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JRN's Ten Most-Read Stories of 2018

JRN's ten most-read stories in the best year in Japanese men's marathoning history and one of the best for Japanese women.


1. How it Happened - Apr. 20
Inside the first Japanese men's Boston Marathon win in 31 years. JRN's all-time most-read story. Based on actual events. Preview.

2. Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma - June 24
Nao Kazami (Aisan Kogyo) broke the longstanding men's 100 km world record on the same course where it had been set previously. The top five all broke 6:30, with 3rd and 4th-placers Takehiro Gyoba and Hideaki Yamauchi going on to medal at the 100 km World Championships.

3. Kawauchi Breaks Sub-2:20 World Record in Sub-Zero Temperatures - Jan. 1
Running solo in below-freezing temperatures, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) became the first person to run under 2:20 in the marathon 76 times with a 2:18:59 course record win at the Marshfield Road Runners New Year's Day Marathon.

4. Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume - Mar. 25
The Guiness World Records organization formally recognized Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) as the world record holder for most sub-2:20 marathons at a ceremony following a race in his hometown.

5. The Greatest Day in Japanese Men's Marathoning History - Feb. 25
Yuta Shitara (Honda) ran a national record 2:06:11 to lead nine Japanese men under 2:10 in the greatest single marathon in Japanese history. Dickson Chumba of Kenya and Birhane Dibaba of Ethiopia won the men's and women's races outright. Preview.

6. Aoyama Gakuin Runs Down Toyo for Fourth-Straight Hakone Ekiden Title - Jan. 2/3
After falling behind Toyo University on the first day of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden, Aoyama Gakuin University came back on day two to become one of only a handful of schools to win Japan's most prestigious race four years in a row.

7. Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record - May 20
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the 71 km Nobeyama Ultra in course record time despite walking late in the race. The straw that broke the camel's back, it took him six months to physically recover from the strain.

8. Osako Brings Japanese National Record Back to Chicago - Oct. 7
Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) cracked Shitara's still-fresh national record, running 2:05:50 for 3rd at the Chicago Marathon. Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) had an overlooked breakthrough, running a 2:07:57 PB. Preview 1. Preview 2.

9. Ndirangu Wins, Robertson Sets NR, Nakamura Makes Olympic Trials in Lake Biwa Debuts - Mar. 4
Three first-timers from different corners of the globe made headlines at Lake Biwa, where Japan-based Kenyan Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) took the top spot in 2:07:53. Preview.

10. How a Former National Team Level Marathoner Developed an Eating Disorder - Aug. 22
Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara was arrested multiple times for shoplifting food, blaming an eating disorder she developed after being subjected to strict dietary restrictions at her corporate team.

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Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

2019 Japanese Distance Rankings - updated 1/21/19

JRN's 2019 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

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