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Showing posts from April, 2020

Because It's There - One Man, One Tree, One Hundred Miles

Last weekend saw what will probably end up as one of the best distance running performances of 2020. In Tokyo's western suburbs, on a riverbank, around a tree, for 54 hours and 40 minutes, 25-year-oldGoshi Osada ran 10,667 laps of a 15 m trail with 1 m difference between its highest and lowest points, covering 100 miles, just over 160 km, and climbing higher than Mount Everest and back down en route. Post-run JRN talked to Osada, a rising name on the trail ultra scene in Japan and Asia, about the why and how.



Looking at your history, it looks like you started doing ultras after graduating from university.
I started doing trail running during the summer of my senior year at Tokyo Kokusai University. The runs were really short in the beginning, about 20 or 30 km. From there I started building up the distance to the point where I could do high-level races, and that’s where I am now after four years.

In university were you doing ekidens and track and field?
Yes, I used to do track and…

Today's Race - 2017 Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden National University Championships

Tokyo Nogyo University, Meijo University and Daito Bunka University battle four-time defending champ Ritsumeikan University for the national title at the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden.

Hakodate and Shimada Oikawa Marathons Canceled

Following yesterday's cancelation of the Nov. 8 Fukuoka Marathon, two other large Japanese marathons did the same before the start of the Golden Week public holidays. The July 5 Hakodate Marathon and Half Marathon, with 3678 half marathon finishers and winning times of 1:02:19 and 1:08:49, and 3449 marathon finishers last year, announced on its website on Apr. 28 that it was canceling for the safety of participants, staff, volunteers and spectators. Organizers said that anyone entered this year would be able to defer their entry to the July 4, 2021 edition of the race free of charge, while anyone unable to run next year would receive their participants' t-shirt, finisher's towel, and other goods from this year's race. Details on deferral of entry will be posted on the race website at the beginning of September.

Also on Apr. 28, the Oct. 25 Shimada Oikawa Marathon, with 6589 marathon finishers and 1685 finishers in its accompanying 10 km last year, likewise announced o…

Today's Race - 1985 Hiroshima World Cup Marathon

Ahmed Salah and Takeyuki Nakayama duel at the 1985 Hiroshima World Cup marathon.

2020 Fukuoka Marathon Canceled

In the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis both in Japan and abroad and in light of the disease's constantly changing impact and the difficulty of assessing the future situation, the organizers of the 2020 Fukuoka Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 8, have made the decision to cancel this year's race. We apologize to everyone who had looked forward to the Fukuoka Marathon and to everyone involved with it, but we ask for your understanding. We hope that the coronavirus crisis comes to an end quickly and that everyone can return to their daily lives, and we ask you all to take care of both your physical and mental health until that day comes.

--the Fukuoka Marathon Organizing Committee

Translator's note: This is the mass-participation Fukuoka Marathon, not December's elite Fukuoka International Marathon. The Fukuoka Marathon had earlier suspended opening entries for this year's race as it assessed the feasibility of staging a race with a field of over 10,000 given the cu…

Top High School Coach Concerned Whether December's National Championship Ekiden Will Happen

On Apr. 26 it was announced that this year's National High School Championships have been canceled. Isao Yasuda, head coach of two-time National High School Ekiden champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S., can't how hard the situation has thrown him for a loop. "I've never experienced something like this before," he said. "As a coach, what is the right advice to give my students?"

Yasuda said that while the team hasn't been able to do anything together while schools have been shut down for the last few weeks, its athletes have each been training on their own. "The National High School Ekiden is in December and that's one of our biggest goals, especially for our third-years," he said. "All we can do is believe that the race is going to be held."

The city of Osaka has announced that it will extend its closure of all public schools until May 10.

source articles:
https://www.mbs.jp/news/sp/kansainews/20200427/GE00032765.shtml
transla…

Today's Race - 2012 Izumo Ekiden

The 2012 Izumo Ekiden, featuring Elliott Heath vs. Suguru Osako on the 8 km First Stage.




What 36-Year-Old Kentaro Nakamoto Showed Us at the Olympic Trials

an editorial by Serika Ito

As the figure on the screen grew larger, I could feel myself unintentionally getting energy from it. Just past 31 km, the oldest man in the race, 36-year-old Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) took the lead in the chase pack behind breakaway frontrunner Yuta Shitara (Honda). It was one of the memorable scenes in last September's Marathon Grand Championship (MGC) Tokyo Olympics marathon trial race.

At one point Nakamoto was more than 20 seconds behind the chase group, but he had already proven himself in heat and excelled at race tactics and catching up. "Maybe there's going to be a Tokyo Olympics for him," I thought. I couldn't help starting to get excited.

Nakamoto was 6th in the 2012 London Olympics marathon and made three World Championships teams in the marathon, finishing as high as 5th and always in the top 10. I interviewed him many times over the years as he quietly build a track record of anonymous quality. Although he ended up …

Today's Race - 2016 National Women's Ekiden

Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Ayuko Suzuki leads the Aichi prefecture team to the win at the 2016 National Women's Ekiden.

National High School Championships Canceled For First Time

On Apr. 26 the All-Japan High School Athletic Federation held a special online meeting of its executive board. In view of the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, the board decided to cancel this summer's National High School Sports Championships. A source involved in the situation confirmed the decision. Founded in 1963, Interhigh, as it is known to participants and fans, is the national championships event for 30 different high school sports including track and field. The cancelation is the first in Interhigh history.

Usually held in a single location, this summer's Interhigh was scheduled to be spread out across 21 prefectures from the northeast to Kyushu due to the difficulty of securing venues and accommodations as a result of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Federation will hold an online press conference later to discuss the reasoning behind the cancelation.

source articles:
https://news.line.me/articles/oa-mainichi/fede7173eadc
translated by Brett Larner

At a Time Like This I Think It's OK to Tell Yourself You're Doing OK

Risa Suzuki is an author, model, training instructor and runner with a sub-2:40 marathon best and a win at the 2016 Mito Komon Manyu Marathon. She wrote on her blog about feeling positive in the current situation.

I've been off running since the end of January. The reason is something I'll write about later...it's really frustrating. When I can't run like right now, I always think the people doing hard training are amazing. More and more races this fall are getting canceled because of the coronavirus. Everybody's different, but it's got to be really hard for naturally super-competitive people to stay motivated. It's probably a bit depressing for them that they're used to doing intervals and other workouts together but now can't do any training in groups. That might not be true for everyone. In my case I'd be happy just to jog.

Tracks are mostly closed now, and in the area where I live there are a lot more people out these days going for a walk a…

Today's Race - 1986 Beijing Marathon

Taisuke Kodama and Kunimitsu Ito run Japan's first two sub-2:08 marathons at the 1986 Beijing Marathon.

Today's Race - 1988 International Chiba Ekiden Men's Race

Marathon great Toshihiko Seko's final race.

Boston Marathon Winner Keizo Yamada Passes Away

On Apr. 23 it was learned that 1952 Helsinki Olympian and 1953 Boston Marathon winner Keizo Yamada passed away on Apr. 2. He was 92. Yamada was well-known for having run sub-3 in the marathon in his 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, his last sub-3 coming at age 54 at the 1981 Honolulu Marathon. He last ran Boston in 2010 at age 82, running 6:16:56.

source articles:
https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20200423-00000177-kyodonews-spo
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Today's Race - 1988 International Chiba Ekiden Women's Race

Lorraine Moller anchors the New Zealand women to the win at the 1988 International Chiba Ekiden, outrunning the U.S.A., Australia and Japan.

Sept. 27 Okhotsk Abashiri Marathon Canceled

On Apr. 23 the organizers of the Okhotsk Abashiri Marathon, originally scheduled for Sept. 27, announced that their race has been canceled due to the spread of the SARS CoV-2 novel coronavirus. The cancelation is the first since the event began in 2015. Last year 2043 people finished the marathon, with almost another thousand running its accompanying 5 km and 3 km races.

The organizers are exploring the possibility of staging a virtual race in late September as an alternative. Participants who submit the necessary evidence that they have completed 42.195 km would receive commemorative goods locally produced in Abashiri.

source articles:
https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/article/415079
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Ibigawa Marathon Organizers Produce Masks From Bib Numbers

To help with efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the organizers of November's Ibigawa Marathon have begun producing masks from unused bib numbers from past years' races. The masks will be available free of charge through a lottery, and organizers will publish the positive thoughts and words of runners who apply for the lottery via the race's official social media accounts to help inspire others not to give in to the circumstances we all face.

Amid a national shortage of masks, the race organizers came up with the idea of using extra bib numbers from past years. The masks come in two designs, one with pleats to adjust its size and the other a three-dimensional type that fits to the face. The bib numbers are hand-cut with scissors using a pre-made pattern, and have elastics attached to go around the ears. One of the people making the masks, Michiyo Naito, 49, said, "We hope that these will bring back happy memories of running the Ibigawa Marathon and h…

Today's Race - 2012 Hakone Ekiden Tenth Stage

Takashi Saito wins the 2012 Hakone Ekiden anchor stage to bring Toyo University home for the overall Hakone title. Toyo covered the complete two-day, ten-stage 217.9 km route in a course record 10:51:36, becoming the first team to break the 3:00/km barrier for the entire Hakone course.

Denka Challenge Meet Donates 15,000 Masks

On Apr. 21 the organizers of the 2nd Denka Athletics Challenge Cup meet donated 10,000 surgical masks to Niigata Prefecture. The masks were part of the supply organizers had put together for use at their meet to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The meet, a World Athletics Continental Tour bronze label event and part of the Japan Grand Prix series, was originally scheduled for June 5th and 6th at Niigata's Big Swan Stadium but was postponed to the fall and winter season.

Organizers had already donated another 5,000 masks to the Niigata city government on Apr. 17. Kimihiko Ono, head coach of meet organizers Niigata Albirex Running Club, and Albirex race walker Kai Kobayashi presented the masks to Niigata mayor Yaichi Nakahara.

source articles:
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2020042101099&g=spo
https://www.asahi.com/and_M/pressrelease/pre_11592323/
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Today's Race - 2012 Hakone Ekiden Seventh Stage

Two weeks after his 20th birthday, Toyo University 2nd-year Yuta Shitara breaks Yuki Sato's course record on the Hakone Ekiden Seventh Stage. Shitara later went on to set national records for both half marathon and marathon.

Comedian Blasts "Dumbass Runners" Who Run Without Masks

Tweeting on Apr. 20, comedian Kenji Tamura, 46, lashed out in anger at people who go running without wearing a mask. "Right now I'm walking along the river where neighborhood children play and senior citizens usually meet up," he wrote. "I couldn't believe it, but a runner not wearing a mask came huffing and puffing right next to where the kids and old people were! Dumbass runners! Enough is enough! If you want to run without a mask, stay home FFS and do it inside your own house!"

source article:
https://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/20200420/geo20042014120019-n1.html
translated by Brett Larner

Today's Race - 2012 Hakone Ekiden Sixth Stage

Takanori Ichikawa starts off Day Two of the 2012 Hakone Ekiden for Toyo University on Hakone's toughest stage, the ~900 m downhill Sixth Stage, handing off to 2nd-year Yuta Shitara.

Today's Race - 2011 Izumo Ekiden

Today's race: The 2011-2012 university men's season opener. A 2nd-year Suguru Osako on First Stage, Scott Smith on Second Stage, 2nd-year Yuta Shitara on Third Stage helping lead Toyo University to its first-ever win, and more. Toyo's win here kicked off the season that brought the university men's ekiden circuit into its modern era.

JRN Store and Memberships

Better late than never. We're finally opening JRN's online store on Teepublic. Choose from eight different JRN logo designs in custom colors of t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, notebooks, stickers and more.

Another way you can help support JRN is through a membership. JRN has always been ad-free. For the last year or so we've been using Buy Me a Coffee and have been grateful for the support people have shown for the articles they've liked. We're expanding that with a new membership feature. With a membership you'll get first look at some feature content, hopefully some exclusive content, and a thank you gift from the store.

Thanks as always, especially these days. Stay safe, and here's to the day when we're all back running, racing, and doing what we love, in Japan and everywhere else.

Brett Larner Mika Tokairin Japan Running News

Steepler Ayaka Koike Returns Home to Prepare for Tokyo Olympics Looking at One-Year Delay as a Plus

Tohoku Fukushi University alumna and 3000 m steeplechase specialist Ayaka Koike (27, Owada Jitaku Sendai) is back training at her alma mater to make the most of the extra year ahead in her bid to make the Tokyo Olympic team. Last September Koike won the 3000 mSC at the National Corporate Track and Field Championships in 10:06.06. Having once drifted away from the sport, her win marked a return to its top level nationally. In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis all of her planned races from April have been canceled, but, she has chosen to take that headwind and turn it into a tailwind.

"I came back here and set making the Tokyo Olympics as my goal, but to be honest there wasn't really enough time to be ready," she said. "I told a lot of people, 'If I had another year then it'd be pretty interesting.' Now that I've got this year, I can get in really good training. It's not a minus, it's a plus."

Due to family circumstances Koike le…

Japan to Keep MGC Single-Race Olympic Marathon Trials Format for Paris Olympic Team

Following the success of the Marathon Grand Championship single-race Olympic marathon trials, in which the top finishers in the trials race earned spots on the Olympic team, the JAAF will again use the MGC format for deciding the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon teams.

At an Apr. 17 JAAF board meeting done via video conferencing, executive Mitsugi Ogata said, "We will keep the same basic format in order to choose the Olympic team with transparency and fairness, with a multi-year qualifying period from 2021 to 2023. We will consider the exact mechanics of the process, for example whether the trials race should determine one or two people for the team. This time it was for a home-soil Olympics, so I think it will be difficult to do it exactly the same way next time."

Up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the results of a number of designated qualifying race in the season leading up to the Olympics were considered in choosing Olympic team members, but for the Tokyo Olympics a co…

Today's Race - 1987 Fukuoka International Marathon

With no races happening anywhere it's time to start dipping into the Japanese Strategic National Stockpile of race videos. We'll be mining Youtube and posting classic races every day until things are back in action or the JSNS runs out, whichever comes first. Up first, Takeyuki Nakayama solos a 1:01:55 first half in the rain at the 1987 Fukuoka International Marathon.

Japan Announces Tax Deduction for Money Lost on Tickets for Canceled Sports and Cultural Events

The Japanese government has announced a new tax incentive allowing people who bought tickets for sports or cultural events that were canceled due to the coronavirus crisis to claim non-refunded ticket fees as a deductible donation for tax purposes.

A large number of sports, cultural and arts events have made the difficult decision to abandon all their preparations and work already done in order to follow the government's request to help fight the spread of the coronavirus among fans. Pending passage of a bill by the legislature, under the new system those who have chosen not to pursue a refund from canceled cultural and sports events will be allowed to categorize the amount lost as a donation for tax deduction purposes.

The new tax system is intended to support everyone who wants to keep supporting their favorite teams and athletes and artists who even now are working hard to give us all strength and solace. The specific procedure is as follows:

1. Organizers ⇔ Agency for Cultural…

Tokyo Marathon to Let This Year's Entrants Run in Either 2021 or 2022

After canceling the mass-participation component of the Mar. 1 Tokyo Marathon due to the coronavirus crisis, on Apr. 17 its organizers announced that the mass-participation runners shut out of this year's race will be able to take part in either the 2021 or 2022 editions. Up to now the organizers' policy had been to defer entries only to 2021.

38,000 people were entered in the general division of this year's Tokyo Marathon. After its cancelation, the race went ahead with only 179 elite division men and women and 14 athletes in the wheelchair division.

This year's entrants will be able to choose which year's race they would like to do beginning in the second half of May on the official race website. The Tokyo Marathon is scheduled for Mar. 7, 2021 and Mar. 6, 2022. In either case, entry fees must still be paid. People who had signed up as volunteers for this year's race will also get preference in volunteering next year.

source article:
https://news.yahoo.co.jp/a…

JAAF Planning to Hold 10000 m National Championships in December

On Apr. 16 it was learned from an involved official that the JAAF is looking at rescheduling the National Championships 10000 m, originally planned for May 5th at the new Tokyo Olympic Stadium but postponed due to the coronavirus situation, to a December date. World Athletics recently declared that performances between the 6th of this month and Nov. 30 would not count toward Olympic qualification, making a December date ideal for any athletes who hit the qualifying standard.

Performances from December on will also count toward world rankings, another way that athletes can make the Olympics. The JAAF plans to hold the National Championships between late September and early October, but the 10000 m and combined events will be held separately. Plans call for a fall date in Nagano for the combined events.

source article:
https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/da3b84a3322806f7cb051bebe9bdc883366ab78c
translated and edited by Brett Larner