had called for the resignation of ekiden team head coach Hiroaki Oyagi, Komazawa announced on Nov. 27 that it will establish a third-party investigatory committee. "The committee will ascertain the facts of the situation and respond with appropriate severity," said the statement.

According to the gossip rag's report, in July President Hasebe's group asked Coach Oyagi to resign over financial irregularities that had come to light. Oyagi is said to have responded by calling the internal audit and demand for him to resign power harassment.

Komazawa University has won the Hakone Ekiden six times under Oyagi's leadership. Last time it finished only 12th, but at October's qualifying race it took the top spot by a wide margin and at the Nov. 4 National University Men's Ekiden it was a strong 4th.

source article:
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics…

Vote For the JAAF Athletics Awards' MVP of 2018

The JAAF is asking for fan votes on the MVP of Japanese athletics in 2018. Vote here. Fill out the voting form by Friday Japan time as follows:
e-mail addressusernamemale (男性) or female (女性)ageIf you follow the JAAF, select how.You have a chance to win prizes. Choose A for tickets to the JAAF Athletics Awards Dec. 17 in Tokyo. Choose B for a JAAF calendar. Choose C for a personalized message if your pick wins.Choose the athlete you're voting for (see below).Enter your reason for choosing that athlete.submit Worthy contenders among JAAF-nomiated long distance athletes include: Hiroto Inoue:井上大仁(MHPS) - 2:06:54 at Tokyo Marathon and first Asian Games marathon gold medal by Japanese man in 32 years, neither in Vaporfly 4%.Yuki Kawauchi:川内優輝(埼玉県庁)- First-ever Japanese winner of an Abbott World Marathon Majors race and first Japanese Boston Marathon winner in 31 years.Nao Kazami:風見尚(愛三工業)- Men's 100 km world record.Suguru Osako:大迫傑(Nike)- 2:05:50 national record in VF 4%.Yuta Shitar…

Kawauchi Wins Hasuda Road Race 3 km

The Hasuda Road Race took place Nov. 24 in and around Hasuda's Kurohama Park. 3000 people from within the city and elsewhere took part. The winner of April's Boston Marathon, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi, 31, took part as a special guest. It was the seventh time the local amateur sports group Hasuda Runties has put on the race in conjunction with sponsor Asahi Newspapers. Runners can enjoy the unique twist of eating sweets both during the race and after finishing.

Kawauchi ran in the 3 km division, winning it in 8:40. It was believed to be his best time on the Hasuda course. Afterwards he participated in a talk show event with some of his former teachers, sharing episodes from his life. Quiet in junior high school, he was elected head of the student council on a platform of promoting a campaign for students to collect manufacturers' points in order to get free stationery. In high school, he told himself, "If you give in to drowsiness you'll never succeed as…

Panasonic Wins National Corporate Women's Ekiden for Real

Elevated to the winner's circle after last year's national champion Universal Entertainment was disqualified, Panasonic did it for real this year with a wire-to-wire lead for the 2018 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships title.

Last year's First Stage winner Kaori Morita did it again this year, putting Panasonic 5 seconds ahead at the first exchange. Second runner Sakiko Naito fought off multiple attacks from Nana Kuraoka of 2013-2015 national champion Denso to keep a 2-second lead at the next exchange, where 19-year-old Nanami Watanabe took the tasuki for the longest stage of the day, the 10.9 km Third Stage.

The relatively unknown Watanabe was a revelation, obliterating 2:21~2:23 marathon trio Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal), Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) and Honami Maeda (Tenmaya), track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post), stage record holder Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) and more top-level talent to open Panasonic's lead to 57 seconds with a 34:31 stage win.

Toyota Jido…

Kanbouchia Breaks Osaka Marathon Course Record

Moroccan Soud Kanbouchia took the top spot in Japan's second-biggest marathon Sunday, breaking the Osaka Marathon women's course record to win in 2:31:19.

In the early going Kanbouchia had company from minor team corporate leaguers Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Kasumi Yoshida (Nitori) on mid-2:27 pace, but with a surge at halfway she was on her own and stayed that way until the finish. Yoshitomi, this year's Boston Marathon 10th-place finisher who set a PB and CR of 2:30:09 two weeks ago at the Fukuoka Marathon and, incredibly, won the Ohtwara Marathon on Friday in 2:37:22, dropped off after 10 km to settle into mid-2:30s pace. Yoshida lasted longer but slowed dramatically after 25 km and was quickly retaken by Yoshitomi.

But from the main pack of amateur women behind them club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) emerged to run both down, running almost even splits to take 2nd in 2:34:12, a PB by over 4 minutes. Yoshitomi hung on 3rd in 2:34:39, almost 3 minutes faster th…

18 Under 28 Minutes for 10000 m, 115 Under 29 - Weekend Track Roundup

Friday and Saturday were one of the busiest weekends of the year on the track, with high-level time trial meets going on across the country as Japan's best runners tuned up for championship ekiden season. All told 18 men broke 28 minutes and 115 went under 29 minutes for 10000 m.

This year Jakarta Asian Games steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) took a more conservative approach to prepping for the Hakone Ekiden than his 27:47.87 at last year's Hachioji Long Distance meet, opting to run his home ground Juntendo University Time Trials meet on Friday instead. Shiojiri won the 10000 m A-heat in 28:58.16, notably closing with a 58-second final lap. 
Rio Olympics 10000 m silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kyudenko) also gave Hachioji a miss in favor of staying close to home, winning Friday's Time Trial in Nagasaki 10000 m A-heat in 28:20.03 by a margin of over two and a half minutes. Jakarta Asian Games marathon silver medalist Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) wo…

National Corporate Women's Ekiden, Hachioji, Osaka and More - Weekend Preview

Hey, guess what, it's another busy weekend in Japan. 50% busier what with it being a long weekend. Here's what's up:

Friday the great Paul Tanui (Kyudenko) leads the show in the Time Trial in Nagasaki track meet, one of the few top-level Japan-based Kenyans not headed to Tokyo for the weekend. Speaking of Tokyo, also Friday is the Fuchu Tamagawa Half Marathon, once the top-level autumn half for university men but fallen on harder times. A few runners from local Komazawa University usually still line up in Fuchu.

Everyone but Tanui is headed to western Tokyo for Saturday's Hachioji Long Distance meet, one of the world's premier 10000 m races every year and site of the current Japanese national record. The man who set it, Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) is one of two Japanese men entered in the A-heat, the other being 5000 m and marathon national record holder Suguru Osako (NOP). Murayama will be going for a time under the yet-to-be-announced Doha World Championships st…