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Showing posts from 2020

Dec. 20 Hofu Marathon to Go Ahead On Reduced Scale

A rare bit of good news about the Japanese marathon circuit. On Aug. 12 the organizers of the Dec. 20 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon announced that they will go ahead with this year's race as planned with a limited field size. A second-tier elite race with a small mass-participation field, Hofu typically has around 3000 runners in a normal year. This year it will happen with a field size of between 400 and 450.

Hofu's invited elite field is usually a dozen Japan-based male athletes. Along with them, this year's race will include around 100 men and women with Japanese Corporate League Federation registration for 2020, up to 200 male and female residents of Yamaguchi prefecture, where the race takes place, who have cleared four hours in the marathon in the last three years, and up to 100 people who live, work, or go to school in the city of Hofu and who have cleared four hours since 2017. An important race on the para sports circuit, Hofu will also accept an unspecified number of IP…

Mizuno Issues Sole Thickness Correction to July 1 Press Release for New Wave Duel Neo Shoe

On Aug. 11 Mizuno issued corrections to  a press release originally dated July 1 announcing that its all-white prototype model containing the new Mizuno Enerzy foam was being released under the name Wave Duel Neo. On its third page the updated press release corrected specifications for the shoes' sole thickness. The company apologized for any inconvenience caused by inaccurate specifications in the previous versions of the release.

On July 28, World Athletics announced new regulations governing the sole thickness of shoes used in track and field competition. The new rules specified the method by which sole thickness was to be measured. Previously, sole thickness was measured from the outsole to the midsole. The new World Athletics regulations specified that in addition to the outsole and midsole, the inner sole and insert were also to be included in measurements of thickness.

In accordance with the new regulations, Mizuno amended the specifications of both the Wave Duel Neo and W…

World Athletics' Rapid About-Face on Shoe Regulations Leaves Runners in Confusion: "It's Like They're Playing With a Stacked Deck"

On Aug. 10 World Athletics announced that revised regulations on competition footwear that it had released on July 28 had already gone into effect on that date for track events. At the time of the new regulations' announcement WA had initially said that they would take effect on Dec. 1. The regulations effectively ban the use of thick-soled shoes Nike's dominant Vaporfly and Alphafly on the track and disallow any performances run in them.

WA's July 28 announcement of revised regulations was made in preparation for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games. The new regulations specify the thickness of the sole that may be use in shoes for various disciplines, with field events apart from the triple jump and track events up to 400 m limited to 20 mm, the triple jump, track events 800 m and longer, and cross-country up to 22 mm. Nike's current models, which dominate the long distance market, have thicknesses of 36 mm for the Vaporfly and 39.5 mm for the Alphafly.

The revised reg…

Ueda Dominates Tsumagoi Skyrun

2019 Skyrunner World Series men's champ Ruy Ueda won both days of the Tsumagoi Skyrun, a new trail race held in the mountains of Gunma over the weekend with 41 men and 11 women starting each race individually at 30-second intervals. In Saturday's Vertical Race, elite entrants had to do two runs up a 3.8 km trail with 600 m of climb starting at 1470 m elevation, with their final finishing ranking based on the combined times from both runs.

On his first attempt Ueda clocked 23:45, beating Mt. Kosha Vertical Kilometer winner Ryunosuke Omi by almost two minutes. On his second run he went even faster, clocking 23:01 to seal up 1st with a total time of 46:46. Omi was 2nd in 50:57, with Shoma Otagiri 3rd in 52:20.

Skyrunning national team member Yuri Yoshizumi took the women's race, one of the few people in the elite race not to negative split as she opened with an aggressive 30:49 only to follow up in 31:20 for a total time of 1:02:09. Mt. Kosha winner Takako Takamura was a dis…

Running The Original 2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Part Two - Men's Marathon

Pre-corona, today would have been the men's marathon at the Tokyo Olympics, originally in Tokyo, then bumped off to Sapporo. For the sake of completion, for the third year in a row I ran most of the Tokyo course at the time that the race would have happened, starting at 6:00 a.m., taking temperature and humidity measurements every 30 minutes, and finishing back at the Olympic Stadium at 8:15 a.m. around the time that many of the top men would have been coming in.

Like last week's run at the original time of the women's marathon, conditions today wouldn't have been a problem for anyone who had done any kind of preparation to run a summertime marathon. Counter to the forecast, which predicted sunny skies the whole way, right before the schedule start time cloud cover rolled in over the city, helping to keep temperatures down. Humidity was high, but as per the forecast the temperature actually went down over the first 90 minutes. The humidity rose in relation to the cool…

Fukuoka Winner Hattori Does Test Run on Sapporo Olympic Course

One year before the Tokyo Olympics women's marathon, men's team member Yuma Hattori (26, Toyota) did a test run on the Olympic course in Sapporo. Hattori began at the Olympic marathon course's start point in Odori Park at 7:00 a.m., the same time the main event will kick off, looking focused, serious and silent. He seemed to concentrate on visualizing the event a year distant.

After the run, in a telephone interview Hattori's coach Toshinobu Sato commented, "There are a lot of corners and a lot of tight, narrow spots. We'll have to take care about getting tripped up and falling, especially if it's a slow first half."

Partway through the run Hattori's hat was blown off by strong winds caused by a cool low pressure system. "The weather is irregular," said Sato of the conditions in Sapporo. "If it's over 20˚C it'll be in the hot weather marathon category. It's not just the ordinary heat of midsummer. It's something dif…

Study Finds 63.9% of Elite Japanese Track and Field Athletes Use Supplements

The degree to which elite-level Japanese track and field athletes utilize supplements has become clearer. Nearly 2/3 of athletes regularly use a supplement, with higher usage among women than men, higher usage among seniors than juniors, and higher usage in long distance than in other disciplines. Those are the findings of a paper by Shogo Tabata of the Keio University Sports Medicine Center published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Supplement usage is higher among athletes than in the general population, with some studies suggesting a typical usage level of about 60%. There are a wide variety of supplements such as vitamins and minerals, but few have clear evidence of efficacy. At the same time, some products have been known to include banned substances, creating the risk of "unintentional doping" by those who use them carelessly.

Although the number of reported cases of Japanese athletes caught for doping is small, the proportion of them d…

National University Track and Field Championships to Go Ahead Without Spectators

Thank you for your continued support of the development of Japanese university athletics. In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Inter-Union Athletics Union of Japan (IUAU) is announcing that this year's 89th National University Track and Field Championships, scheduled for Sept. 11-13 at Niigata's Denka Big Swan Stadium, will not be open to spectators from the general public.

As the organizers we are deeply concerned by the resurgent nationwide spread of the virus since July, and as a consequence of those circumstances we have arrived at the conclusion that the meet must be held in a closed environment. We regret that this will disappoint and cause inconvenience for all those involved, including team members, alumni and alumnae, and family members who had planned to attend in support of their athletes, but this measure is necessary in order for the meet to take place at all under the current social situation and we ask for your understanding and cooperation.


First Two Major High School Ekidens of Season Canceled

After extensive discussion with all involved parties, the 35th Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and 40th Nihonkai Men's Ekiden scheduled for Oct. 11, the first major high school ekidens of the season, have been canceled to protect athletes, officials and local residents from the spread of the coronavirus. We would like to express our most sincere apologies to all the athletes and everyone else involved in putting on these races who had been looking forward to it with anticipation. In preparation for next year's races we will further study what countermeasures against the virus can be implemented to allow the event to be held as per usual. We look forward to seeing you next year and thank you for your support of our events.

Kurayoshi Board of Education Division of Lifelong Learning
Organizers, Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and Nihonkai Men's Ekiden

source articles:

translated by Brett Larner

2021 Kyoto Marathon, Kitakyushu Marathon and Koga Hanamomo Marathon Canceled

The 2021 Kyoto Marathon will take a step in a new direction and will be held as on online-only marathon. By using an app on their phones, runners can run the online marathon whenever and wherever they like.

To date 142,347 runners have traversed the streets of Kyoto and smiled at it riches, and we're grateful to every one of them. We extend our thanks to each of you, and to all those who have played a role in making our event possible. In return, we want to give something back and hope that the online marathon will motivate you all and serve as a bridge across these troubled coronavirus times to a better day to come. Even if we can't be together in Kyoto, our hearts are still as one. Think of Kyoto with each step you run and let this new kind of marathon give you strength to reach your tomorrow.

We'll also be holding a running event at the marathon's start point at Nishi-Kyogoku Sports Park on its original date, February 21, 2020. Details on both it and the online mar…

Mibu Town Government Hires Kenyan Runner Ngandu As Civic Running Coach

Video: Benjamin Ngandu passing 12 people to win the 2013 Hakone Ekiden Second Stage for Nihon University.

Placing a high importance on promoting a healthy lifestyle among its citizens through sports, the town government of Mibu, Tochigi has hired a Kenyan amateur runner who was once a star on the university ekiden and corporate marathon circuits to serve as running coach for local residents. The new civic employee is Benjamin Ngandu, 29.

On Aug. 3 at Mibu Town Hall Ngandu received an official letter of appointment from mayor Kazuya Kosuge. Competing against other top Kanto Region universities, Ngandu was a stage winner at the prestigious Hakone Ekiden, and as a corporate league runner he had success as a marathoner including a win at the 2016 Osaka Marathon. Three years ago he retired, taking a job at a company in Aichi and continuing to run as an amateur.

Ngandu will coach local residents in preparation for January's municipal ekiden, focusing on work with junior high school stud…

Running The Original 2020 Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Part One - Women's Marathon

Today was the original date of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's marathon, before the coronavirus hit, before the IOC moved the race to Sapporo. Two years ago I went out and did test runs on the course on Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 at the actual times that the women's and men's marathons were to have been run this year, taking temperature and humidity readings every half hour. Last year I did it three times, once on Aug. 2, once on Aug. 5 with European marathon champion Koen Naert of Belgium, and again on Aug. 9, all at the actual race time.

It doesn't really matter any more, but for the sake of completion I decided to do it this year too. If a lot of things had gone differently and the world's marathon women had run the streets of Tokyo today, what kind of conditions would they have ended up actually facing? Only one way to find out.

The picture at the top is the view down the marathon gate tunnel into the stadium right at the time the lead women would have been coming out.…

2019 Fukuoka Winner Dazza Suspended Four Years

On July 31 the Athletics Integrity Unit announced a four-year suspension for 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner El Mahjoub Dazza of Morocco. Dazza was busted on biological passport findings that indicated unrealistic hemoglobin values, the AIU rejecting his explanation of changes in intensity of altitude training as "highly improbable."

Dazza will lose all results from May 4, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020, with a four-year suspension to follow. Pending any appeals,  this means he will lose his 2019 Prague Marathon and 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon titles, in the latter case elevating runner-up Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) to winner. The correction of results will mean two straight Fukuoka titles for Toyota head coach Toshinobu Sato, whose star runner Yuma Hattori won Fukuoka in 2018, but Fujimoto will never get the same public recognition Hattori earned for his win.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Mt. Fuji Marathon, Last Remaining Japanese Marathon of 2020 With >5000 Runners, Canceled

The organizers of the Nov. 29 Mt. Fuji International Marathon announced on July 31st that this year's race has been canceled. In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis organizers had previously postponed opening race registrations, but in consideration of the health and safety of local residents in Fujikawaguchiko who would serve as race volunteers, and of the inevitability of crowded conditions at the start and at water stations, the decision was made to cancel.

In place of the marathon, the organizers plan to stage a virtual race in November. Runners from all over the world will be able to participate, and organizers are working hard on plans to make it an experience worthy of the Mt. Fuji name. Details will be announced in late August on the race website.

Translator's note: With 7,200 finishers last time, the M.t Fuji International Marathon was the last remaining Japanese marathon in 2020 with over 5000 finishers that had not yet canceled. Only the Dec. 6 Fukuoka Internati…

World's #1 10-Miler, Dec. 6 Kumamoto Kosa Road Race Canceled for First Time

On July 29 the organizing committee of the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race, the world's premier 10-miler, announced that due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, this year's 45th running scheduled for Dec. 6 has been canceled. It is the first cancelation since the race was first held in 1976.

According to organizers, they had taken steps to reduce the risk of infection at the race, but with the rapid spread of new cases within Kumamoto prefecture they decided it would be too difficult to still manage successfully.

A JAAF-certified course, the race begins and ends at the Kosa village office. Last year 170 elite athletes domestic and foreign ran in the 10 mile (16.093 km) division with additional runners in the high school boys' 10 km, junior high school boys' 5 km and women's 5 km.

Translator's note: Kosa is held the same day as the Fukuoka International Marathon, on the same island just to the southwest.

source article:…

Mar. 14, 2021 Shizuoka Marathon Canceled

At its general meeting on July 28, the organizing committee of the Shizuoka Marathon came to the decision to cancel next year's race, scheduled for Mar. 14, 2021. With no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, the organizing committee did not feel it would be possible to follow government coronavirus guidelines and ensure an environment completely free of infection risk for fans, volunteers, staff and others.

The Shizuoka Marathon is a popular event that attracts roughly 14,000 runners from across the country and abroad. Following its cancelation this year in the early days of the crisis, this represents the event's second-straight cancelation.

Translator's note: Shizuoka is at least the fourth large Japanese marathon of 2021 to have canceled so far. In its last running it had 9,802 finishers along with thousands more in accompanying shorter distances. A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December, representing over…

Marathons and Ekidens at Risk of Extinction Due to Overly Strict JAAF Coronavirus Guidelines

an unsigned editorial in the Nikkan Gendai

"The hurdles are just too high to overcome." Those are the words of a staff member at one of the Hakone Ekiden regulars.

On July 27 it was announced that the Oct. 11 Izumo Ekiden had been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis. As the first of the Big Three University Ekidens, its cancelation is bound to have an impact not just on the Nov. 1 National University Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, but on the corporate league, junior high and high school national ekiden championships, the National Women's Ekiden and National Men's Ekiden, and the major marathons' chances of being held.

"The JAAF's 'Road Race Staging Guidance' preconditions that it issued in June are extremely strict," commented the same university team leader. "It goes without saying that being able to stage a race depends upon any declaration of a state of emergency having been canceled, but if you look at the conditions listed i…

Top University Teams Join Okukuma Ekiden Field Following Izumo Cancelation

Ten top men's university ekiden teams centered in the competitive Kanto Region are expected to run the first edition of the Okukuma Ekiden in Tanagi, Kumamoto on Oct. 4. The new event will feature high school, university and corporate league teams racing each other over a 42.195 km course. Starting together, the  university and corporate team divisions will be divided into four stages, with the high school division dividing the longer stages to cover the same total distance in seven stages.

In addition to the ongoing coronavirus crisis the Tanagi area has been battered by severe rain and flooding in recent weeks, but race organizers remain determined to stage the event with measures potentially including barring spectators from the course. "The roads on the course suffered no damage from the flooding," commented a race official. "The determining factor on whether the event can go ahead will be the situation regarding the coronavirus. We will make a series of decisi…

Yonezawa and Kanno Run World Leads in Sendai

Since July 23 official track time trials have returned to Miyagi prefecture. Despite this summer's National High School Championships having been canceled local high school athletes have been training hard, and the work they put in has paid off with good results.

On July 25 the 41st Sendai Long Distance Time Trials meet took place at Athlete Park Sendai Field in Sendai's Miyagino Ward. Sendai Ikuei H.S. 2nd-year Nanako Yonezawa 16, produced the biggest result of the day in the women's 1500 m. Last season as a first-year she won the Second Stage at the National High School Ekiden Championships, contributing to Sendai Ikuei's team victory.

In the 1500 m she led from the early stages of the race, kicking off the last corner to take the win. Her time of 4:18.52 was a PB that broke the 25-year-old Miyagi prefecture high school record. It was also the fastest U18 time in the world this year and second-fastest U20 time by just 0.22. "My goal was to hit the National Cham…

Izumo Ekiden Officially Canceled

Still under discussion up to this point as to whether it could be held as scheduled on Oct. 11, the Izumo Ekiden has officially been canceled, with the municipal government of the event's host city, Izumo, Shimane, having already informed all major involved parties of its decision. Mayor Hideto Nagaoka, 69, held a press conference on July 27 to formally announce the move.

Those involved in the event and fans alike had raised their voices in support of the event going ahead when news emerged last week of the likelihood that the city government would cancel it. Inter-University Athletics Union officials were desperate to avoid a cancelation as it would have a major impact on whether other major races including the National University Ekiden and the Hakone Ekiden will go ahead this season.

But the coronavirus numbers continue to go up, not only in Tokyo but nationwide. The risks inherent in athletes and staff coming in from across the country coupled with the difficulty of securing …

Eighteen New Meet Records at 83rd Tokyo Track and Field Championships

Even more than in Osaka, top-level Japanese athletes turned out in big numbers for the 83rd Tokyo Track and Field Championships, stretched out over a leisurely four-day schedule this weekend at Komazawa Stadium. Despite terrible weather conditions throughout the long weekend they brought new meet records in eighteen events, breaking some records that had stood for over 50 years.

All three men's sprints saw new meet records. 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's 4x100 m relay silver medalist Aska Cambridge (Nike) ran a meet record 10.29 (+0.3) to win his 100 m opening heat, improved that to 10.26 (-0.3) to take his semifinal, then took the record further again with a 10.22 (-0.8) win in the final. Keigo Yasuda (Daito Bunka Univ.) tied the men's 200 m meet record at 20.97 (-1.0) to win the final. Daichi Inoue (Nihon Univ.) ran 46.81 to break the previous men's 400 m meet record of 47.05, set in 1996 before he was born.

Men's middle distance also had new meet records ac…