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Showing posts from June, 2020

Live Track Racing Coming Saturday in Shibetsu

Elite-level track racing returns to Japan Saturday, July 4 with a scaled-back version of the scaled-down Hokuren Distance Challenge's opening meet in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. Twelve women's and men's races over 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m with from 10 to 23 runners per race will happen starting at 15:30 local time and going until 19:15, and it's all being live streamed at the link above.

Key names on the start list include Japan's best bet in the Olympic women's 5000 m, Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post), women's Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya), 2018's Shibetsu 5000 m winner Yuka Hori (Panasonic), 2017 Pre Classic men's mile winner Ronald Kwemoi (Komor Corp.), men's 3000 m H.S. and U20 national record holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko), defending men's 1500 m champ Masaki Toda (Sunbelx), men's 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m J.H.S. NR holder Kosuke Ishida (Tokyo Nogyo Daini H.S.), 2:07 marathoners Toshiki Sadakata (MHPS) and Tadashi …

Today's Race - 2002 National High School Boys Ekiden First Stage

16-year-old Samuel Wanjiru vs. 15-year-old Mekubo Mogusu on the First Stage of the 2002 National High School Boys Ekiden in their first year in Japan. One of the great races to ever grace Japanese TV, before the big ekidens got together and banned non-Japanese runners from running first.   This race was one of the reasons everyone in Japan knew what was coming with Wanjiru years before he went off to Europe for the first time.

Wanjiru and Mogusu came to Japan one day apart and were great rivals for the next three years. Mogusu went on to become the best collegiate runner in Japanese history, running three sub-hour half marathons his junior year at Yamanashi Gakuin University and breaking course records everywhere. Wanjiru went straight to the corporate leagues and on to marathon legend. JRN interviewed Tsutomu Akiyama, who helped bring both of them to Japan, back in 2010.

Dec. 20 Mie Matsuzaka Marathon's Inaugural Running Canceled

With regard to the inaugural running of the Mie Matsuzaka Marathon scheduled for Dec. 20 this year, after careful examination of the situation surrounding the ongoing coronavirus crisis we have come to the conclusion that it would be difficult to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved with the race. As such, we regret to announce that the first running will be postponed to Dec. 19, 2021.

Although the coronavirus crisis has subsided somewhat on a national level, there are still concerns about a second and third wave of infections, and there is still a need to develop and adapt to a new social lifestyle and to continuously employ infection control measures. It is uncertain what the future holds, and in that regard it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of infection, which makes a safe and secure event impossible.

Additionally, going ahead with planning the race amid these circumstances would place many of our sponsors and event partners in a difficult situation.…

Today's Race - 1993 Hyogo Relay Carnival Women's 3000 m

Japan-based Russian Marina Rodchenkov vs. high school-aged future world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Naoko Takahashi at the 1993 Hyogo Relay Carnival.

Omi and Takamura Win Mt. Kosha Vertical Kilometer

Races are starting to come back to Japan. Following last weekend's Smile Marathon, the Mt. Kosha Vertical Mile happened Saturday at the Kijimadaira Ski Area in Nagano. 65 men and 15 women raced the 4.5 km trail course climbing 880 m, with more in the junior high school and high school divisions and elementary school students taking on 1 and 2 km courses depending on their ages. To keep people properly distanced, runners started in 15-second intervals by expected finish time, fastest to slowest, according to a starting order published on the race website the day before the race, and scored by individual time.

高社山vertical。
トップ3のスタート!

ワタクシ自身も久々のレースを楽しめました♪

大会スタッフの皆様、ありがとうございました‼️ pic.twitter.com/IRm80ScV25 — myz塾長 (@MMiyazima) June 27, 2020
In the open men's division, #3 seeded Ryunosuke Omi ran down #2 Naoto Baba and 2019 Skyrunner World Series champ Ruy Ueda to take 1st in 30:22. Ueda held Baba off for 2nd in 31:23, with Baba keeping 3rd by 7 seconds in 32:26. 2019 Trail World…

Road Work Continues on Sapporo 2021 Olympic Marathon Course

If things had been different, the Tokyo Olympics would have been starting about a month from now. Due to the coronavirus crisis that's been postponed a year, but in Sapporo work on the marathon course continues to move forward.

The roads around Sapporo's Odori Park where the world's top athletes are scheduled to run are being made smooth and clean. Since it began in April, road work on the Olympic marathon course in the city center has been done at night. The course starts at Odori Park. After following a 20 km loop through the city, runners will cover two more laps of the northern half of the loop.

The focus of the work being done by the city's department of public works is to minimize the difference in height between manholes and the surrounding pavement in order to reduce the risk of runners falling. Project head Koji Achira commented, "As this is a marathon course our work is being done with great care to make sure there are no differences in height."

Al…

Today's Race - 2001 Hyogo Relay Carnival 10000 m

Zakayo Ngatho and Julius Gitahi go down to the wire with Canada's Jeff Schiebler just behind in the 2001 Hyogo Relay Carnival 10000 m.

Today's Race - 1998 Hyogo Relay Carnival Men's 10000 m

Julius Gitahi runs a meet record 27:11.17 at the 1998 Hyogo Relay Carnival.

Today's Race - 1991 National High School Ekiden First Stage

Future Hakone Ekiden stars and current corporate league coaches Yasuyuki Watanabe and Daisuke Isomatsu on the 10.0 km First Stage of the 1991 National High School Ekiden Championships.

University Professor Given Commendation for Saving Family of Five from Fire While Out Running

On June 24 the Fire Department of Kawanishi, Hyogo, awarded local resident Fukuzo Yoshida, 59, with a commendation for rescuing a family of five from a fire. A serious amateur runner who runs 450 km a month and has won his age group at the Osaka Marathon, Yoshida said, "The physical fitness I've maintained gave me the strength to do it."

The fire broke out at around 7:00 a.m. on May 7 in a two-story wooden house in the Tadain neighborhood of Kawanishi. Yoshida, a coach with his university's track team, noticed smoke coming from the house while out for his morning run. Seeing three people including a child on the house's balcony, Yoshida stopped and directed them to use a rainwater drain pipe to climb down from the second floor. When they safely got to ground level Yoshida entered the house with a key he received from one of them and helped two people trapped inside to escape to safety.

Yoshida helped rescue all five people about 8 minutes before the fire departm…

Today's Race - 1992 Hyogo Relay Carnival Women's 10000 m

Izumi Maki takes almost 14 seconds off the women's 10000 m national record at the 1992 Hyogo Relay Carnival.

Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course To Be Measured By End of Year, Test Event Planned

At a press conference in Sapporo on June 23, the organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games announced plans to have the Olympic marathon course in Sapporo measured and certified before the end of the year. The announcement marked a return to preparation for the Olympics, which had been suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The organizers also plan to stage a test event on the course next year at some point from March through May. Organizing committee executive Yoshiro Mori commented, "Whether it will be a half or full marathon is still a topic for discussion." City officials have responded positively to requests for use of Ohori Park and other locations, and confirmed that road work on the marathon course is expected to be mostly completed in July this year.

source article:
https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/5f32081ac224265b8564fa6bcb33e2088caa20b0
translated by Brett Larner

Today's Race - 1995 National High School Boys Ekiden First Stage

Future Olympian Julius Gitahi of Sendai Ikuei H.S. sets the still-standing course record of 27:48 for the 10.0 km First Stage at the 1995 National High School Ekiden. Because of great performances like this, most major ekidens later banned non-Japanese runners from their opening stages.

New Virtual Distance Challenge to Fill Place of Canceled National H.S. and J.H.S. Championships

Under the leadership of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota, 32, on June 22 the Virtual Distance Challenge - A Summer to Leave a Record of Your New Record, a new online competition in which junior high school and high school athletes from across the country can compete for free, was announced.

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, both this summer's National Junior High School Championships and National High School Championships were canceled. "I wanted to make sure that our athletes who will carry on our sport in the future still have something to keep their fires burning today," said Yokota of his motivation to undertake a virtual event.

Registration for the event opens July 20. Between Aug. 14 and 23 participants must upload times and videos of their performances, which will be ranked geographically and by other criteria. The videos are planned to be made available on Youtube.

Along with Yokota, the event's staff include half marathon nat…

National Championships Distance Events To Be Held Dec. 4 in Osaka

We are pleased to announce that the date and venue of the long distance component of the 104th National Track and Field Championships, postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, have been finalized.

Date: Friday, Dec. 4, 2020
Location: Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka
Events: 5000 m, 10000 m, 3000 m steeplechase

This year is the only time the 5000 m and 3000 m steeplechase will be held on the same date as the 10000 m. Taking into consideration World Athletics' determination to exclude performances until the end of November from both the world rankings and 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification, the JAAF made the decision to stage all three events on the original rescheduled date for the 10000 m, Dec. 4.

Preparations for the National Championships will go ahead while monitoring the status of the coronavirus situation. Other events at the National Championships are planned for Oct. 1-3 in Niigata. Please be aware that there is still a possibility the Championships will be canceled due to …

Tatezawa Wins Brooklyn Mile Virtual Race

Over 50 Japanese and Japan-based athletes competed with support from JRN in this weekend's Brooklyn Mile Virtual Race, the first virtual race to offer prize money to top elite-level finishers. Athletes submitted GPS data for a one-mile run done anywhere in the world within the race's three-day window, with anyone who cleared times corresponding to specific VDOT levels for their age earning a share of prize money pooled from a percentage of entry fees. The remainder of the entry fees went toward COVID-19 relief in New York.

Running in a four-man race in Setagaya, Tokyo, 2017 and 2018's 1500 m national champion and former indoor mile national record holder Ryoji Tatezawa (Yokohama DeNA RC) turned in the fastest time in the event, negative splitting a 4:01 in heavy rain. After missing most of 2019 with injury and somehow pulling it together for a course record win on the Hakone Ekiden's brutal downhill Sixth Stage in January, Tatezawa's run was a successful return to…

Today's Race - 1999 Hyogo Relay Carnival Women's 10000 m

Yuko Kawakami, Chiemi Takahashi, Ikumi Wakamatsu and Mari Ozaki go sub-32 as they battle to qualify for the 1999 World Seville World Championships. Future international-level marathoners Mizuki Noguchi, Takami Ominami, Megumi Oshima, Yuri Kano, Kayoko Obata, Yasuko Hashimoto and more were also in the race.

Today's Race - 1994 Hyogo Relay Carnival 10000 m

Future national record holder Toshinari Takaoka breaks 28 minutes in his 10000 m debut at the 1994 Hyogo Relay Carnival.

Tokyo Sees First Road Race in Over Three Months

As far as I'm aware the last road race to happen in Tokyo was the scaled-back Tokyo Marathon on Mar. 1. As fall and winter races continue to cancel one after another and even one as far away as next February's Himeji Castle Marathon talking about the possibility of cancelation, one small event with a total of 89 participants went ahead yesterday along the Arakawa River on Tokyo's northern border. Race timing pro Takuya Fujii was at the 22nd Smile Marathon and wrote about it on his blog. Photos of the race can be found there. Complete results here.

Today in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward, the 22nd Smile Marathon was held along the banks of the Arakawa River. It was the first road race I've gone to since the corona situation started (it wasn't a timing job).  The race started and finished at Ojima Komatsugawa Park. It was organized by Dan Communications Co. Ltd. This is what they have to say about the event on their official website:

The entry fee is reasonable enough to pu…

Today's Race - 1993 Izumo Ekiden

Waseda University tries to stop Yamanashi Gakuin University from winning a third-straight Izumo Ekiden at its 1993 edition.

February 2021 Himeji Castle Marathon to Decide by August Whether to Cancel

On June 19 the Himeji city government announced that it would make a decision by the end of August on whether or not the 2021 edition of the Himeji Castle World Heritage Site Marathon will go ahead as planned in late February next year. City officials are studying the status of the coronavirus crisis and the actions taken by major races in other cities.

The Himeji Castle Marathon has been held every February since its launch in 2015, but in the early days of the coronavirus crisis this year's sixth running was canceled. Planning has been going ahead for next year's seventh edition, but no firm decisions have been made yet with regard to the event's schedule or field size. In its last running in 2019 it had a total of 6,938 finishers in its marathon division, with almost 2,000 more in its accompanying 5 km, family and kids' runs.

The organizing committee met in Himeji on the 19th to discuss the current situation and outlook. No official decision was reached as to wheth…

Today's Race - 1987 Helsinki World Games Men's 10000 m

Takeyuki Nakayama breaks Toshihiko Seko's 10000 m national record by almost 7 seconds with a 27:35.33 at the 1987 Helsinki World Games. This race was well into Nakayama's marathon career and rivalry with Seko, the golden boy of Japanese athletics. After Nakayama broke Seko's marathon PB the media said, "Well, that's great, but he doesn't have Seko's track speed." This race was the direct result of that.

Famous for front running marathons at world record pace, it's really noticeable how disciplined and businesslike Nakayama was in this race, holding back until 7000 m, where he tied Seko's national record split, before opening up. It's one of the great examples of a race powered purely by negative energy.

Nov. 23 Fukuchiyama Marathon Canceled

With regard to plans to hold the Fukuchiyama Marathon on Nov. 23, 2020, after examining the current status of the coronavirus crisis nationwide we have have come to the conclusion that there are grounds for concern about the potential for a second and third wave of infection. Because it would be difficult to adequately guarantee the safety of the athletes, volunteers, fans along the course, and everyone else involved in putting the event on, we have unfortunately had to make the decision to cancel this year's race.

We thank you for your understanding of the situation, and look forward to the day coming soon when the threat of the coronavirus has been eliminated. We will do everything we can to make next year's 30th anniversary race better than ever. We look forward to seeing you all again then.

Kazuo Ohashi
Fukuchiyama Marathon Organizing Committee Director
Mayor, Fukuchiyama

Translator's note: 6,429 finishers last year, Fukuchiyama was the earliest of Japan's major fa…

Today's Race - 1995 Hakone Ekiden Day One

Waseda University, the University of Oregon of Japanese athletics, dominates Day One of the 1995 Hakone Ekiden.

Today's Race - 1995 National Track and Field Championships

The NHK broadcast of the 1995 National Track and Field Championships.

World Championships Marathoner Madoka Nakano Leaves Noritz for Iwatani Sangyo Team

After representing Japan in last fall's Doha World Championships women's marathon, on June 16 it was learned that Madoka Nakano, 28, has left the Noritz corporate team and signed with the Iwatani Sangyo team. Nakano joined Noritz in 2010 after graduating from Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin High School. She placed 4th at last year's Osaka International Women's Marathon to make the Doha team, where she was 11th overall in the World Championships marathon.

Iwatani Sangyo was founded in 2017 and is based in Mino, Osaka. Its head coach is Hisakazu Hirose, 54, who helped coach Mizuki Noguchi to the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon. Joining the team on the 16th, Nakano was optimistic, saying, "In this new environment I want to work hard to get to the national team level again. I want to make an impact in the ekiden too."

source article:
https://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/202006/0013428450.shtml
translated by Brett Larner

photo © 2019 Brett Larner, all right…

Two-Time National Champion Osaka Kunei Gakuin Girls Restart Team Practices

Two-time National High School Girls Ekiden champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S., alma mater of Tokyo Olympics marathon trials winner Honami Maeda, trained as a team June 16 at their home base in Osaka. Team members said, "We want to run Nationals again."

This summer's National High School Track and Field Championships have already been canceled due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis. The National High School Ekiden takes place in Kyoto every December. Team captain Mahiru Kobayashi was nervous about the chances of it happening. "If things keep going like this I don't know what I'll do if the ekiden is canceled," she said. "I've put the last three years into my last Nationals. I really hope it's held."

The Osaka Kunei girls resumed training as a team on June 15. "We can't take it to the next level alone," said Kobayashi. "But we can get there if we all work together."

source article:
https://www.sponichi.co…

Today's Race - 2012 Fukuoka Cross-Country Senior Men's 10 km

Saku Chosei H.S. grads Yuki Sato, Suguru Osako and Akinobu Murasawa battle it out in the 2012 Fukuoka Cross-Country Meet Senior Men's 10 km. Under then-head coach Hayashi Morozumi Saku Chosei was one of the first teams in Japan to incorporate cross-country training as a major part of its approach. All three athletes went on to run sub-28 for 10000 m and sub-2:10 for the marathon.

Shizuoka to Hold Rescheduled Prefectural High School Championships July 18-19

On June 15th the Shizuoka Prefectural High School Athletic Federation Track and Field Division announced that the canceled Shizuoka Prefectural Championships has been rescheduled for July 18 and 19 at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi, Shizuoka. The regional qualifying meets for the Prefectural Championships will take place July 4 and 5, with the Eastern Region meet happening at Tamoteki Field in Ashita Kakoiki Park, the Central Region meet at Kusanagi Field, and the Western Region meet at Ecopa Stadium itself.

In the past the regional and prefectural meets have been held over three days, but due to the current limitations on school activity hours it was determined that it would be difficult to include a weekday in the meets' schedules. The programs have been shortened to fit into a two-day weekend schedule by eliminating the semifinals in sprint events and by holding relay events with a time race format.

Limitations have also been put in place on participation in order to reduce crowding…

Today's Race - 1996 Hakone Ekiden Second Stage

Future Waseda University and Sumitomo Denko corporate team head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe's final run on the Hakone Ekiden Second Stage, taking Waseda from 9th to 1st.

Over 40 Elite Japanese Athletes Racing This Weekend's Brooklyn Mile

This weekend's Brooklyn Mile is being held as a virtual race from Friday through Sunday instead of its usual road mile format. There's no shortage of other races doing the same right now, but Brooklyn has done something unique by setting itself up with a prize money pool pulled from entry fees, with the remaining 80% going to COVID-19 relief charities. It's an innovative idea in which anyone can take part and that gives the faster end of each age group something to shoot for with funding from the mass participants.

The current instability in the area leaves a question mark as to how many of those there will be. But on paper at least the potential is there for a very competitive three days, and with everyone around the world looking for ways to adapt racing to the current situation this looks like an approach worth supporting. Over forty elite-level Japanese middle and long-distance athletes, university, corporate league and pro, female and male, will be taking part with s…

The New Kid in Town - Yamato Yoshii

Track season has been edging toward starting back up in Japan, but since March in the absence of formal races many of the top university and corporate teams have been holding intramural time trials, some done up to World Athletics standards, others more informal hand-timed events. More than any other name, the one that's come to the surface through these time trials is Chuo University first-year Yamato Yoshii.

In March Yoshii graduated from Sendai Ikuei H.S., alma mater of 2008 Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru among others. At Sendai Ikuei he wasn't a brilliant ekiden runner, his best performance a 2nd-place finish his first year on the 3.0 km Second Stage at the National High School Ekiden Championships that helped Sendai Ikuei finish 3rd overall. He followed that up with a disastrous 42nd place finish out of 47 on the prestigious 10 km First Stage the next year, then wrapped his high school ekiden career with an 8th-place finish on the 8.1075 km Third …

Today's Race - 2018 Sanyo Ladies Half Marathon

The 2018 edition of Japan's premier women-only half marathon and road 10 km. Follow the links at the end of this clip for the rest of the race.

Today's Race - 1998 Sapporo Half Marathon

Atlanta Olympics marathon bronze medalist and future Sydney silver medalist Erick Wainaina, future marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita, and the first Kenyan to go all the way through the Japanese high school, university and corporate league system, Stephen Mayaka, head-to-head at the now-defunct Sapporo Half Marathon in 1998. Atlanta gold medalist Josiah Thugwane is running in 4th in most of this clip but ends up 5th.

Today's Race - 2019 Denka Challenge Women's 800 m

Newly-crowned 800 m world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda closes out her 2019 season at the first edition of the Denka Athletics Challenge Cup in Niigata last October. The second edition of the Denka Challenge, originally scheduled for the first weekend in June, has been rescheduled to mid-September.

Osaka Marathon, One of World's Ten Biggest, Canceled (updated)

The 10th anniversary Osaka Marathon scheduled for Nov. 29, 2020 has been canceled due to the difficulty of ensuring that the event can be held in an atmosphere of safety and security during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

We apologize to all the runners who had been eagerly looking forward to this year's race, to all the local supporters who turn out to cheer roadside every year, to our volunteers, to our sponsor companies and supporting organizations, and to everyone else involved in helping put the race on, but ask for your understanding of this decision.

We look forward to a swift end to this crisis and to putting on a better race than ever next time around. Please bear with us, and we'll be back for you. Thank you.

Osaka Marathon Organizing Committee

Translator's note: With 31,594 finishers last year the Osaka Marathon is one of the world's ten largest. This year it was to make its debut as a World Athletics bronze label race. Along with Osaka, the Dec. 13 Nara Mar…

Track Returns to Japan July 4 at Hokuren Distance Challenge

On June 11 the JAAF announced that the Japanese track season will get back underway next month with the return of the annual Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Hokkaido. Originally planned as a five-meet series over the course of two weeks, this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge will happen on a reduced scale with priority going to high-level athletes.

The first two meets, July 4 in Shibetsu and July 8 in Fukagawa, will take place with short programs, limited fields, and no spectators. The third meet in Kitami has been canceled, while the fourth and fifth meets in Abashiri and Chitose are planned for July 15 and July 18.

The July 4 Shibetsu meet will host 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m for both men and women. A total of up to 175 men and 125 women will be accepted, with a max of 10 women accepted for the 1500 m and no more than 25 athletes in a single heat for any other distance.

The July 8 Fukagawa meet will have men's 5000 m and 10000 m races, with 3000 m, 5000 m, 10000 m and …