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Showing posts from November, 2018

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invited athletes Workneh Debele (Ethiopia), Celia Sullohern (Australia) and Ayaka Inoue (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) have withdrawn from next weekend's race with injuries.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…

Hofu Marathon Elite Field

Last year's women's runner-up Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) returns to the Dec. 16 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon after a strong year racing abroad including a 2nd-place finish in extreme heat at May's Geneva Marathon. Already the most dominant winner male or female in Hofu history, Yoshimatsu will attempt to add a record seventh win to her resume three weeks after racing this Sunday's Osaka Marathon.

In the men's race, two three-time winners, Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will try to become the first man to win Hofu four times. They will face competition from Kenyan Michael Githae (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), who beat Kawauchi by over 20 seconds at last weekend's Ageo City Half Marathon, his Suzuki teammate Taiga Ito, and last year's runner-up Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo AC), like Kawauchi doubling up two weeks after Fukuoka.
49th Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Elite Field HighlightsHofu, Yamaguchi, 12/16/18
detailed field listing

Beyond Tokyo 2020

This year I was again asked to give an impromptu speech at the welcoming banquet the night before the Ageo City Half Marathon, where Ken Nakayama (Chuo Univ.) and Genki Kaneko (Josai Univ.) earned invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots in 1:01:32 for 2nd overall and 1:02:16 for 6th. This is an English transcription of what I remember saying.

Hello, I’m Brett Larner, appearing here on behalf of the New York Road Runners. So, Japanese men are doing pretty well in the marathon this year, don’t you think? Two national records, the first gold medal at the Asian Games in 32 years, and look at the results from the World Marathon Majors, the series made up of the world’s six biggest marathons. Of the four races in which top Japanese men ran, there was a 2nd place at the Tokyo Marathon, a win at the Boston Marathon, a 4th place at the Berlin Marathon in a race that saw a new world record, and a 3rd place at the Chicago Marathon. Look tw…

Ritsumeikan Wins Tango University Ekiden - Weekend Race Roundup

The Ageo City Half Marathon, which saw new men's and women's course records and a Swedish national record, was the biggest race of the weekend, but across the country and abroad were a half dozen other events with quality Japanese athletes.

Saturday morning in Kyoto was the Tango University Ekiden, the 80th edition of the Kansai Region's university men's ekiden championships. Last year's runner-up Ritsumeikan University finished up a strong season with a decision win, leading start to finish to cover the 8-stage, 84.1 km course in 4:16:00. 2017 winner Kwansei Gakuin University got off to a slow start, 44 seconds behind Ritsumeikan in 5th after the first stage and spending the rest of the race trying to catch up. After six stages it was only 26 seconds behind, but a 35:00 stage record for the 11.7 km anchor leg by Ristumeikan's Shinji Koiwa meant the end of Kwansei Gakuin's hopes. Kyoto Sangyo University was 3rd, briefly threatened mid-race by Hyogo Gakuin …

Laimoi and Yoshida Break CR, Nilsson Breaks Swedish NR, Shitara, Kamino and Kawauchi Set Up for Fukuoka at Ageo City Half Marathon

Every year it seems like the question is how much further can Ageo go? The answer still seems to be more. More further.

The Ageo City Half Marathon is the world's greatest half marathon, the place where Hakone Ekiden-bound universities line up most of their rosters to help coaches whittle down the contenders for the final sixteen-man Hakone lineup. Perfect conditions at this year's race meant something special.

Four runners from Chuo Gakuin University led by Takumi Yokokawa took it out hard, splitting 5:47 at 2 km, 1:01:00 pace, well ahead of last year's CR with the entire field in tow. A field that included national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), Hakone uphill hero Daichi Kamino (New Balance), 2017 London World Championships marathoner David Nilsson (Sweden), Kenyans Michael Githae (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Vincent Laimoi (Kokushikan Univ.) and Paul Gitonga (Kokushikan Univ.) and Ethiopian Workneh Derese (…

Shitara Returns to Ageo - Weekend Preview

It's yet another busy mid-ekiden season weekend, but there's no question what its biggest race is. In a country packed with all of the world's deepest half marathons the Ageo City Half Marathon is the deepest of them all, universities targeting the legendary Hakone Ekiden transforming what would otherwise be an ordinary country town road race into something really special as each team's runner try to convince their coaches they belong on the Hakone A-squad.

Since 2011 the New York Road Runners have thrown fuel on the fire by inviting the top two Japanese collegiate finishers to March's United Airlines NYC Half in a program conceived and coordinated by JRN. The first runner to earn an invite was Toyo University second-year Yuta Shitara, who went over and ran what was then the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S. soil, 1:01:48, in his international road racing debut. Now the half marathon national record holder and a corporate leaguer for the Honda team, Shit…

Aiming to Make 100th Hakone Ekiden, Rikkyo University Names Track Star Yuichiro Ueno as Head Coach

On Nov. 13 Rikkyo University, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2024, announced its new "Rikkyo Hakone Ekiden 2024" project, naming DeNA corporate team runner Yuichiro Ueno, 33, as head coach of its ekiden program.

A graduate of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. and Hakone powerhouse Chuo University, Ueno has been well-known for his unique personality as well as his achievements both at those schools and at the SB and DeNA teams. He will leave DeNA at the end of November and take over at Rikkyo effective Dec. 1 to lead its ekiden team to qualify for the 100th Hakone Ekiden in 2024. He plans to remain active as an athlete, training directly alongside the athletes he will supervise.

If successful it will be Rikkyo's first time qualifying for the Hakone Ekiden since 1968. For a school more than half a century removed from the Hakone frontlines Rikkyo's new development project is an ambitious one, and the appointment of the idiosyncratic Ueno as head coach adds …

Yoshitomi and Matsumura Lead Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons with nearly 30,000 finishers, his year's Osaka Marathon takes place Nov. 25. At the elite level Osaka has carved an interesting place for itself as a sort of unofficial amateur Japanese women's national championships, with just about all of Japan's sub-2:40 amateur women entered. 2017 winner Yumiko Kinoshita (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) leads 6 of last year's top 7 including Mitsuko Ino (Linkstyle), who finished just 1 second behind Kinoshita in the last edition, and 2016 Osaka winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.). But they have serious competition ahead of them this time in the form of quasi-corporate leaguer Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead), fresh from a 2:30:09 PB and CR win at the Nov. 11 Fukuoka Marathon, and 2:31:09 Moroccan Soud Kanbouchia. First-timer Felista Wambui (Kenya) is a wildcard. The high-volume racer Yoshitomi is the heavy favorite, the only question really being whether she can finally break 2:30 for the first time.

The…

Yoshitomi Breaks Fukuoka Marathon Course Record by Over 7 Minutes

The 2018 Fukuoka Marathon took place Nov. 11 on a course from downtown Fukuoka to Itoshima. In the women's race winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) ran 2:30:09, taking 7:01 off the course record and 7 seconds off her PB. Surprised and elated, she told reporters, "I never thought I'd run this kind of time here!"
Coming in the early part of the marathon season, Yoshitomi said, "This race was mostly about confirming my condition. I wasn't thinking about running a PB." Until 5 km she was running slower than the kind of pace that would make her tired in training. Mid-race she came across one of her regular training partners, Hiroaki Iwanaga (GGRC Kumamoto) and thought to herself, "If you run with him you might be able to just break 2:30." Never slowing down all the way until the end, Yoshitomi's run turned out what she called "unexpectedly" well.
Yoshitomi will run the 4th Saitama International Marathon on Dec. 9 as part of its invite…

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

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…

Kobe Marathon Elite Field

Next weekend's Kobe Marathon is the latest Japanese race to acquire an IAAF road race label, something we'll probably be seeing a lot more of both in Japan and abroad with the IAAF's shift to a world ranking-based system that rewards performance in labeled races. The field this year perfectly follows the same boutique pattern as most other Japanese races' tiny international fields, one athlete each from the widest range of nationalities possible within a field of six to eight, plus some home soil people. With the IAAF dropping the nationality variety requirement starting in 2019 it'll be interesting to see how that impacts races like Kobe, Fukuoka International and Saitama International.

Last year's men's winner Khalil Lamciyeh of Morocco returns as the third-fastest man in the field behind newly-minted nationality transfer Weldu Negash of Norway and Kenyan Cosmas Kyeva. Saidi Juma Makula of Tanzania and Australian Liam Adams could be in range of the win, …

A Mid-Ekiden Season's Weekend Preview

Ekiden season rolls on. Sunday in Fukushima is the 34th running of the East Japan Women's Ekiden, a miniature version of January's National Women's Ekiden featuring teams made up of the best J.H.S., H.S., university, corporate and club runners from each of the 18 prefectures in eastern Japan. Most notable on the entry list is Tokyo's Hitomi Niiya, all-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m and working her way back from a five-year retirement in hopes of making the Tokyo 2020 team. Fuji TV will broadcast the race live from noon to 2:30 p.m. Japan time.

Following last weekend's East Japan and Kyushu corporate men's regional New Year Ekiden national championships qualifiers, the Kansai and Chugoku regions hold their qualifiers Sunday in Wakayama and Hiroshima. Top-placing teams from each region will go on to the New Year Ekiden on January 1st, with Sumitomo Denko and Chugoku Denryoku, featuring 2018 Hokkaido Marathon winner Naoki Okamoto, the favorites. The Kansei Corporat…

Field of 22 Teams Announced for National Corporate Women's Ekiden

The team rosters for the 22 teams entered in the Nov. 25 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships were announced on Nov. 7. The field includes last year's top 8 plus the teams who placed in the top 14 at the Oct. 21 qualifying race. Among the each team's 10 entrants are some of the country's best distance runners.

Last year's national champion Panasonic features 2018 Jakarta Asian Games national team member Yuka Hori. Going for its second national title ever, 2016 winner Japan Post will field 2018 Hokkaido Marathon winner Ayuko Suzuki and 2018 Nagoya Women's Marathon 3rd-placer Hanami Sekine. In quest of its first national-level win, 2017 runner-up Daihatsu counts 2018 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda among its lineup.
38th National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships FieldSendai, Miyagi, 11/25/18

Panasonic
Daihatsu
Japan Post
Daiichi Seimei
Tenmaya
Yamada Denki
Shiseido
Toyota Jidoshokki
Wacoal
Kyocera
Kyudenko
Seki…

Saitama International Marathon Elite Women's Field

In its fourth edition the Saitama International Marathon has taken a step up in quality thanks mostly to a move from mid-November to mid-December. Its previous timing meant that no top-level corporate league women could take part due to scheduling conflicts with the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, but with Saitama now coming afterward there's a noticeable increase in the quantity of domestic talent.

The international field is fronted by current Ethiopian Workneh Debele, 2:19:53 in Dubai earlier this year, and former Ethiopian Shitaye Habtegebrel of Bahrain, winner of this year's Hamburg Marathon in 2:24:51 and last year's Saitama runner-up. 20-year-old Dalila Gosa of Bahrain and Celia Sullohern of Australia add numbers to the sub-2:30 contingent, with Sylvia Jebiwot Kibet the lone Kenyan in the field.

The home crew will be looking to key off the internationals to pull them through Saitama's challenging course full of rolling hills and turnarounds …