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Showing posts from January, 2008

Takaoka Will Keep Running "To Better Understand What the Marathon Is" translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin The 42nd Ome Marathon* is fast approaching. Once again this year, runners from across the country, male and female, amateur and professional, will converge on the mountainous town of Ome in record numbers. This year 20,000 athletes are entered, 5000 in the 10 km and 15,000 in the 30 km. This is the first in a series of 6 articles profiling runners who will be travelling Ome's early spring roads. Among such runners is Japanese men's full marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (2:06:16), running with a new theme and motivation. At the Beijing Olympics selection Fukuoka International Marathon last December, Takaoka fell behind the lead pack after the halfway point and finished 10th and failed to make the team. His road to Beijing was cut off, and he almost lost his reason to run. Many observers, considering Takaoka's age, speculated that he would retire, b

Osaka Top Japanese and Olympic Hopeful Tomo Morimoto On Hold Until Nagoya translated and edited by Brett Larner At the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 27, 2nd place overall finisher Tomo Morimoto (24, Team Tenmaya) couldn't quite secure a position on the Beijing Olympic team. Although she couldn't move with eventual winner Mara Yamauchi's breakaway at 32 km, Morimoto didn't lose any additional ground over the final 9 km. Describing her race, Morimoto said, "I was watching the breathing of the runners around me, and at 30 km I took off. I was a little weak mentally this time, though and couldn't keep my own race together. That's why my time was not what I wanted." Morimoto was the top Japanese finisher in 2:25:34, off her target time of 2:22-23. "I'm very happy to ha

Fukushi in the Aftermath translated and edited by Brett Larner The door is open for Q-chan to make it to Beijing. At the second selection race for the Beijing Olympic women's marathon team, queen of the track Kayoko Fukushi failed to make the grade. Top Japanese finisher Tomo Morimoto's time was also relatively slow, meaning that the Olympic team's final member will not be settled until the Nagoya International Women's Marathon on Mar. 9. For Naoko Takahashi, who declared some time ago that she would be running Nagoya, the chance exists to make the team. The marathon is not sweet. The bloody scrape across her nose is a fitting symbol of Fukushi's first time at the 42.195 km distance. Going out faster than Mizuki Noguchi's course record pace, Fukushi was smooth and powerfu

Osaka Winner Yamauchi to Run Ome on Feb. 3 translated and edited by Brett Larner At the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 27, first-time winner Mara Yamauchi (34, U.K) moved one step closer to an appearance in the Beijing Olympics. Not only an elite runner but also a high-ranking member of the British Foreign Office, Yamauchi passed Osaka leader Kayoko Fukushi at the 34.6 km point to take her first marathon victory in a PB time of 2:25:10. "The last 4 or 5 km were very hard, but I tried as hard as I could. I'm very happy," Yamauchi told reporters in Japanese. "This win was big for me. In Beijing I think I can run with the best in the world." One sign of how big the win was for Yamauchi was that the night following her victory her blog* received 30,000 hits, a record. "I usually get about 5 hits a day," she laughed. In preparation for the Beijing O

First-Time Winner Mara Yamauchi Takes Osaka in 2:25:10 PB, Kayoko Fukushi 19th in Debut

by Brett Larner Mara Yamauchi (GBR, Second Wind AC) took a surprise win in cold, windless, intermittently snowy conditions at the Osaka International Marathon , running a PB of 2:25:10 for her first marathon victory. Taking the lead at 34.63 km from struggling first-time marathoner Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), Yamauchi powered her way to the win, holding off a late charge from top Japanese finisher Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya). Morimoto finished 2nd in 2:25:34, a good time but not strong enough to seal her a spot on the Beijing Olympic team. Her fate is left up to the runners in March's Nagoya International Marathon , including Naoko Takahashi, Naoko Sakamoto, and possibly defending Osaka champion Yumiko Hara who dropped out shortly before today's race with a cold. Yamauchi's teammate Yuri Kano, one of the pre-race favorites, dropped out of the race with leg pain after only 17 km. Osaka's other major pre-race favorite, Japanese national 3000 m, 5000 m and half maratho

Takaoka to Try for Comeback at Ome Marathon translated by Brett Larner On Jan. 23 the organizing committee of the Ome Marathon* announced the elite field for this year's 42nd running on Feb. 3. Headlining the men's 30 km race is Japanese marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (37, Team Kanebo). In the women's race, last year's World Road Running Championships competitor Akane Taira (25, Team Panasonic) will take part. The guest starter for the 30 km will be course record holder Toshihiko Seko (51, Team S&B). 20000 people entered this year's race. Having failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics with a disappointing 10th place finish at December's Fukuoka International Marathon, Takaoka will be trying to launch a comeback. Before running a spring marathon, either in Japan or overseas, Takaoka decided to tackle Ome. "If I can win here it will give me renewed strength and confidence," Takaoka told reporters. He was s

Olympic Berth at Stake in Osaka International Women's Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner For the Japanese entrants in Sunday's Osaka International Women's Marathon far more is at stake than the race itself. Osaka is the 2nd of Japan's qualification races for the Beijing Olympics. One slot on the three-member Olympic marathon team has already been assigned to Reiko Tosa for her bronze medal performance at the Osaka World Championships last summer. Defending Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi is an almost certain choice for the team thanks to her resounding course record victory at the first of the selection races, last November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon. One slot remains to be decided between the winners of the Osaka and Nagoya International Women's Marathons. Nagoya competitors, including Sydney Olympic marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi, will have the advantage of knowing the Osaka winner's time, the mark they must beat to make the team. Osaka contestants cannot afford any kind of slow, tactical race or a finish b

Twin Brothers Dream of Running Olympic Marathon Together translated by Brett Larner In Kagoshima live two runners with a big dream. The identical twin Ichida brothers Takashi and Hiroshi are 3rd year students at Yoshino Junior High School where they are members of the school's track team. In the 3000 m at last year's All-Japan Junior High School Championships the brothers finished 1-2; they are already dreaming about when they move up to the world level. "We want to run the Olympic Marathon together." The brothers were selected for the Kagoshima prefectural team for this past Sunday's 13th All-Japan Men's Interprefectural Ekiden in Hiroshima. Takashi ran the 2nd leg where he passed 14 runners and took the 2nd fastest time on the stage. Before running the 6th stage, Hiroshi said, "I'm going to get revenge for Takashi [not getting the stage best time]." He followed through on his promise, setting the stage best mark. Quite impressive con

High School Track Prodigy Megumi Kinukawa Signs With Mizuno, Intends to 'Change the World' translated and edited by Brett Larner On Jan. 22, sports gear maker Mizuno announced that Sendai Ikuei High School distance running prodigy Megumi Kinukawa, 18, will join its team after graduating in the spring. Mizuno's team includes hurdler Shingo Suetsu and hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, but Kinukawa will be its first distance runner. At a press conference in Tokyo, Kinukawa told reporters, "My ambition extends to the world. I want to reach a new level in my running." "My motto is 'Change the World.'" Kinukawa chose Mizuno in large part because she does not want to spend her career running ekidens but would rather focus her energy on track running. In last summer's Osaka World Championships Kinukawa was 14th in the women's 10000 m, the only high school student on the Japanese team. She was injured late last year but this month has r

Fukushi's Debut at Osaka International Women's Marathon Will Be Closely Watched translated by Brett Larner Every step of Fukushi's run will be closely observed. The most dominant Japanese track runner, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) has chosen the Beijing Olympics-qualifying Osaka International Women's Marathon this Sunday for her debut marathon. Fukushi has been sequestered at a secret training camp in preparation for this eagerly-anticipated debut. Defending champion Yumiko Hara (Team Kyocera), who had a difficult time in last year's World Championships marathon, will be running. Last year's 3rd place finisher Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and 2006 Vienna Marathon winner Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) are also on the start list. Foreign competitors include Sydney Olympics silver medalist Lidia Simon and 2:21:30 runner Constantina Tomescu-Dita, both of whom hail from Romania. Osaka World Championships marathon bronze medalist Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) has alread

Harriers Win Shibuya Ekiden (updated)

by Brett Larner The Harriers team overcame an accident-ridden 1st stage to score its first-ever win in the Shibuya Ekiden on Jan. 20. Threatened snowy weather did not materialize, making for ideal conditions on the 12 km, 4 stage course. 1st stage Harriers runner Eiji Kobayashi ran the first 10 m of the race without realizing that his tasuki had come off while taking off his warmup uniform. Kobayashi doubled back to the warmup area to retrieve the tasuki before starting again, losing over 1 minute. Harriers' 2nd, 3rd and 4th stage runners clocked stage best time performances to help the team move up through the field, with anchor Jason Lawrence of New Zealand taking the lead immediately after beginning his run. Harriers won in a total time of 37:43 including loss time from the 1st stage accident. 2-time defending champion Namban Rengo was 2nd, with the Tokyo Fire Department AC 3rd. UPDATE: On the strength of its win at the Shibuya Ekiden, Harriers was selected by Shibuya government

Sato Sends Nagano on to Win in All-Japan Men's Interprefectural Ekiden

by Brett Larner In miserable conditions of rain and snow with temperatures of 3 degrees, Nagano overcame rivals Hyogo and a strong performance by Aichi on Jan. 20 to take back the title it lost at last year's All-Japan Men's Interprefectural Ekiden . The Interprefectural Ekiden features a 7-stage, 48 km course starting and ending at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. Like last week's women's edition of the event, teams in the Interprefectural Ekiden include star professional, university, high school and junior high school runners from each of Japan's 47 prefectures. It is an unusual sight to see young runners barely into their teens handing off to Olympian teammates, but this is one of the Interprefectural Ekiden's unique points. The last four years have been duels between Nagano and Hyogo, with Nagano coming out on top for three years straight before Hyogo's victory last year on the strength of its anchor Satoru Kitamura's dominating performance. This

Can Nagano Win? A Preview of the Jan. 20 Men's Interprefectural Ekiden (updated) translated by Brett Larner The All-Japan Men's Interprefectural Ekiden takes places in Hiroshima this Sunday, Jan. 20. The course starts from Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and covers 48 km in 7 stages. Last year's winner Hyogo Prefecture took the victory with a 1 minute 33 second margin over runner-up Nagano Prefecture, but this year with a strong group of university and high school students Nagano will be looking for its first victory in 2 years. World-class student runners who will be trying to help bring Nagano the victory include Yuichiro Ueno (Chuo University, Saku Chosei High School) and Yuki Sato (Tokai University, Saku Chosei High School). Sato, who set a new stage record on the 7th stage of this year's Hakone Ekiden, will be running the 8.5 km 3rd stage, while Ueno will be running the 13 km anchor stage for the 1st time in 3 years. The high school student stages will be dominated by members of

Suwa, Rothlin, Njenga, Kirui to Headline 2008 Tokyo Marathon

by Brett Larner With exactly one month to go until race date the Tokyo Marathon released details on the field of elites who will be competing in the 2nd of Japan's Olympic selection races. The domestic field is easily headlined by Team Nissin's Toshinari Suwa, a 2:07 marathoner who competed in the Athens Olympics and Osaka World Championships. Suwa had previously announced he would run March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon but he has evidently changed strategy in his attempt to qualify for the Beijing Olympic marathon team. Other domestic contenders include Team Kanebo's Satoshi Irifune who competed in the Helsinki World Championships, veteran Olympian Kenjiro Jitsui also of Team Nissin, and younger runners Kenichi Kita and Kazushi Hara. Several strong runners are not among the elite field but have entered as individuals, including Team Chugoku Denryoku's Teruto Ozaki and Kurao Umeki, Team Nissin's Kazuyoshi Tokumoto, and Team JAL Ground Service's Takayuki Nishid

Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Announces Elite Field

by Brett Larner On Jan. 17 the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon announced the domestic and international elite fields for the event's 57th running on Feb. 3. Although Beppu-Oita, or Betsudai as the race is colloquially known, has in the past sometimes served as a selection race for world-level competitions, its absence from the pool of Beijing Olympics selection races means that this year's domestic elite field is comparatively limited. The Japanese elite field includes only four athletes. Team Kanebo's Michitane Noda is the most experienced of the group, holding a PB of 2:09:58 from the 2003 Fukuoka International Marathon. Noriyuki Mizuguchi of Team Otsuka Seiyaku will be trying to improve on his PB of 2:14:26. The remaining two domestic competitors, Team Nissin's Kenta Oshima and Team Fujitsu's Takayuki Ota, are fast half-marathoners who will be debuting at the full marathon distance in Betsudai. The overseas elite field is slightly larger at seven runners. The top e

Takayuki Matsumiya, Harumi Hiroyama to Run Marugame Half Marathon translated by Brett Larner At a pre-race press conference on Jan. 16, race officials announced the elite men's and women's fields for the 62nd Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon on Feb. 3rd. The women's field includes veteran runner Harumi Hiroyama (Team Shiseido) and Osaka World Championships women's marathon competitor Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz). In the men's race, 30 km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) is scheduled to appear. Translator's note: Matsumiya's appearance is significant in that he comes to Marugame fresh from a strong 2007 and in particular from running 1:02:28 for 22 km in the New Year Ekiden , a performance equivalent to 59:54 for a half marathon. This is 31 seconds faster than Atsushi Sato's national record set in October, albeit with a drop of 30 m over the 22 km distance. Mekubo Mogusu ran under 1 hour on the Marugame course last year, so it is entirely possib

Waseda University Recruits Top Three High School Aces Including Son of Takeyuki Nakayama

by Brett Larner The 2nd place finishers at this year's Hakone Ekiden have made a major advance toward returning to the winner's podium after a 15-year absence. On Jan. 4, Waseda University announced that the top three runners from this year's crop of high school graduates will enter Waseda this April.* The new recruits include Yuki Yagi of Nishiwaki Kogyo High School, Yusuke Mita of Toyokawa Kogyo High School, and Takuya Nakayama of Suma Gakuen High School. Yagi, Mita and Nakayama finished 1-2-3 in the 2007 National High School 5000 m Championships and, along with fellow recruit Taro Inoue of Yawatahama High School, represent a major coup for Waseda. In the 2008 Hakone Ekiden Waseda suffered from weak performances by its injured star Kensuke Takezawa and several of its runners on the last few stages. Nevertheless, thanks in large part to outstanding mountain stage performances by Ryuta Komano and Sota Kota it won Day One and did not give up the lead to eventual winners Ko

Noguchi to Receive Over $500,000 Bonus for Successful Gold Medal Defense translated and edited by Brett Larner Having taken a big step toward the Beijing Olympics with her victory at last year's Tokyo International Women's Marathon, Mizuki Noguchi of Team Sysmex addressed the media at her Kyoto hotel a day after her stage best anchor run in the 26th Interprefectural Women's Ekiden . Speaking in front of a crowd of 300, Noguchi told the press, "If I am selected for the Olympic marathon team I will show the world that although I am small I can do it." Noguchi received additional motivation to show the world what she can do when Sysmex president Hisashi Ietsugu announced that Sysmex will give her a significant financial bonus in the event of a successful defense of her gold medal. Referring to Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia who won gold medals in the men's marathon at the 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Ietsugu

Kyoto Sets Course Record in Interprefectural Women's Ekiden, Noguchi Runs Anchor Leg Stage Best, and a Preview of the Interprefectural Men's Ekiden

by Brett Larner The Kyoto Prefectural team took the lead on the 2nd stage of the 26th All-Japan Interprefectural Ekiden , progressively widening its lead to take its 4th straight victory and break Kumamoto's 11 year old course record with a finish time of 2:14:58. The Interprefectural Women's Ekiden is held in Kyoto on the same course as the All-Japan High School Boys' Ekiden, covering the full marathon distance of 42.195 km in 9 stages. The event features teams made up of top runners from each of Japan's 47 prefectures and has an unusual format in that teams are made up of a mix junior high school, high school and university students running together with professionals and Olympians over appropriately-scaled stages. This year's race took place in cold, windy, intermittently rainy conditions. Mizuki Noguchi had a good start to the year by running a stage-best 31:53 on the 10 km anchor stage over an assortment of other stars including Yukiko Akaba to bring the Mie Pr

Mizuki Noguchi Returns From Amami Oshima Training Camp Having Inspired Baseball Great Shimoyanagi translated and edited by Brett Larner Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (29, Team Sysmex) returned on Jan. 7 from a training camp on the island of Amami Oshima in southern Kagoshima Prefecture, landing at Osaka Airport. At the camp she focused on cross-country running. "At first I had a bit of a sore throat, but I was able to complete the training menu," Noguchi told reporters at the airport. She visited a shrine near the camp on New Year's Day, where she prayed "with a clear and empty mind" at the start of the Olympic year.* While training on Jan. 6, Noguchi encountered Hanshin Tigers pitcher Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi (39) at a track where both were doing solo workouts. After watching Noguchi practice, Shimoyanagi shook his head and commented, "I'm glad I decided to become a baseball player.&qu

Elementary Students Set Course Record 2:13:29 in Marathon-Distance All-Japan Unicycle Ekiden translated by Brett Larner On January 6th, the 14th All-Japan Unicycle Ekiden was held along the Arakawa River in Tokyo's Adachi Ward. On a windy day, 700 people took part in the event and showed off fine performances. Each team consisted of 6 athletes handing over a tasuki in traditional ekiden style over the 42.195 km full marathon course. In addition to elementary school, junior high school and independent categories there was a 5 km mini-marathon for individual cyclists. In the elementary school division 'The Green Angels' unicycle club of Jonai in Shizuoka Prefecture set a new course record of 2:13:29. Natsumi Kanazawa and Rie Yamazaki of the Adachi Ward Unicycle Association select team 'Pretty Girls' were chosen to represent all 700 members of the field in promising to compete with fair play and to abide by race regulations. For results and additional information please consult the Adachi Wa

Hiroyuki Ono, Hakone Ekiden 5-Ku (updated)

I was very touched by the video of Juntendo's Hiroyuki Ono on the Hakone 5-区. Today I came across another video of a news segment which includes home video of Ono going down, an interview with him, and highlights of Hakone. The first section is on the three stage records set this year by Mekubo Mogusu, Yuki Sato and Jun Shinoto (2008 Hakone Ekiden MVP). The second is on the three schools which DNF'd, showing Tokai's Takehiro Arakawa, Daito Bunka's Naoki Sumida, and Juntendo's Ono. I'll try to put up a translation of the audio track shortly. The text printed across the bottom of the still below is Ono saying, "I want to apologize to everybody." Someone put up a video of Juntendo University's Day One anchor Hiroyuki Ono collapsing 460 m from the finish, eliminating the defending champions from the Hakone Ekiden. Two other schools, Tokai University and Daito Bunka University, also did not finish, the first time in Hakone's 84 year history that t

Takahashi to Remain in Kunming for Training

reported in Nikkei Newspaper, 1/9/08 translated by Brett Larner In training for the Mar. 3 Nagoya International Women’s Marathon where she hopes to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten) announced that she will remain at her altitude training camp in Kunming, China through the end of Feb. rather than returning to Japan this month and then going back to Kunming as she had originally planned. Takahashi’s management told press on Jan. 8 that her preparation for Nagoya has been going extremely well and that she sees no benefit to interrupting it by returning to Japan for a short time. Furthermore, while most athletes who train in Kunming do so at 1900 m elevation, Takahashi has stepped up her plans to focus on training at 2400 m during the remainder of her time there.

1500 m National Record Holder Yuriko Kobayashi Barred from Competing Professionally

reported in Nikkei Newspaper, 1/9/08 translated by Brett Larner The governing body of Japan’s professional jitsugyodan running system ruled on Jan. 8 that women’s 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (19, Team Toyota Jidoshokki) is not eligible to compete as a jitsugyodan runner on the basis of her enrollment at a college in Okayama. Kobayashi was recruited by Toyota after graduating last spring from Suma Gakuen High School in Hyogo Prefecture, one of Japan’s top running high schools. Kobayashi subsequently decided that she wanted to continue her education and was granted the freedom to both study and train by Toyota’s management. She has been commuting between school and training by shinkansen (bullet train), but with yesterday’s ruling she will no longer be able to compete in jitsugyodan events such as ekidens. Kobayashi explained her rationale for her decisions by saying, “I chose this course of action because I wanted both to train at the highest level and to get an educa

Komazawa's Sakai to Debut at Biwako Mainichi Marathon and Join Team Fujitsu

reported in Sports Nippon Newspaper, 1/4/08 translated by Brett Larner Fresh from taking the lead on the Hakone Ekiden’s 9th stage to bring Komazawa University its victory, Koichi Sakai will soon be entering a new phase of his life. On Mar. 2, Sakai will debut in the Biwako Mainichi Marathon in a bid to make the Beijing Olympic marathon team. “Winning Hakone exactly according to our race plan was a good step forward,” Sakai told interviewers after the race. Sakai has been doing marathon training this season with Komazawa alumnus and former marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita of Team Fujitsu, which Sakai will join after graduating from Komazawa in the spring. Fujita staggered to a disappointing 8th place finish at Dec.’s Fukuoka International Marathon, failing to qualify for Beijing. Sakai said that he cried when he watched Fujita fall just meters before the finish line in Fukuoka and that it has given him special motivation for his marathon debut. “I want to run to realize F

2007 Japanese Distance Running Top 10 Performances

Men 5000 m 1. 13:13.20 Takayuki Matsumiya, Team Konica-Minolta, 7/28 (national record) 2. 13:18.32 Yu Mitsuya, Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu, 5/2 3. 13:19:00 Kensuke Takezawa, Waseda University, 7/28 4. 13:21.49 Yuichiro Ueno, Chuo University, 7/28 5. 13:28.84 Kazuhiro Maeda, Team Kyudenko, 5/26 6. 13:34.44 Terukazu Omori, Team Shikoku Denryoku, 4/20 7. 13:36.13 Atsushi Sato, Team Chugoku Denryoku, 6/17 8. 13:36.18 Satoshi Irifune, Team Kanebo, 5/26 9. 13:36.51 Yuki Matsuoka, Juntendo University, 6/10 10. 13:37.69 Yuta Takahashi, Josai University, 6/10 10000 m 1. 27:45.59 Kensuke Takezawa, Waseda University, 4/29 2. 27:51.65 Yuki Sato, Tokai University, 10/14 3. 27:51.90 Terukazu Omori, Team Shikoku Denryoku, 6/2 4. 27:53.78 Takeshi Makabe, Team Kanebo, 12/2 5. 27:55.17 Kazuhiro Maeda, Team Kyudenko, 12/2 6. 28:00.22 Satoru Kitamura, Nittai University, 6/2 7. 28:03.83 Kenji Noguchi, Team Shikuoku Denryoku, 4/29 8. 28:04.40 Kenta Murozuka, Self-Defense Force Academy, 12/2 9. 28:07.57 Takas

3rd Stage Results from New Year Ekiden

by Brett Larner The 3rd stage of the 2008 New Year Ekiden featured an incredible array of Japan-based African stars including half marathon world record holder Samuel Wanjiru, Osaka World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi, 2007 World XC Championships 4th place finisher Ngatuny Gideon, and all-time top 10 fastest marathoner Daniel Njenga. The top 10 finishers on the 3rd stage, 11.8 km with about 15m downhill and strong headwind: 1. Ngatuny Gideon: 30:59 2. Josephat Muchiri Dabili: 31:15 3. Martin Mathathi: 31:16 4. Samuel Wanjiru: 31:17 5. John Kariuki: 31:22 6. Tesfaye Asefa: 31:26 7. Sammy Alex: 31:27 8. Cyrus Jui: 31:41 9. Charles Kamathi: 32:04 10. Daniel Njenga: 32:08 10. Davis Kabiru: 32:08 (c) 2008 Brett Larner all rights reserved

Julia Mombi Wins Miyazaki Women's Half Marathon translated and edited by Brett Larner Kenyan Julia Mombi won the 28th Miyazaki Women's Road Race half marathon on Jan. 6 in a PB time of 1:09:34. She followed her pre-race plan precisely, attacking with 2 km to go and dropping Hiroko Miyauchi of Team Oki. Mombi attended Aomori Yamada High School and now runs for Team Aruze. She is preparing for the Jan. 27 Osaka International Women's Marathon , where she hopes to run 2:25 to qualify for the Kenyan marathon team at the Beijing Olympics. Mombi enthusiastically smiled, "I ran easily today. My legs have gotten stronger." Miyauchi finished 20 seconds behind Mombi in 2nd place, while Miyauchi's sister Yoko, also of Team Oki, finished 3rd. 2006 Asia Games women's marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Obata of Team Aco

Hakone Day Two detailed report finished

I've had a busy last couple of days, including a 24 km tempo run this evening in an unexpected 1:22:01, so I haven`t had much time to finish the detailed Day Two Hakone report. It's done now except for a few missing names and splits which I will add soon. Check here for the report. The detailed version of the Day One report is still here . Digest versions of both days are also on the main page. Some post-Hakone news will be up tomorrow.

Hakone Ekiden Day Two: Komazawa Reclaims Title, Tokai and Daito Bunka DNF, Shinoto and Sato Set Stage Records

by Brett Larner videos by Mika Tokairin Komazawa University fulfilled predictions to win the 2008 Hakone Ekiden. Komazawa reeled in Day One winner Waseda University over the course of Day Two, taking the lead on the 9th stage and running on to its 1st win in three years. Waseda was content with its 2nd-place finish, something of a return to form for the old-time powerhouse after a weak decade. Tiny Chuo Gakuin University had its best performance ever, coming 3rd on the strength of an unexpected stage record performance by captain Jun Shinoto, and the East Japan Select Team, made up of top runners from schools which failed to qualify for Hakone, surprised all by coming 4th. Japan`s top university runner Yuki Sato of pre-race favorite Tokai University set a new stage record, but Tokai was eliminated from competition when its anchor collapsed with 2.5 km to go. Daito Bunka University was also eliminated on the 9th stage. Day Two was filled with even more unexpected upsets than Day One. To

Hakone Ekiden Day Two: Stage By Stage Report

by Brett Larner Day Two of the 2008 Hakone Ekiden dawned with weather as perfect as on Day One, cool, sunny and windless. The big news of the morning was that defending champion Juntendo University, who had been eliminated 460 m from the finish the previous day when their runner Hiroyuki Ono collapsed, would be allowed to run in a ceremonial capacity, out of competition. 6th Stage: 20.8 km On Day Two, runners start one by one with a time handicap and order determined by their team’s finish on Day One. For example, Komazawa finished 1:14 behind leader Waseda on Day One, so its 6th stage runner Hikaru Fujii started Day Two 1:14 after Waseda’s runner Sota Kato began. Any teams which finished more than 10 minutes behind Waseda on Day One started together with an appropriate modification added to their later stage times. Fireworks announced each runner`s departure from the starting line to the tens of thousands of fans lining the course. Waseda`s Kato went out hard, 1 second behind stage re