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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 middle distance. "He's back," said his coach, former 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota.

The other three men in the race, Ami AC Sharks teammates Yasunari Kusu, Rikuto Iijima and Kazuyoshi Tamogami, ran 4:08, 4:09 and 4:13. Kusu and Tamogami's times were disallowed due to problems with syncing their GPS watches, but with Kusu out of the way Iijima, the 2015 national high school champ for 800 m, landed in a four-way tie for 2nd in a group that included relative unknown Ryo Doimori (Comody Iida). Kurosaki Harima teammates Joel Mwaura and Yusuke Tamura were 6th and 8th in 4:10 and 4:12, with 2:10:13 marathoner Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin) getting into the top 10 in 4:14.

On age-grading Tatezawa was the only Japanese man to make the top 10 at 2nd, with 61-year-old Don King taking the top spot in a solid 4:52. Tatezawa, 23, was the only runner under 40 to make the age-graded top 10, the other nine athletes all from the U.S.A. and Canada.

Last year's double 800 m and 1500 m national champion Ran Urabe (Sekisui Kagaku) was 2nd overall in the women's standings in 4:41, two seconds back from winner Lianne Farber (U.S.A.). Yoshiko Sakamoto (Team F.O.R.), the 40+ national record holder for 3000 m and 5000 m, was the only other Japanese woman to make the top 10, running 4:58 paced by her husband Atsushi Sakamoto (Team F.O.R.). Urabe was the only non-American to make the VDOT age-graded best 10 at 6th. 47-year-old Kimberley Penharlow took the top spot there with a 4:51.2.

In Tokyo, a group of expat and local amateurs ran Saturday on the Kaigakan loop in front of the 2020 Olympic Stadium in hopes of breaking into the prize money. Canadian George Nicholson, 52, and American Jay Johannesen, 57, succeeded, running 5:02 and 5:30, with the U.K.'s Gary Wilberforce, 34, one second off in 4:20.

The Yamanashi Gakuin University men's team competed as a group at their home track in Kofu, Yamanashi, with the Kurosaki Harima and Suzuki corporate teams doing the same in Fukuoka and Shizuoka. Yamanashi's largest newspaper covered YGU's run, the article pictured at top, quoting head coach Masahito Ueda on the value of sports making an active contribution toward society and its top finisher Tatsuhiko Muramoto, 29th in 4:19, who said, "If we can make even a little bit of a difference through our running then we're really glad."

Brooklyn Mile Virtual Race

June 19-21, 2020
complete results

1. Ryoji Tatezawa (Japan/Yokohama DeNA RC) - 4:01
2. Collin Leibold (U.S.A.) - 4:09
2. Rikuto Iijima (Japan/Ami AC) - 4:09
2. Ryo Doimori (Japan/Comody Iida) - 4:09
2. Jeff Weinstein (U.S.A./NYAC) - 4:09
6. Matthew Lange (U.S.A.) - 4:10
6. Joel Mwaura (Kenya/Kurosaki Harima) - 4:10
8. Yusuke Tamura (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 4:12
8. Billy Ulrich (U.S.A./Brooklyn TC) - 4:12
10. Asuka Tanaka (Japan/Hiramatsu Byoin) - 4:14
no GPS - Yasunari Kusu (Japan/Ami AC) - 4:08
no GPS - Kazuyoshi Tamogami (Japan/Ami AC) - 4:13

1. Lianne Farber (U.S.A.) - 4:39
2. Ran Urabe (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 4:41
3. Aisling Cuffe (U.S.A.) - 4:46.2
4. Brianna Stratz (U.S.A./Atlanta TC Elite) - 4:47
5. Mia Behm (U.S.A.) - 4:47.4
6. Jenn Randall (U.S.A.) - 4:50
7. Kimberly Penharlow (U.S.A.) - 4:51.2
8. Amanda Ray (U.S.A.) - 4:53
9. Emmi Aguillard (U.S.A.) - 4:54
10. Sarah McCabe (Australia) - 4:58
10. Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/Team F.O.R.) - 4:58
10. Grace Bowen (U.S.A.) - 4:58
no GPS - Wakana Kabasawa (Keio Univ.) - 4:50

VDOT Age-Graded Men
1. Dan King (61, U.S.A.) - 4:52 / Level 10
2. Ryoji Tatezawa (23, Japan) - 4:01 / Level 9
3. Trevor Hart (44, U.S.A.) - 4:16.4 / Level 9
4. Sean Wada (54, U.S.A.) - 4:39 / Level 9
5. Jim Dyck (54, Canada) - 4:40 / Level 9
6. Simon Rayner (55, Canada) - 4:55 / Level 9
7. Kenneth Barbee (55, U.S.A.) - 4:56 / Level 9
8. David Westenberg (62, U.S.A.) - 5:10 / Level 9
9. Roger Sayre (62, U.S.A.) - 5:26 / Level 9
10. Doug Winn (70, U.S.A.) - 6:10 / Level 9

VDOT Age-Graded Women
1. Kimberley Penharlow (47, U.S.A.) - 4:51.2 / Level 9
2. Sue McDonald (57, U.S.A.) - 5:34 / Level 9
3. Susan Lynn Cooke (61, U.S.A.) - 5:57 / Level 9
4. Lesley Hinz (62, U.S.A.) - 6:10 / Level 9
5. Lianne Farber (28, U.S.A.) - 4:39 / Level 8
6. Ran Urabe (25, Japan) - 4:41 / Level 8
7. Aisling Cuffe (26, U.S.A.) - 4:46.2 / Level 8
8. Euleen Josiah-Tanner (45, U.S.A.) - 5:05 / Level 8
9. Denise Jie Yi Chen (14, U.S.A.) - 5:21 / Level 8
10. Amy Fakterowitz (52, U.S.A.) - 5:34 / Level 8

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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