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Showing posts from September, 2020

Mt. Fuji University Women's Ekiden Confirmed, Will Be Held Without Spectators

Running in the foothills of Mount Fuji to lay claim to the title of best university women's team in the country, the organizing committee of the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden invitational national championships announced that they intend for this year's race to go ahead as scheduled on Dec. 30 with carefully prepared coronavirus countermeasures in place.

Covering 43.4 km in seven hilly stages starting at Fujisan Hongu Sengen shrine and ending at Fuji Sports Park Field, the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden brings together 24 of the best university womens teams and select teams from across the country every year.

As conditions for the race to take place, there must not be a government-declared state of emergency, and the municipal governments of host cities Fujinomiya and Fuji must both give their consent. Neither any team that has had an athlete or staff member test positive for COVID-19 within a week before the race nor any team with a suspected infection on the day of the race …

Thirteen National Record Holders Lead National Corporate Track and Field Championships

Another week, another national championships on the track. This weekend it's the 68th National Corporate Track and Field Championships Friday through Sunday in Kumagaya, Saitama, bringing together the corporate leagues across events on its usual date but just ahead of a series of meets relocated from the spring and early summer including the National Track and Field Championships.

Given everything that's happened to the calendar the field is higher-level than usual with seven national record holders, none of them the defending champion in their event. Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) leads the men's long jump with a 8.40 m NR, Haruka Kitaguchi (JAL) the women's javelin throw at 66.00 m, Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) the women's 5000 m race walk in 20:42.24, Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) the men's 5000 m race walk in 18:37.22, Asuka Terada (Pasona Group) the women's 100 m hurdles in 12.97, Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) the men's 100 m hurdles in 13.25, and Naoto Tobe (JAL) …

Feb. 28 Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Canceled

With regard to the 12th running of the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon on Feb. 28, 2021, although we have pursued preparations to hold the race, in the interests of the health and safety of the runners and everyone else involved in the event, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis we have made the decision to cancel the race.

As the race's organizing committee it is a great disappointment to have to cancel it for the third year in a row, but all we can do is hope for a resolution to the crisis soon so that we can return to putting on the best race possible. We will do everything in our power to make that happen and ask for your continuing support.

Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Organizing Committee

Translator's note: Iwaki is the twelfth Japanese marathon in the first three months of 2021 with over 5,000 finishers in its last edition to cancel so far. A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December and 2021 marathon announcements to date:

Government Proposal Calls for Non-Japanese Athletes to Go Through At Least Five COVID-19 Tests to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

On Sept. 15 the Japanese government announced its proposal for anti-coronavirus measures that would allow non-Japanese athletes wishing to compete at next summer's postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to enter the country. Along with at least five tests for COVID-19 prior to competition, foreign athletes must submit a detailed itinerary of their planned movements within the country and a written oath to abide by the submitted plan. Rules and consequences for dealing with violations are still under discussion. The complete proposal is expected to be presented at a government planning meeting next week.

Under the proposal, the first test must be carried out less than 72 hours prior to departure and must return a negative result. Another test must be done at the airport upon arrival in Japan, another when entering the team's pre-Olympic base or host town, another when entering the Athletes' Village, and another before competing. Beyond these five tests, athletes will…

Revisiting the MGC Race

It's been a year since the Marathon Grand Championship race, Japan's trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games men's and women's teams. It's hard to believe it's only been a year. It seems like a different world now. The great racing, especially the men's race, the huge crowds along the course, the energy, the excitement, the anticipation of seeing Japan's best line up as legitimate contenders for medals on the streets of central Tokyo less than eleven months later. Everything may be different now, but it's worth revisiting that day now with a year's hindsight and seeing again what seemed at the time a sure sign of so many great things to come.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

JAAF Pulls Team From World Half Marathon Championships

With regard to the Japanese national team's participation in the 24th World Half Marathon Championships Oct. 17 in Gdynia, Poland, because current circumstances make it impossible to ensure that the team will be able to compete in an environment of adequate safety, we hereby announce that the decision has been made to withdraw the Japanese team.

At the present time, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a Level 3 infectious disease advisory, recommending cancelation of non-essential travel, for host country Poland. There does not appear to be any chance of a change for the better in that advisory prior to race date. Although it is possible to travel to Poland, the Japanese government's strong recommendation for a 14-day self-quarantine at home, avoidance of public transportation including from the airport to home, and other self-restrictions after returning to Japan makes it difficult to establish an adequate support system for the athletes.

source article:

Nagoya, World's Largest Women-Only Marathon, To Go Ahead With Entires Limited to Residents of Japan

Following the Fukuoka International Marathon's announcement last week that it would limit this year's race to those able to enter Japan under the government's coronavirus immigration policies effective Sept. 14, the Nagoya Women's Marathon, the world's largest women-only marathon, announced on Sept. 14 that it plans to go ahead with its tenth anniversary race on Mar. 14 next year but will limit entries to residents of Japan.

In its last full edition in 2019 Nagoya had 20,717 finishers, all women, with another 9,626 men and women in its accompanying half marathon and 4,565 in its quarter marathon. On the leading edge of the coronavirus crisis this year it canceled all but its elite women's marathon, where Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) ran 2:20:29 for the win, a new national record for an all-women race.

In 2021 the field will be limited to 11,000 plus elite division and invited athletes. A wheelchair race is also planned, and the half marathon is also scheduled to take…

'Team JUSARSA Runs Away With Women's Victory in Chaski Challenge, Team Flagstaff Holds Off Ed's Elite in Men's Virtual Marathon Relay'

Shiho Kaneshige (GRLab Kanto) anchored the winning South Africa/USA/Japan team at yesterday's Chaski Challenge Marathon Relay virtual race with support from JRN, running the 10 km stage in 34:41. Special thanks to 2:19:54 marathoner Yuma Masumoto (Team Oda) for filling in on pacing duties after Kaneshige's husband and coach Yusuke Kaneshige fell ill. Complete results and splits here.

Post race interview — Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) September 13, 2020
photo © 2020 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved

Two Meet Records and a Junior National Record to Wrap National University Championships

On and off heavy rain held back the kind of world-leading performances seen on day one and day two of the 89th National Track and Field Championships, but there was no shortage of records and near-misses on the last day of the meet.

Riku Ito (Kinki Univ.) had maybe the most surprising performance of the day, jumping 16.35 m (-0.1 m/s) for a new U20 national record, the second-best junior mark worldwide this year. Double meet records came in the men's 800 m and men's 4x400 m relay. In the 800 m, Junya Matsumoto (Hosei Univ.) held off Daichi Setoguchi (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) for the win in a meet record 1:47.02, Setoguchi also getting under the old record in 1:47.28.

The men's 4x400 m was one of the best races of the day. In heavy rain Nihon University anchor Tatsuhiro Yamamoto started with a comfortable lead over Waseda University anchor Rikuya Ito, but Ito was all in over the first 150 m to take over the top spot. Yamamoto lost ground, but over the last 100 m Yamamoto cam…

Ikeda Breaks 10000 m Race Walk Meet Record in World-Leading Time at National University Championships

Following Yuki Hashioka's world-leading men's long jump win on the first day of the National Track and Field Championships, Koki Ikeda (Toyo Univ.)  delivered the second world lead of the meet with a 38:41.45 win in the men's 10000 m race walk Saturday at Niigata's Denka Big Swan Stadium. Completely solo, Ikeda took over 8 seconds off the world-leading time and more than 36 seconds off the meet record, beating 2nd placer Yuta Koga (Meiji Univ.) by more than 1:38. Ikeda's teammate Masatora Kawano was 3rd in 40:35.20, cementing Toyo University's position as Japan's top producer of men's race walk talent alongside its success in sprints and long distance.

The day's other meet record came in the women's 100 m final. Third-year Mei Kodama (Fukuoka Univ.) won in 11.35 (-0.2), the third-fastest Japanese women's time ever, 0.03 off the collegiate national record and bringing her within 0.14 of the national record. Kodama's performance was the o…

Fukuoka International Marathon to Go Ahead With Limited Field Size

On Sept. 12 the Fukuoka International Marathon announced that this year's race will go ahead as scheduled on Dec. 6. Usually a two-tier elite/sub-elite men's race with a field of around 400, this year's race will be cut back dramatically. Along with an elite invited field of probably 10 men, the field this year will be limited to the 80 fastest applicants with marathon qualifying marks under 2:25:00 and the 10 fastest with half marathon bests under 1:04:00. This eliminates the B-group start in Ohori Park, with the entire field starting on the track at Heiwadai Field.

Most notably for the event's "international" self-designation, applications will be "limited to runners who are able to enter and stay in Japan as of September 14 (Mon.), the day on which applications open." That pretty well eliminates anyone who is not a Japanese citizen or already a resident, even in the event of liberalization of Japan's restrictive anti-COVID immigration polici…

Hashioka Jumps World Leading Meet Record on First Day of National University Championships

Men's long jump collegiate record holder Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) added 20 cm to the National University Track and Field Championships meet record, jumping a world-leading 8.29 m (-0.6) on his final attempt to pick up the national title. With the event cut back to four attempts as part of the meet's coronavirus measures, Hashioka opening with a 7.92 m (+1.1) that would have been enough for the win, lengthening that to 8.06 m (-0.2) on his second jump, then after a fouled third attempt dropped his meet-winning jump. Just 3 cm off his collegiate record, Hashioka will get a shot to better that at next month's National Track and Field Championships.

Hashioka's was the only world-leading performance of the day, but two other meet records also went down. Men's 3000 m steeplechase collegiate record holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) took his first collegiate national title, running 8:28.51 to take over 3 seconds off Kazuya Shiojiri's meet record. In the women'…

National University Track and Field Championships Preview

September's turning out to be one of the biggest months of the year on the track in Japan. This weekend it's the 89th National University Track and Field Championships, going ahead with no spectators in Niigata's massive Big Swan Stadium. The whole meet will be livestreamed, with the first day kicking off at 10:00 a.m. Friday local time.

27 events feature returning national champions, in nine of which they're not the #1 seed. Ranked only 4th in his field, men's 110 mH national champ Nobuaki Morito (Waseda Univ.) will have the hardest time defending, his best of 13.79 putting him 0.43 behind collegiate national record holder Shunsuke Izumiya (Juntendo Univ.). Likewise for defending men's 10000 mRW champ Yuta Koga (Meiji Univ.) - 39:44.21, over a minute behind #1-seeded Koki Ikeda (Toyo Univ.). Also ranked 4th in her field, 2019 women's pole vault champ Akane Wakazono (Tsukuba Univ.) will have the biggest challenge to repeat among the women, 21 cm separating…

World's Largest Low-Pressure Altitude Training Facility Installed at Four-Time National Champion Asahi Kasei's Home Track

On Sept. 8 the Shizuoka-based Nihon Kiatsu Baruku Kogyo Corporation delivered and installed a self-contained low-pressure, low-oxygen training room at Rayon Field, home training ground of four-time defending New Year Ekiden men's national champion team Asahi Kasei. At 2.5 m wide, 2.6 m tall and 7.5 m long, it is the largest low-pressure, low-oxygen room of its type in the world.

By lowering the air pressure in the room, an environment that accurately replicates conditions up to 3,000 m elevation can be produced. Unlike standard normal pressure low-oxygen rooms, this allows high-altitude training to be performed under the same conditions that occur naturally in the real world. Normally a facility like this would be set up indoors, but in this case it was installed outside right next to Asahi Kasei's training ground.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Asahi Kasei team's ability to do high-altitude training camps within Japan and overseas has been heavily restricted.…

Plan to Hold 2021 Tokyo Marathon in October With Field of 15,000 Gains Favor

On Sept. 9 it was learned that the Tokyo Marathon is examining a plan to hold next year's race, currently scheduled for Mar. 7, in October, 2021 with a maximum field of 15,000. The plan is among the leading candidates for a solution to dealing with the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation continues to examine the options and projections for the future and intends to make a final decision at its executive board meeting in early October.

This year's race on Mar. 1, where Suguru Osako set a new men's national record of 2:05:29, was run as an elite-only event due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis. 38,000 mass participation runners had been scheduled to run through the city's streets before the mass participation race was canceled. Those who had been entered have the option to run in either 2021 or 2022 instead.

The countdown to next year's race continues in the midst of uncertainty. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation was originally scheduled to …