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Showing posts from June, 2018

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a lead group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami was the only one who could sustain the early pace, pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes and take more than 4 minutes off the world record. Kazami also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay with Kazami, Hayasaka dropped Gyoba after 75 km to take 2nd in 6:20:49. Gyoba, an editor for Japan's largest running magazine, lasted for 3rd in 6:22:…

Marathoner Matsuda Dominates 10000 m - Japanese National Championships Day One Highlights

Returning from her stellar 2:22:44 marathon debut in Osaka in January, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) delivered the highlight of the opening day of competition at the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Yamaguchi. Starting with a conservative 3:20 for the first 1000 m the pace gradually picked up thanks in large part to National Corporate Half Marathon runner-up Yuka Hori (Panasonic). Anxious to avoid a repeat of last year when she was outkicked by Matsuda over the last lap, 2016 national champ Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) launched a long surge from four and a half laps out, a move only Matsuda could follow. With one lap to go Suzuki had opened a 2 second lead, but it was nowhere near a margin of safety. Summoning up the same winning move as last year, Matsuda blew by Suzuki to win by 5 seconds in 31:52.42. Hori held on to 3rd in 32:05.52.

The day's other track final was the men's 10000 m. On a roll since his 2:06:54 breakthrough at the Tokyo Marathon in February…

Marathon National Record Holder Yuta Shitara Scores a Sweet Ride - "We're Going to Create a Legend Together"

At a ceremony in Sayama, Saitama on June 22, men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 26, was awarded a Legend luxury sedan by his corporate team sponsor Honda. Shitara was praised for cracking the national record with a 2:06:11 at February's Tokyo Marathon. "I didn't think I'd score a car out of it," he smiled. "I'm really happy to get it. I want to hit the road in it somewhere with my teammates."

The basic model of the car Shitara was awarded costs 7,000,000 yen [~$64,000 USD], but what he actually received came loaded with optional features. He was allowed to choose any model of Honda car he wanted, but it was the model's name, "Legend," that caught his attention. "I want to accomplish legendary things in the marathon," he commented. "The Legend and I are in to together for the long haul, and together we're going to create a legend."

【納車記念式典】#マラソン#日本記録 を樹立した #設楽悠太 選手に
所属会社 #Honda より「#LEGEND」が贈呈…

National Track and Field Championships Preview

Japan's National Track and Field Championships are happening this weekend in Yamaguchi. Somebody is always being selected for something at Nationals, and this year it's the Jakarta Asian Games. Most of the action will be streamed live on the JAAF site Friday through Sunday, with some breaks for the major events which will only be shown on TV.

In three of the biggest events the defending champs are absent. 100 and 200 m winner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Univ. of Florida) and 10000 m champ Suguru Osako (NOP), both U.S.-based, having bowed out with injury in Sani Brown's case and purportedly to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in Osako's. In the 100 m and 200 m the door is open for the other members of Japan's medal-winning relay squad to take home a national title, national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) the #1 seed in the 100 m and Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) ranked #1 in the 200 m.

The men's 10000 m is surprisingly weak this year, with no Japanese men und…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

Yang Runs 10.11 NR, 5000 m Meet Records Fall at National University Individual Championships

Unusually cool weather throughout the weekend worked to the advantage of the athletes in distance events at Kanagawa's National University Individual Track and Field Championships, where the meet records fell in both the men's and women's 5000 m. The poorer cousin of September's National University Track and Field Championships, the individual meet features a reduced program, no team scoring, and some competition from Taiwan. Coming just a week before the National Track and Field Championships many of Japan's best collegians tend to give it a miss, but the level of competition is often high all the same.

In the women's race first-year Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) surprised the field, breaking the meet record set six years ago by current top-level pro Rina Nabeshima by 6 seconds to win the B-heat in 15:46.84. Fourth-year Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) were both under Nabeshima's record in the A-heat in 15:49.37 and 15:5…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …

Barsosio Leads Gold Coast Women

For its 40th anniversary running Australia's Gold Coast Marathon has brought in a woman capable of giving the event a course record worthy of its gold label status, and maybe of taking a swing at the fastest marathon ever run on Australian soil, Naoko Takahashi's 2:23:14 gold medal run at the Sydney Olympics. Runner-up at last year's Paris Marathon in 2:20:59, Kenyan Agnes Jeruto Barsosio is the class of the field, almost five minutes faster than her strongest competition, fellow Kenyan Ruth Chebitok. Despite a scarcity of results this year it's Barsosio's race to lose.

That said, the long travel to Australia often takes a toll on the top competitors, leaving the top of the podium accessible to women in the 2:25-2:27 range. Along with Chebitok, Australia's Jessica Trengove and Japan's Ayaka Fujimoto (Kyocera) and Miharu Shimokado (Nitori) are positioned at exactly that level and should contend for top three at the worst. The 2015 Melbourne Marathon winner,…

City of Tottori Honors Two Men Who Saved Runner During Marathon

Two men who successfully performed emergency medical treatment upon a runner who had collapsed at March's Tottori Marathon were honored by the Tottori city government. Keitaro Noguchi, 44, a doctor who had been running in the race, and Shinya Niwasaki, 56, a spectator who had been standing nearby, received certificates of recognition for their actions.

According to the city government, during the race a man in his 40s suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness near the 24 km point on the marathon course. 10 meters further along the course at the time, Noguchi heard spectators' shouts and returned to perform CPR. Niwasaki got hold of an AED and prepared it for use while directing the flow of traffic. The male runner survived thanks to their assistance.

Tottori mayor Yoshihiko Fukazawa personally presented the certificates to the two men at a ceremony at city hall. Noguchi told him, "To be honest I was in a bit of a panic, but despite that I kept my focus and I'm glad w…

Isahaya Holds Support Event for Asian Games Marathoner Hiroto Inoue

The town of Isahaya, Nagasaki held a support event June 9 for native son Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) ahead of August's Jakarta Asian Games where Inoue will run the marathon. In front of 140 people including his parents and coaches Inoue vowed to succeed, saying, "I'm where I am thanks to all of you who have supported me this far. I want to get back to basics and put everything I have into winning the gold medal."

Inoue graduated from Iimori J.H.S. and Chinzei Gakuin H.S. in Isahaya before attending Yamanashi Gakuin University. At February's Tokyo Marathon he ran 2:06:54 for 5th to earn his place on the Asian Games team.

The support event was organized by the Isahaya Track and Field Association and the trustees of Chinzei Gakuin H.S. Isahaya Track and Field Association chairperson Atsuhiro Ogawa told Inoue, "The high temperatures in Jakarta will have a serious impact on the body, making it a race of attrition.  I hope that you arrive there in peak condition and show…

Former World-Class Marathoner Hara Admits to Shoplifting During Athlete Days Due to Coach's Severe Weight Restrictions

Accused of shoplifting 380 yen [~$3.50 USD] worth of candy from a supermarket in Ota, Gunma in February while under probation in another shoplifting case, former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 36, now a restaurant worker, underwent questioning in her second trial at Maebashi District Ota Branch Court under judge Masaya Okuyama.

Crying as she spoke, Hara confessed to having shoplifted as an elementary school student. She said that as an athlete she had developed an eating disorder due to the strict weight restrictions and had resorted to stealing food. Even after retiring, she said, "I would throw up food after eating it."

"I was always hungry, always felt thirsty," Hara said of her time as an athlete. "They put severe restrictions on my weight that went way beyond what any other university or corporate team would do." She said that after joining the corporate leagues her coach would take her wallet away from her at training camps so that she…

Hitomi Niiya Runs First Race in Almost Five Years: "I Still Totally Hate Running"

One of Japan's best long distance women is back on track. 5th in the women's 10000 m at the 2013 Moscow World Championships before declaring her retirement in January, 2014, Hitomi Niiya (30, Nike Tokyo TC) ran her first race in almost five years in the 3000 m at the June 9 Nittai University Time Trials meet. Post-race she said, "Yeah, it's been a while. Feels like I'm on my way back."

Describing herself as, "an athlete whose history is only in the past," Niiya ran 9:20.74 for 2nd in the 3000 m A-heat at Nittai. "That's a really half-assed time, huh," she said afterwards. Her bib number was 30, the same as her age now. "That pissed me off," she laughed. "I'm not happy about it." Sounding just like her old self there was no doubt that her sharp tongue, at least, hasn't lost its edge.

After running in the 2012 London Olympics, in November that year at the age of 25 Niiya was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis i…

Asian Junior Championships Day Four Highlights

Japan capped the final day of its role as host nation for the Asian Junior Athletics Championships with a pair of championships records that erased marks set by China way back in that nation’s 90’s heyday.

Nozomi Tanaka, newly-graduated from high school and opting for the club runner life like her mother, sub-2:30 amateur Chihiro Tanaka, got the party started with a 9:04.36 record in the girls’ 3000 m that took almost 6 seconds off Li Xin Lan’s 1997 mark. Her high school and club teammate Yuna Wada wasn’t far off Lan’s old record with a 9:14.13 for silver more than 20 seconds ahead of China’s Fan Liu.

The Japanese girls’ 4x400 m likewise took down a Chinese record set in 1997, running 3:38.20 for gold. India and Sri Lanka were a distant 2nd and 3rd, with China nowhere to be found in the final. One member of Japan’s 4x400 m squad, Kasumi Yoshida, doubled after winning an individual gold in the 400 m hurdles earlier in the day in 58.43. Her teammate Natsumi Murakami missed silver by 0.0…

Asian Junior Championships Day Three Highlights

Day Three of the 18th Asian Junior Athletics Championships saw yet another pair of championships records, one by the home team and another by visitors.

Yuiri Yoshida delivered the goods in the girls’ 100 m hurdles, tying the old record with a mark of 13.45 (+0.9 m/s) for gold. Ayaka Kawata and Ayano Shiomi took gold and silver in the girls’ 800 m, traditionally an area of weakness for Japan, with Ayaka Kora adding to Japan’s gold medal haul with a PB jump of 6.44 m (+0.8 m/s).

Yuka Nosue was a distant bronze in the girls’ 3000 m steeplechase, 17 seconds behind gold medalist Maristela Parami Wasanthi of Sri Lanka who set a PB of 10:21.54 to win. Japan’s girls’ 4x100 m picked up silver well back from winner China’s 45.06 gold medal run.

Jumps and throws are for the most part another area of Japanese weakness, especially on the girls’ side, and in both the pole vault and discus throw they came up empty-handed. China earned gold in both, Zuo Cheng Wu clearing 4.00 m and Huanhuan Yang thr…

Asian Junior Championships Day Two Highlights

A new meet record in the boys’ 400 m courtesy of Sri Lanka’s Aruna Dharshana topped the results on Day Two of the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Gifu. Dharshana’s mark of 45.79 led a Sri Lankan 1-2, with Japan’s Shuji Mori picking up the bronze in 47.09.

Japan earned a 1-2 of its own in the girls’ 1500 m, where Ririka Hironaka ran a PB 4:17.62 to win gold by 4 seconds over teammate Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu. Durga Pramod Deore of India was a distant 3rd for bronze.

Japan’s only other gold of the day came in the boys’ long jump, where Yugo Sakai jumped 7.61 m (-0.1 m/s) to beat China’s Keqi Zhou by just 7 cm. A missed opportunity came in the boys’ 10000 m, where Waseda University’s Yuhi Nakaya ran only 30:04.24 for silver, beaten by winner Cairen Suolang of China in a 30:01.51 PB run.

Japan also took silver in the boys’ 1500 m, Saife Saifeldin of Qatar getting the win in 3:49.30 to Reito Hanzawa’s 3:49.66 and Iraqi bronze medalist Hussein Haitham Lafta’s 3:49.75.

The Asian Jun…

Asian Junior Championships Day One Highlights

Hosts Japan scored medals in five of the seven finals on the opening day of competition at the 18th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Gifu. Following the withdrawal of teammate Rika Kaseda, Mikuni Yada was the only Japanese girl in the 5000 m but had no trouble scoring the gold medal, beating China's Li Hua Niu by 24 seconds to win in 16:31.65. Shumo Ozaki won Japan's other gold in the boys' pole vault by clearing 5.20 m for the first time.

It also took a PB for Nanako Fujii to win silver in the girls' 10000 m racewalk, finishing 4 seconds behind winner Li Ma of China 45:20.59 to 45:24.35. Likewise in the girls' shot put final, where Honoka Oyama threw a PB of 15.54 m for silver behind Chinese gold medalist Liu Ru Zhang's 16.05 m.

The day's lone Japanese bronze came in the boys' hammer throw, where Masanobu Hattori threw 69.34 m to make the podium alongside the powerful Indian duo of Ashish Jakhar and Damneet Singh. In the girls' hammer throw…

Republic of Palau Track and Field Team Tours Pre-Olympic Camp Facilities in Ibaraki: "It's a Good Environment"

As part of the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, representatives of the Republic of Palau's national track and field team arrived in Hitachi Omiya, Ibaraki on June 2 to inspect facilities for their pre-Olympic camp. On June 6 they met with deputy governor Shun Onodera and spoke enthusiastically about their plans for two years from now.

The delegation of five included Rodman Teltull, 24, a member of Palau's 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics team in the 100 m,. Deputy governor Onodera encouraged the athletes, telling them, "If you eat our local specialty natto you'll be able to stick to it in your races and win medals. I hope that you will all train well and arrive back here in two years fully prepared."

Teltull commented, "Ibaraki is cold, but it's a good training environment. We'll do our best to perform in the relays." Teltull and the others will train in the town of Hitachinaka's Kasamatsu Sports Park and elsewhere until June 1…

Why is the Number of Doping Offenders Growing in Once-Upon-a-Time Clean Japan?

An editorial by Takaomi Matsubara
A doping violation-free Olympics. How many times has that been touted as a point of pride for Japan? But in recent year the number of Japanese athletes falling afoul of doping regulations, even at the Olympics, has become conspicuous. A male cyclist in 2016. In 2017 a male swimmer, a male wrestler and a female fencer were all judged to have committed doping violations. In February this year at the Pyeongchang Olympics short track speed skater Kei Saito and again in May Rio Olympian and 2009 100 m backstroke world champion Junya Koga were both announced to have failed drug tests.

There was also the case last September of a national team-level kayak athlete who had mixed prohibited substances into a rival athlete's drink, but many of the aforementioned athletes were found to have committed violations inadvertently rather than deliberately. Others have likewise claimed that the violations were accidental, and looking at the amount of the substances i…

Hitomi Niiya to Make Comeback After Four Years Away From the Sport

On June 3 it was revealed that 2013 Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m 5th-placer Hitomi Niiya, 30, will run the women's 3000 m at the June 9 Nittai University Time Trials as part of the Nike Tokyo Track Club. Her first race in over four years, the race represents her first step on the road to a comeback in time for the 2020 Tokyo Oympic Games. According to a club spokesperson, Niiya began running again last summer. Her goal at Nittai to clear the 9:50 qualifying time for July's Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Hokkaido, where she will run the 5000 m in order to secure the 15:40.00 standard for the 2019 National Championships.

A native of Soja, Okayama, while at Kojokan H.S. Niiya won the 6.0 km First Stage at the National High School Ekiden three years in a row. Two of those runs broke the course record, with her time of 18:52 still standing as the course record. No other runner has ever broken 19 minutes. Together with her future London Olympics teammate Ris…

'A Virtual Accidental Entrant, Kenyan Wins San Diego Half Marathon'

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-rock-roll-marathon-san-diego-results-20180603-story.html

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half MarathonSan Diego, U.S.A., 6/3/18
click here for complete results

Men
1. Titus Ekiru (Kenya) - 1:01:02
2. Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) - 1:02:18
3. Josphat Kipchirchir (Kenya) - 1:02:22
4. Kenji Yamamoto (Japan/Mazda) - 1:02:45
5. Aaron Braun (U.S.A.) - 1:02:54
6. Brendan Gregg (U.S.A.) - 1:03:32
7. Hiroshi Ichida (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:53
8. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Japan/Toyota) - 1:03:57
9. Yuki Oshikawa (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:16
10. Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 1:04:29

Women
1. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) - 1:08:26
2. Jane Kibii (Kenya) - 1:12:00
3. Kaitlyn James (U.S.A.) - 1:13:52
4. Kristen Findley (U.S.A.) - 1:14:14
5. Brittney Favor (U.S.A.) - 1:15:02

Larsson and Kiptui Survive Scorching Stockholm Marathon

Record-breaking temperatures around 30 degrees prevented the kinds of times organizers hoped a new course would deliver for the Stockholm Marathon's 40th running, with Mikaela Larsson (Sweden) and Lawi Kiptui (Kenya) proving the toughest in the heat with wins in 2:40:28 and 2:13:30.

Defending women's champ Konjit Tilahun Biruk was part of an Ethiopian trio that went out on 2:35 pace, Larsson holding back with seven-time winner Isabellah Andersson (Sweden) at a slightly more conservative 2:37 pace. The front group soon stalled, and just past 15 km the Sweden pair made contact. For the next 10 km the new lead group stuck together, but as the race wore on the heat proved too much and they dropped away one by one. By 30 km Larsson had a clear lead and ran on alone to take the top spot in front of a delighted home crowd inside Stockholm's 1912 Olympic Stadium.

Beji Bekelu (Ethiopia) held on to 2nd in 2:43:55, but Andersson was run down by another Swedish runner, Caroline Almkvi…