Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2018

'Overlooked No More: Miki Gorman, Women’s Marathon Pioneer'

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/31/obituaries/miki-gorman-overlooked.html

Michiko Suwa moved to the U.S.A. to work when she was 28, known there as Miki Gorman. She remains the only Japanese-born athlete female or male to win the New York City Marathon.

Ten Sub-2:10 Japanese Men Lead Fukuoka International Marathon Field

The best year in Japanese men’s marathon history is drawing to a close, and with it the chances for them to qualify for the new MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials are running out. The Dec. 2nd Fukuoka International Marathon features one of the best Japanese fields ever assembled, with ten Japanese men under 2:10 since 2016 offering it a good chance of its first home-grown winner since 2004. Five have already qualified for the MGC Race and will line up there alongside dozens of hopefuls who have three ways to make the cut:

1. Go under 2:08:30.
2. Be in the top three Japanese men under 2:11:00 not counting those who are already qualified, or in the next three and under 2:10:00.
3. Average under 2:11:00 between Fukuoka and one other marathon since August, 2017.

Places at the 2019 Doha World Championships are also in the mix, but with the MGC Race scheduled to be held just a couple of weeks before Doha it’s safe to say virtually nobody is aiming for that team.

Half marathon national record hol…

Meijo University Wins Second-Straight National University Women's Ekiden

After an unexpected breakthrough last year to win its first national title in 12 years, Meijo University took full advantage of its new recruits to win the Morinomiyako Ekiden, the Japanese University Women's Ekiden Championships, for the second year in a row Sunday in Sendai.

First-year Yuna Wada, who set up Nozomi Tanaka for the gold medal in this year's U20 World Championships 3000 m, took it out hard for Meijo, winning the 6.4 km First Stage by two seconds over Naruha Sato of last year's 3rd-placer Ritsumeikan University. After a rocky start 2017 runner-up Daito Bunka University's Yuka Suzuki made up a 42-second deficit on the 5.6 km Second Stage, turning it into a 15-second lead over Ritsumeikan with Meijo dropping to 3rd.

Star Meijo first-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu got it back under control, just missing the CR on the 6.8 km Third Stage as she put Meijo back into the lad for good. DBU, Ritsumeikan and darkhorse TokyoNogyo University battled to close the gap, …

Weekend Overseas Marathon Results

Five Japanese men took on two of Europe's main marathons Sunday.

At the Huawei Venice Marathon runners battled strong headwinds the entire way, winds that combined with high tide to seriously flood the last three kilometers of the course through Venice proper. After breaking away from a Kenyan trio coming onto the long bridge into Venice winner Gebre Mekuant Ayenew (Ethiopia) paused, slowing to a walk and almost stopping at the end of the first of the fourteen bridges that punctuate the Venice course when he found waves breaking across the course ahead of him. Gebre lost over a minute on his projected time slogging through the water to win in 2:13:23.

Women's winner Angela Jemesunde Tanui (Kenya) lost even more time as the water continued to rise, dropping off a steady sub-2:27 pace to finish in 2:31:30. Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), expected to challenge Gebre for the win, fell off the pace after only 5 km and, looking heavy and tight, slowe…

Venice, Frankfurt and the National University Women's Championships - Weekend Road Racing Preview

Three main races make up the lion's share of this road racing action, two abroad and one on home ground.

Bouncing back from a bad run three weeks ago at the Chicago Marathon, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will make his Italian debut at the Huawei Venice Marathon with support from JRN.

Since Chicago Kawauchi has raced twice, a 1:05:18 the weekend after Chicago at the Namerikawa Half Marathon and a 1:00:48 for 2nd at last weekend's Takashimadaira 20 km.The Takashimadaira time equates to a 1:04:08 half marathon, and given that rate rate of improvement over Namerikawa and his 14:47 closing split he is optimistic about Venice.

"If the pack gets into a good rhythm early on then I think I can run in 2:10 to 2:12 range," he said. Most years that would put him in contention for the win in Venice, and with his 2018 best standing at 2:11:46 and the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on Italian soil at 2:12:51 he's got good secondary a…

Former 10000 m National Record Holder and Olympic Marathoner Izumi Maki Dies of Breast Cancer at Age 49

On Oct. 24 it was learned that 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner and former 10000 m Japanese national record holder Izumi Maki died of breast cancer Oct. 18 at her home in Mino, Osaka. She was 49 years old.

Her coach during her days at the Globally and Wacoal corporate teams, Nobuyuki Fujita, 78, said that he last saw Maki in July at a reunion event for Wacoal alumni. "She didn't seem well at the time," he recalled. "I had heard that she was anti-cancer drug treatment, but it is still a shock."

Hisakazu Hirose, 53, assistant coach to Maki in those days and currently head coach of the Iwatani Sangyo team, visited to mourn her death on the day she passed away. Hirose last saw her in March, but at that time, he said, "She seemed totally normal. She wasn't the sort of person who would have just given up. When I saw her after she passed away it looked as though she was only sleeping, that if you called out to her she would answer. I couldn't believe it w…

Chugoku Denryoku and Mazda Break Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden Course Record

The Chugoku Denryoku and Mazda men's corporate teams raced each other to new heights at the 56th Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden, each taking over two minutes off the course record Mazda set just last year. 5 of the race's 6 stages saw new records with runners from both teams breaking the record on 3 of them.

Mazda's Kenji Yamamoto took an early lead on the opening stage, but on every remaining stage the two teams swapped position, Mazda never more than 13 seconds in front and Chugoku Denryoku never more than 28.  Chugoku Denryoku anchor Kaido Kita was down 13 seconds when he took the tasuki, but with only 5.49 km to work with he managed to turn that around and open 17 seconds on Mazda anchor Shori Arai after catching him.
Mazda's record for the 43.82 km course was 2:08:10. This year Chugoku Denryoku won in 2:05:52 with Mazda running 2:06:09. 3rd-placer Chudenko was also just off the record at 2:08:20, briefly taking the lead on the Second Stage thanks to a stage record ru…

Fukushi Leads Wacoal to Top of Wild National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier

In one of the wildest elite-level ekidens in memory, half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi ran her best race in almost 3 years to anchor the Wacoal team to the win at the Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

The field of 27 teams raced 6 stages totaling 42.195 km for one of 14 spots at Nationals alongside last year's top 8. Things were complicated by the disqualification of 2017 national champion Universal Entertainment, which found itself back at the Princess Ekiden to requalify. Sayaka Sato got things off to a good start for Sekisui Kagaku, winning the 7.0 km First Stage in 22:36 just off the CR. 4 seconds back was Shiori Yano, whose Canon AC Kyushu team missed Nationals by a minute last year. and another 5 seconds behind was Miku Daido of the debuting Iwatani Sangyo team.



Coached by marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi's former coach Hisakazu Hirose, Iwatani Sangyo's next …

Kamino Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

With last week's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai having changed from 20 km to the half marathon distance the Takashimadaira 20 km Road Race is now Japan's premier 20 km, four laps of a perfectly flat 5 km loop in Tokyo's northwestern suburbs. Working his way back from a DNF last month at the Berlin Marathon, independent Daichi Kamino (New Balance) went head-to-head this year with 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), a regular at Takashimadaira.

After a slow 15:27 opening lap Kamino went to the front, picking up the pace to 15:18 for the second lap and cutting the lead group down from a dozen to six. 2014 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Koki Takada (Sumitomo Denko) and collegiate men Kotaro Hirata (Teikyo Univ.), Fuma Nakamura (Teikyo Univ.) and Tomoya Yoneda (Tokai Univ.) hung with Kamino and Kawauchi through a 15:15 third lap until Kamino attacked again.

Hirata and Kawauchi tried to follow, but Kamino was too much to keep up with. Running alone the …

Kimunyan Runs World-Leading 10000 m at Nittai - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF may have unilaterally declared the long distance track season over last week, but in Japan autumn track is in full swing as athletes at all levels prepare for championship ekiden season.

The biggest race of the weekend was the men's 10000 m A-heat at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials. Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu) led a small group including 2014 Commonwealth Games 5000 m gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) out at a steady pace around 27:10. By halfway Kimunyan was alone but still rock steady with a 13:35 split.

From 7000 m on he slowed gradually toward the 27:19.62 world-leading time run by Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) at this year's Commonwealth Games, but with a hard kick over the last lap Kimunyan crossed the line 5 seconds up on Cheptegei's mark in 27:14.70, a PB by 38 seconds. Ndiku also got under 28 minutes in 27:50.38. Half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) was the top Japanese man in 28:11.25, continuing to ro…

Marathon Legend Ikangaa Visits With Yamagata Middle Schoolers

Tanzanian marathon legend Juma Ikangaa, 58, visited and talked with students at Kita J.H.S. in Nagai, Yamagata on Oct. 19. In the 1980s and early 1990s Ikangaa was one of the top marathoners in the world, representing Tanzania at three Olympic Games. Ikangaa was part of a Tanzanian delegation visiting Nagai, which will host the Tanzanian national team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The welcome event and exchange with students took place in the school gymnasium, where the visiting delegation sampled local products. After watching students show off their skill at difficult kendama moves Ikangaa tried his hand with the traditional toy. Afterwards while eating lunch he talked to students via an interpreter about various aspects of Tanzanian culture.

"Listening to Mr. Ikangaa made me interested in Tanzania," said one male student. "I'd like to try to learn Swahili." Ikangaa commented, "I was delighted to speak with the students today. I hope …

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier, Amsterdam, Changsha and More - Weekend Preview

It's a busy weekend ahead on the track and the roads at home and abroad. Saturday and Sunday's Nittai University Time Trials feature 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) in the 5000 m A-heat, where he hopes to run a season best time ahead of a return next month to the track where he set the national record at the Hachioji Long Distance Meet. Half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) is also entered in the 10000 m A-heat along with pretty much the entire Honda roster, in Shitara's case a tuneup for November's Ageo City Half Marathon.

There's also a fast 3000 m on deck Sunday at the Sumitomo Cup meet in Hyogo, where wunderkind Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) is going for time with pacing from Ethiopian Yeneblo Biyazen (Yachiyo Kogyo) and Kenyan John Maina (Fujitsu). One of Japan's top current men on the track, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) is entered both there and in the Nittai 5000 m. Saturday's Heisei Kokusai University Time …

Buenos Aires Youth Olympics - Japanese Results

Japan's small contingent of fourteen athletes brought home four medals from the 3rd Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Haruto Deguchi led the way with a gold medal in the men's 400 m hurdles. Kazuki Furusawa took silver in the men's pole vault, with Seiryo Ikeda and Koki Wada claiming silver in the men's 100 m and men's long jump. Rintaro Kaiyama had the best non-medaling performance on the boys' half of the team, finishing 5th in the 3000 m.

None of the girls on the team placed among the medals, but Yuki Kanemitsu had a near-miss in the women's 1500 m where she took 4th. Miyaka Sugata also had a strong showing in the women's 3000 m, taking 5th.

The inclusion of 4 km cross-country races on the program was an interesting move, and Kanemitsu again performed well there, placing 8th in the women's race. Now in his first hear of high school, junior high 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m national record holder Kosuke Ishida was 10th in the men's race…

Weekend Road Race Roundup

Saturday's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon was the main event of the weekend, but between that and early ekiden season track time trials across the country there were a few other notable results at home and abroad.

In Sendai, the second running of the Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon took place, an event launched last year to commemorate those lost in the 2011 tsunami and to show the area's recovery. In its first running organizers brought in then-future 2:06 man Hiroto Inoue to lead the field. This year it was 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winnerTakuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), who took more than 5 minutes off the course record with a workout-effort 2:18:37 for the win. Aki Odagiri (Takemura Seisakusho) won the women's race in 2:46:07.

In Toyama, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the Namerikawa Hotaruika Half Marathon a week after a disappointing run at the Chicago Marathon. Running completely solo he won in 1:05:18, beating 2nd place b…

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…

28:45 High Schoolers and More - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF has unilaterally declared track season over. But in Japan fall track is an integral part of ekiden season training, and it's not unusual to see many athletes drop their best 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m times of the year between October and December. Case in point, this weekend.

The biggest news came at Saturday's Nighter Time Trials in Nagasaki, where Keiho H.S. 11th-grader Hiroto Hayashida ran 28:45.75 for 6th in the 10000 m, all-time #8 among Japanese high school boys and #2 among 11th-graders. "Thank you to everyone who supported me!" Hayashida said on Twitter post-race. "I want to take this and apply to it ekiden season now." Geoffrey Gichia (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) won in 28:36.36, with Jakarta Asian Games marathon gold medalist Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:37.27.

ナイター記録会(諫早)

林田洋翔選手(瓊浦2)
28:45.75

県高校記録更新おめでとうございます🎉 pic.twitter.com/V7navKw6HQ — manamin (@kinokonoko0916) October 13, 2018
At Niigata's Autumn Time Trials a unique women's 50…

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

Star First-Year Quits Toyo University Alleging Violence by Teammates; Teammates Allege He Had a Bad Attitude

Ryu Hashimoto, at left in headband, at January's Okumusashi Ekiden.

Allegations have surfaced that members of the Toyo University ekiden team, who are targeting their first Hakone Ekiden title in five years this season, committed assault against a first-year student who had just joined the team at the start of the school year in April. The alleged victim, Student X, 18, made the allegations in an interview with gossip tabloid rag Weekly Bunshun.

In junior high school Student X had the fastest JHS 3000 m time in the country. In high school he was ranked near the top nationally, helping lead Saitama prefecture to victory at the National Men's Ekiden in January alongside half marathon national record holder and Toyo alumnus Yuta Shitara. In April he entered Toyo University on an athletic scholarship.

According to Student X, he began receiving "guidance" in the team dormitory and at training camps as soon as he joined the team. "Every night the first-years have to d…

Two Junior National Records and Four Meet Records - National Sports Festival Day Three to Five Highlights

Avoiding the worst of the typhoon that caused the season-opening national-level high school ekidens and other events to be canceled over the weekend, the National Sports Festival continued through Tuesday after day one and day two of athletics competition.

National junior records fell in the women's 5000 m racewalk, where Nanako Fujii (Edion) took 2nd overall in 21:24.40, and the junior men's 110 m hurdles, where Ko Tawada (Ogaki Shogyo H.S.) ran 13.31 (+1.5 m/s) for the win. Tawada also broke the meet record, one of four to be set over the final three days. Along with Tawada's mark, women's 5000 m racewalk winner Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) set a new meet record of 21:08.97, Takumi Murashima (Fuji Pref. Sports Assoc.) set a senior men's 800 m meet record of 1:47.45, with his teammate Taio Kanai (Fukui Pref. Sports Assoc.) breaking the senior men's 110 m hurdles record in 13.46 (+1.2 m/s).



In distance action the highlight was the junior women's 3000 m, where…