Skip to main content

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 3000 m steeplechase on the women's schedule. Total numbers will again be up to 175 men and 125 women, with the steeple limited to 12 entrants. In both meets, priority will be given to JAAF-designated international-level athletes and those already named to the national teams for the Tokyo Olympics and 2020 World Half Marathon Championships.

Abashiri will likewise focus on 5000 m and 10000 m for men, with women competing over 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m. Chitose will have 1500 m, 5000 m, 10000 m and 3000 m steeplechase for men, plus 3000 m and 5000 m for women. Field sizes are planned to be the same as at the first two meets, 175 men and 125 women, with a max of 25 per heat and limited fields for 1500 m and the steeple.

Complete series information is available here in Japanese. The Hokuren Distance Challenge series is usually live streamed on the JAAF site. More information on following it live as the series gets closer.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

Kanazawa Marathon to Stop Runners at 21 Locations Due to Election

Due to be held the same day as voting in the upcoming election for the House of Representatives, runners at the Kanazawa Marathon can expect to be stopped at over 20 intersections on the course in order to allow voters on their way to the polls to pass without interference.  Scheduled to be held Oct. 31 after last year's race was canceled, the Kanazawa Marathon will take place while voting polls for the House of Representatives election are open. On race day, road closures for the marathon will be in place for up to 6 hours, but the locations of 14 polling stations on the course mean that voters will need to be able to cross through intersections. 50,000 voters are expected to use these locations, and while city officials are calling for people to utilize early voting or polling stations not affected by road closures then have made the decision to place security personnel at 21 intersections to stop runners when necessary. The Kanazawa Marathon already has this policy in place at

Weekend Overseas Marathon Results

With the Tokyo Marathon having canceled due to guidelines written in the pre-vaccine era some of Japan's top marathoners have had to go overseas this season. Men's national record holder Kengo Suzuki  (Fujitsu) was at Sunday's Chicago Marathon . Suzuki seemed to be staying calm in the lead group, but when the real move came he didn't have the same kind of closing speed he had at March's Lake Biwa Marathon and was left behind by the lead true. Suzuki ended up 4th in 2:08:50, the fastest time by a Japanese outside Japan so far this year. Seifu Tura Abdiwak  (Ethiopia) took 1st in 2:06:12. The next day at the Boston Marathon , Tokyo Paralympics women's gold medalist Misato Michishita  (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) had a quick turnaround to win Boston's first-ever T11/T12 division race. In the elite women's race Shiho Kaneshige  (GRlab Kanto) tailed the lead pack with America Elaina Tabb through the first half of the race according to plan on sub-2:30 pace. But

February's Ome 30 km Road Race Canceled Due to Pandemic

On Oct. 14 the organizers of Tokyo's Ome 30 km Road Race announced that the popular event's 55th running, scheduled for Feb. 20, 2022, will not go ahead and will instead be postponed a year. Organizers said that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic they had concerns about being able to stage the event in a way safe for runners, local residents, race staff and volunteers. The Ome 30 km's 55th running was originally scheduled for February, 2021 but was postponed to 2022, meaning the new decision will in effect be a two-year postponement.  The Ome 30 km Road Race was founded in 1967. Starting in the western Tokyo suburb of Ome, the race follows a mountainous route along the upper Tama River gorge and back. Featuring both 30 km and 10 km races, the race seen wins from Olympic gold medalists like Naoko Takahashi  and Mizuki Noguchi , and is one of Japan's most popular races for amateur runners, with over 12,000 finishers every year. In place of the 2022 event, organizers