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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 …
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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.

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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…