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Showing posts from April, 2011

Niiya 15:17.84 PB After Being Fired From Toyota Jidoshokki Corporate Team

by Brett Larner As track season rolled on with the Oda Memorial Meet in Hiroshima and the Nobeoka Spring Time Trials Meet in Nobeoka on April 29, the biggest news came in the Oda women's 5000 m. Kenyan ace Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko), the 2001 World Junior Championships gold medalist over 3000 m, set her third PB of the month with a new clocking of 15:13.09, a meet record. Just behind her and also under the hold meet record, Hitomi Niiya , the 2007 Tokyo Marathon winner at age 18, came in with a 6-second PB of 15:17.84, 0.02 seconds faster than national record holder Kayoko Fukushi's best time of 2010 and the leading time by a Japanese woman thus far in the build-up to August's World Championships. What made Niiya's run big news was that she appeared running for Chiba Prefecture rather than for her sponsor since graduating from high school, 2008 national champion Team Toyota Jidoshokki. Late last month Toyota Jidoshokki announced that it was leaving its base in C

Tokyo Marathon Considers Eliminating 10 km Division translated by Brett Larner The Tokyo Marathon Foundation has announced a plan to eliminate its 10 km road race, held alongside the 30,000+ runner marathon, beginning with next year's race to be held in February. The move would allow them to increase the field size to 36,000 including charity entry spots. The proposal will be officially decided upon at June's general meeting, but sources connected with the Foundation said it is likely to be ratified. According to the race office, major overseas marathons typically do not hold simultaneous races such as the 10 km, and elimination of the 10 km would allow them to focus on improving the experience of the marathon event as a whole. However, because the 10 km allows the handicapped and others to participate in the event, news of the possible closure of the event has drawn protest from handicapped groups who say, "This decision needs more careful thought.&quo

Former Mitsui Sumitomo Head Coach Suzuki Takes Over at Uniqlo translated by Brett Larner Team Uniqlo announced this week that longtime Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo head coach Hideo Suzuki , 59, would be taking over as head coach at Uniqlo effective May 1. Suzuki led Chiba's Funabashi H.S. girls' ekiden team to two national championships before becoming head coach at Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo, which he led until 2009. Under his leadership Mitsui became the best team in the country, winning countless National Corporate Women's Ekiden titles. Individual team members also became among Japan's best, including two-time Olympian and double World Championships marathon medalist Reiko Tosa and 10000 m national record holder and former marathon national record holder Yoko Shibui . Speaking of his goals for the Uniqlo team, Suzuki commented, "I want to help the team members move even one step closer toward becoming athletes competitve at the global level. I want to help them build on

2011 Japanese Distance Rankings

JRN's 2011 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runner's times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge. Updated:  12/26/11 - final rankings Overall 5000 m 10000 m Half-Marathon Marathon (c) 2011 Brett Larner all rights reserved

Mathathi 10000 m World Leader, Murasawa 28:00.78 at 2011 Hyogo Relay Carnival (updated with video)

by Brett Larner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) takes the men's Grand Prix 10000 m in a world-leading 27:23.85. Click event headers in results below for complete video of other events. In the wake of a spate of road race cancellations following last month's disasters, the 10000 m was the focus of this year's Hyogo Relay Carnival, Apr. 23-24 at Kobe's Universiade Memorial Stadium. In addition to the regularly-programmed men's and women's Grand Prix 10000 m and the men's Asics Challenge 10000 m, effectively the meet's B-heat, this year's race featured an additional 10000 m for university men looking to qualify for the 10000 m at this summer's World University Games and a separate men's and women's 10000 m qualifier for the World University Games half marathon. With a shortage of quality 10000 m races worldwide the focus in the Grand Prix and Asics Challenge 10000 m events for both Japanese runners and Japan-resident Africans w

2011 Oregon Relays - Top Results

Apr. 22, Hayward Field, Oregon click here for complete results click event header for complete video Bill McChesney Jr. Men's 5000 m 1. Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) - 13:38.57 2. Dylan Wykes (Canada/P.I.H.) - 13:43.43 3. Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) - 13:45.97 4. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:46.76 5. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:47.29 6. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 13:53.75 7. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 13:54.52 8. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 13:55.54 9. Seth Summerside (U.S.A./OTC Elite) - 13:57.59 10. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 14:01.21 11. Ryohei Kawakami (Team Kanebo) - 14:06.27 12. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 14:08.37 13. Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 14:22.49 14. Takayuki Hamaguchi (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 14:30.88 Women's 5000 m 1. Brie Felnagle (U.S.A./Adidas) - 15:43.87 2. Bridget Franek (U.S.A./OTC Elite) - 15:52.81 3. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 16:06.86 4. Kumi Ogura (Team

Oda Memorial Meet Entry Lists

by Brett Larner Entry lists are up for the 2011 Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet on Apr. 29 in Hiroshima, one of the big meets on the spring Japanese calendar. This year's meet features an extra round of distance events with separate 5000 m qualifier heats for the World University Games 5000 m teams alongside the regular open 5000 m heats. The university men's 5000 m may be the most exciting race of the day, with 2011 Hakone Ekiden champion Waseda University fielding big guns Shota Hiraga , Suguru Osako , Yuki Yagi and Yo Yazawa and rival Meiji University its ace Tetsuya Yoroizaka along with star first-year recruits Yuki Arimura and Genki Yagisawa . #1-ranked first-year Kazuto Nishiike will be debuting for Hosei University, while 2010 Kanto Regional 5000 m champion Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.) will tune up to defend his title at May's Kanto Regionals. Like Waseda, Ritsumeikan University will be putting all its best people into the university women's 5000 m

Kawauchi to Run 50 km Ultra as Part of World Championships Preparation

by Brett Larner Along with the announcement and presentation of the women's marathon team for August's World Championships, the previously-announced men's marathon team was presented at the Apr. 21 Rikuren press conference. Each athlete gave a brief statement and answered direct questions. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN): I ran the Asian Games Marathon in November to qualify, so I have more recovery time than the others. I think the black athletes will be dominating the race, but it's going to be hot and that will improve my chances. I'm going to running the Gifu Half Marathon on May 15, then in July either the Sapporo International Half Marathon or the Gold Coast Marathon. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.): [visibly nervous] Having made the national team I feel very strongly that I've got to give it my absolute best. I want to show Japan, the world, that even as an amateur, even working full time, you can still be world-class. I'm also running the Gifu Half

Rikuren Announces Japanese Women's WC Marathon Team

by Brett Larner The Japanese federation Rikuren held a press conference Apr. 21 to announce the lineup of the Japanese women's marathon team for August's Daegu World Championships and to present the ten athletes on the men's and women's teams to the media. The men's team was announced late last month, but the women's team decision was delayed until this week following the cancellation of the Nagoya International Women's Marathon after the Mar. 11 disasters. 2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) returns to lead the team on the strength of her 2:23:56 win at February's Yokohama International Women's Marathon, accompanied by Daiichi Seimei teammate and former XC skiing national team member Azusa Nojiri who ran a PB of 2:25:29 at last weekend's London Marathon to finish as the top Japanese woman among those relocated to London following Nagoya's cancellation. Both Ozaki and Nojiri are coached by

Fukushi Likely to Target Marathon at London Olympics translated by Brett Larner According to a statement by Rikuren director of women's marathoning Yutaka Taketomi on Apr. 20, Japan's #1 long distance woman Kayoko Fukushi (29, Team Wacoal) is likely to aim for the marathon at next year's London Olympics. According to Taketomi, Fukushi, who was training in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of February's earthquake, said, "If I run [a marathon] I think it'll be at one of the Olympic selection races." At this summer's National Track and Field Championships Fukushi will be focusing on qualifying for the Daegu World Championships on the track. Fukushi's marathon debut came at the 2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon, a selection race for the Beijing Olympics, but she faded badly over the later stages of the race and finished 19th.

TBS to Hold Live Webcast of Women's World Championships Team Lineup Announcement translated by Brett Larner TBS, the official broadcaster of this summer's Daegu World Track and Field Championships, will broadcast Rikuren's announcement of the Japanese women's marathon team lineup live on the internet. On April 21 it's your chance to share the ecstasy of those who have emerged triumphant from the heat of the selection races to make the national team! When: Thursday, April 21, 1:00 p.m. Japan time Where: Go to the TBS homepage ( ) and click on the [Ustream] link to go to TBS' online channel. Translator's note: The men's team lineup has already been announced. Looking at the contenders for the women's team, thus far only defending World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) has secured a guaranteed spot on the Daegu team on the strength of her 2:23:56 win at February's Yokohama International Women's Marathon

Kawauchi, Kitaoka to Run First Naoko Takahashi Half Marathon translated by Brett Larner The organizers of the Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Half Marathon announced on April 18 that 2011 World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) will compete in this year's first running, scheduled for May 15. The amateur Kawauchi was the top Japanese finisher and 3rd overall at February's Tokyo Marathon, while Kitaoka won the silver medal at last fall's Asian Games marathon, both earning guaranteed spots on the World Championships team. In its first edition the Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Half Marathon will feature both men's and women's races along with a 3 km race.

Abe Marks Strong Debut at Boston Marathon translated and edited by Brett Larner Hanamaki, Iwate native Toyoyuki Abe (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) placed 15th in his marathon debut at the Apr. 18 Boston Marathon thanks to the support of his parents and friends back home, all of them in very difficult circumstances following the devastation of last month's earthquake and tsunami. "Despite their tough situation everyone cheered me on," Abe said. "It helped me push harder than ever." Abe has been successful as an ekiden runner, but beginning this year he has turned his focus to the marathon. He earned an invitation to Boston after finishing 2nd at February's Ome 30 km Road Race behind American Jason Lehmkuhle . Meeting his pre-race goal of a 2:15 finish as he clocked 2:15:48, Abe said of his future plans, "The next step is to work on my speed endurance and then see where that gets me." Translator's note: Ome women's winner Hiromi Omin

London Marathon - Japanese Women's Results

by Brett Larner Yoshiko Fujinaga (l) and Azusa Nojiri (r). Click here to enlarge photo. In spite of the stress of living through both the Christchurch and Tohoku disasters and the difficulties caused by trying to maintain a peak for a month after their target race, the Nagoya International Women's Marathon, was cancelled, the majority of the Japanese women at the Apr. 17 London Marathon ran well. The first three across the line recorded PBs, the next a strong debut, and the first five broke 2:30. Former pro XC skier Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) cleared the federation's World Championships qualifying standard and, pending formal confirmation, will join her teammate Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) on the women's team for this summer's championships. 2009 Nagoya winner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) also cleared the 2:26 standard but must wait for the official decision following tomorrow's Boston Marathon on whether she will be picked over Osaka runn

Kawauchi Back on Track - Nittai Time Trials 5000 m Results

Nittai University Time Trials Top Results Nittai University, Yokohama, Apr. 17, 2011 click here for complete results Men's 5000 m Heat 24 1. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 13:36.88 2. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:37.05 3. Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:39.31 4. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:41.99 5. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 13:46.73 6. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:57.90 7. Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ.) - 13:58.40 8. Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) - 14:00.17 9. Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 14:00.34 10. Ibrahim Mukunga (Team Fujitsu) - 14:00.63 ----- 11. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 14:02.49 14. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 14:04.67 16. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 14:06.49 23. Cosmas Ondiba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 14:19.63 Women's 5000 m Heat 16 1. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 15:57.27 2. Chisa Fujimoto (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 16:02.74 3. Mai Shoji (Okazaki Gakuen H.S.) - 16:07.92 4. Ikuyo

Nittai Time Trials and Mt. SAC Results

by Brett Larner On day one of the first Nittai Univ. Time Trials meet of the season, marathoner Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) continued the comeback from the injury that knocked him out of the Beijing Olympics, finishing 3rd in 29:19.31. The biggest results of the day, however came in the women's 800 m and 3000 m. Running against a field of pro, university and high school competitors, unior high school student Ayaka Nakagawa (Asaka Daisan J.H.S.) started the day off with a win in the 800 m A-heat in 2:10.61, nearly 1 1/2 seconds ahead of her closest rival. 2 1/2 hours later Nakagawa returned to take 6th in the 3000 m A-heat, clocking 9:31.18. Nittai Univ. Time Trials Top Results Nittai Univ., Yokohama, 4/16/11 click here for complete results Men's 10000 m Heat 5 1. Yuki Takamiya (Team Yakult) - 29:17.67 2. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 29:19.00 3. Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 29:19.31 4. Sho Matsueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:23.77 5. Tomohiro Hayakawa (

Japanese Women's London Marathon Preview

by Brett Larner L-R: Ogi, Matsuoka, Nojiri, Shigetomo, Nasukawa and Nakamura. Eight top Japanese women will race this Sunday's London Marathon, an unusual sight in a race outside Japan. Following last month's earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, the Nagoya International Women's Marathon scheduled just two days later was cancelled. The last of the three domestic selection races for the Japanese women's marathon team for this summer's World Championships team, Nagoya's cancellation meant that the entire domestic elite field would have to race somewhere else. The likely domestic replacement, the Apr. 17 Nagano Marathon, was cancelled along with dozens of other races across the country. The Japanese federation was quick to name overseas options: the Apr. 10 Daegu International Marathon, London, and the Boston Marathon a day later. Any woman who broke 2:26 at any of the races would stand an excellent chance of making the team. The stress and uncer

'Japanese Runners Arrive in London' - With Video For an explanation of how the World Marathon Majors rankings will be affected by this weekend's London and Boston Marathons, click here . Of the Japanese women in London and Boston, 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) has the best chance of making an impact on the WMM rankings.

His Hometown Inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Hakone Ekiden Great Masato Imai Talks Candidly About the Disasters and the Future translated by Brett Larner Now based in Fukuoka, marathoner and Hakone Ekiden great Masato Imai (27, Team Toyota Kyushu), one of the most nationally-respected runners of his generation, was born in Minamisoma, Fukushima, a city severely damaged by the disasters which have befallen northeastern Japan. His parents' house located within the 20 km exclusion zone around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, one month on from the earthquake and tsunami Imai and his family are unable to return home. Running in Kyushu in pursuit of his goal of the London Olympics, Imai spoke candidly about the disasters and the situation in his hometown. "On the evening of Mar. 11 I was watching TV after practice when they said, 'There has been a 10 m tsunami in Minamisoma.' I got goosebumps all over. I tried to call home to see if everyone was safe but couldn't get through. It took me until after sunset to finally hear something

Cancelled Nagano Marathon Donates Over $900,000 in Entry Fees to Disaster Relief translated by Brett Larner On Apr. 12 the organizing committee of the Nagano Marathon, cancelled in the wake of Japan's ongoing disasters, announced that it has donated 76,270,500 yen [~$906,500 USD at current exchange rates] to the Japanese Red Cross' relief efforts in northeastern Japan. The donated funds came from the entry fees of the 8,973 runners who had registered for the race which was to be held this Sunday, Apr. 17. A spokesperson for the organizers said that entry money was slated to be used for the operating costs of this year's race but that they were able to cover these expenses using savings from past editions of the Nagano Marathon and were thus able to donate almost all this year's entry fees to relief efforts. Translator's note: Japan's second-largest marathon, the Kasumigaura Marathon, also scheduled for Apr. 17 but cancelled following the Mar. 11 disasters, preceded Nagan

TEPCO Suspends Men's Ekiden Team Activities, Members Sent to Work on Recovery in Fukushima translated by Brett Larner Team Tepco during a group tempo run at 5:45 a.m. in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park in spring, 2010. Due to the ongoing situation at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Denryoku, or TEPCO as the company is known in English, announced on April 11 that it is suspending its men's ekiden team. The team did management did not renew its jitsugyodan corporate league registration this season, meaning that the team is not elligible to take part in the New Year Ekiden or other jitsugyodan league competitions. Team members are, however, not restricted from competing independently in other races. The team's athletes and staff have all been sent to work at locations in Fukushima and surrounding areas. Head coach Shigeo Daigo , 43, commented, "These are emergency circumstances, and our top priority right now is to help get control of the situation. Our athletes will be working alongside

Machida Top Japanese at 7th in Daegu International Marathon translated and edited by Brett Larner At the Apr. 10 Daegu International Marathon, a selection race for the Japanese women's marathon team for this summer's Daegu World Championships, Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) was the top Japanese woman. Finishing 7th in a time of 2:32:39, her chances of making the team are very slim. Among other contenders for the World Championships team, Tomomi Higuchi (Team Daihatsu) was 8th in 2:33:48, while Seika Iwamura (Team Daihatsu) was 12th in 2:36:33. Atsede Besuye (Ethiopia) won in 2:25:12. Veteran Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota) was the top Japanese man, 14th in 2:16:49. With the cancellation of March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon selection race and its designated replacement, April's Nagano Marathon, following the March 11 disasters in northeastern Japan, the Japanese federation Rikuren na

Weekend Track Roundup

by Brett Larner Four significant men's track meets took place around Tokyo over the weekend. At the Apr. 9 Setagaya Time Trials meet, Team Kanebo's new Ethiopian ringer Asefa Fekele had a good debut with an 8:05.37 win in the 3000 m just steps ahead of Komazawa University's Wataru Ueno who clocked 8:05.96. 3rd placer Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) was far back of the pair in 8:09.67. Nihon University's Shuto Kojima likewise had a narrow win over distance specialist Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) in the Setagaya Time Trials 5000 m, 14:05.28 to Deki's 14:05.56. At the largest of the four meets, the Five University Meet held Apr. 10 at Heisei Kokusai University, the performance of the day came in the open Premium 3000 m, where Kenyan Bitan Karoki (Team S&B) ran 7:49.43 for the win over teammate Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B), who ran 8:05.36 in his pro debut. Senior Takamitsu Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) was the top university runner, 3rd in 8:09.62. Raci

Women's 5000 m World Leader for Chepyego at Kanaguri Memorial

by Brett Larner The Japanese outdoor track season began in earnest Apr. 9 with the first of the season's major meets, the Kanaguri Memorial Track Meet in Kumamoto. Locally-based Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) had the biggest result of the day with a world-leading 15:18.70 to win the women's 5000 m after dueling with fellow Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki). 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) was 3rd in 15:51.33, holding off former Tamagawa University ace Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) in Tanaka's pro debut. Tanaka's teammate, the unknown Kaho Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), was almost as strong in the 5000 m B-heat, running 15:56.03 for the win. Titus Waroru, Takuya Ishikawa and Daniel Gitau in the men's 5000 m. Click here to enlarge photo. In the men's 5000 m, Kenyans took the top five spots with Edward Waweru (Team NTN) coming in a step ahead of 10000 m Japanese all-comers' record holder Josepha

Kawauchi Returns to Action - Nittaidai Time Trials Entry Lists

by Brett Larner The 2011 Nittai University Time Trials series gets underway next weekend in Yokohama. A tuneup event for other track meets on Japan's spring calendar, the 214th edition of Nittai sees the return to action of Japan's current #1 marathoner, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama T&F Assoc.). The amateur who made worldwide news with a moving 2:08:37 3rd-place finish at February's Tokyo Marathon, Kawauchi comes to Nittai fresh from having been named to Japan's 2011 World Championships marathon team as its #1 man. Entered in both Saturday's 10000 m A-heat and Sunday's 5000 m A-heat it's unlikely he will run both, but whichever distance he chooses it is safe to say that everyone will be watching Kawauchi. This early in the season most distance men are focusing on 5000 m, and as a result the 5000 m A-heat features a larger number of noteworthy names. Among them are Japan's top man at last month's World XC Championships, Hirotaka Tamura (Nihon Univ

Machida Leaves to Shoot for World Champs Spot at Daegu Int'l Marathon translated by Brett Larner With last month's Nagoya International Women's Marathon having been cancelled in the wake of the disasters to hit northeastern Japan, marathoner Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) left Japan's Kansai International Airport on Apr. 6 to try for a spot on this summer's World Championships marathon squad at one of the designated substitute races for Nagoya, this Sunday's Daegu International Marathon. Machida was caught in February's major earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand while there on a federation-sponsored training junket, returning to Japan only to have her team's base in Osaki, Miyagi be heavily hit by the Mar. 11 earthquake. "I want to run fast so I can send back some good news," she said. If she fails to make the World Championships team, Machida plans to retire following this weekend's marathon. The 30 year-old Machida, a native of Saitama,