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Showing posts from November, 2012

Fujiwara and Kawauchi Fire Shots at Fukuoka Pre-Race Press Conference translated by Brett Larner click here for JRN's Fukuoka preview The top invited athletes for the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon, the first domestic selection race for the Japanese men's marathon team for next August's Moscow World Championships, appeared at a pre-race press conference in Fukuoka on Nov. 30 full of motivation and ready to go.  The first of them across the line will score a guaranteed place on the team if he is under 2:08:00. At the press conference, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara  (Miki House) and Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref.) brought the fireworks as they took shots at each other.  The two independents trained together several times between February's Tokyo Marathon and the Olympics.  Fujiwara told the media, "I'm in this race because Kawauchi is here."  Kawauchi fired back, "I have no intention of losing.  When we trained together I didn't see any

2012 Fukuoka International Marathon Preview

by Brett Larner click here for quotes from the Fukuoka pre-race press conference The Fukuoka International Marathon has been in the news a lot this fall, hosting the Japanese men's first stab at the Federation's ambitious sub-2:08 World Championships standard, a duel between popular individualists Arata Fujiwara  (Miki House) and Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref.) and the marathon debut of the mighty Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), bringing back 2006 winner Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and taking in a half-dozen transplants from the cancelled New York City Marathon.  It looks like an exciting, multi-layered race, but despite international interest the IAAF gold-label Fukuoka remains characteristically closed to the world at large.  The race will be broadcast live nationwide on TV Asahi beginning at 12:00 p.m. on TV Asahi.  The best bet for trying to watch online at this stage is still Keyhole TV despite an erratic channel selection since an update earlier thi

Ndambiri, Deguchi, Iwai, Aoyama Gakuin to Race Dec. 2 Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler translated by Brett Larner The 37th Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler takes place this Sunday, Dec. 2.  In the main race of the day, the Japanese-only open division, there is no shortage of exciting competition on tap with top corporate and university runners squaring off over 10 miles (16.093 km). 133 Japanese men make up the open division.  Among the major contenders for the victory are 2010 winner Ryuji Watanabe  (Team Toyota Kyushu) fresh from winning three stages at the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden, and this year's 5000 m national champion Kazuya Deguchi  (Team Asahi Kasei).  Invited athletes  Kazuharu Takai  (Team Kyudenko), Tomohiro Shiiya  (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Yusuke Hasegawa  (Team S&B) are also likely to be caught up in the action. Noteworthy locals include defending champion Yuki Iwai  (Team Asahi Kasei), 2:08:38 marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda  (Team Kyudenko), 2012 National Championships 5000 m 4th placer Takaya Iwasaki  (T

Kawauchi Headlines Dec. 16 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon

by Brett Larner The organizers of the Dec. 16 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon released their 2012 elite field on Nov. 28.  While Hofu has evidently cut its small international field, for the second year in a row it will star the great Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref.) in an inexplicably suicidal double just two weeks after the Fukuoka International Marathon.  Last year Kawauchi ran 2:09:57 for 3rd in Fukuoka in an inspirational performance, then followed up in Hofu with a head-to-head battle with Mongolian defending champion  Serod Batochir  where he placed 2nd in 2:12:33.  This year Kawauchi is shooting for 2:07 in Fukuoka, and with no Batochir to push him the best you could probably say is that a slower time seems likely in Hofu. Kawauchi's strongest competition should come from Taiga Ito  (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Ito holds a 2:13:16 best from last year's Gold Coast Marathon but has struggled with frequent injury problems since then.  A 2:18:55 at the Oct. 28 Oikawa Marathon as a trai

A Bolder Arata Fujiwara Talks About the Training and Pyschology Behind His Return From Olympic Breakdown translated by Brett Larner photo by Dr. Helmut Winter Running the London Olympics marathon as the ace man on the Japanese team, he crossed the finish line a hollow and defeated 45th in 2:19:11. Now, four months later, 2:07:48 man  Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) is readying himself for a return to racing at the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon. Seiichi Yoshida talked to Fujiwara in-depth about what has been inside him as he has focused on Fukuoka. You've said that at the Aug. 12 London Olympics marathon your form broke down , but one more time, could you analyze that failure and talk about how you interpret it and rationalize it to yourself? When I went to St. Moritz in Switzerland to do altitude training (at 1700 m)  my body got very strong, but I couldn't get into the kind of motion I have when I'm in one of my good cycles.  The London course had an extremely large number of curves, abundant in va

Lateralus Revisited

Non-running related, but three years ago today, coincidentally enough the day after I published my "Credit Where Credit Is Due" article, the group I played in did this performance of my arrangement of Tool's "Lateralus" for eight-piece koto ensemble.  Today it's the most-viewed video of koto music on Youtube.  When I listen to it now I still feel that we touched something higher that night.

'Rupp, Puskedra and Japanese Distance Running' Hmmn, the table at the heart of this article by Mitch Kastoff on Flotrack  looks familiar .  I think I've seen that picture of Rupp before too. Update: It appears that Flotrack has added an apology to the article, but at this stage as far as I am aware I've neither been formally asked for nor given permission for my copyrighted material to be used on their website and have not been compensated for its use.  It's hard to see where there is a "misunderstanding" in taking someone else's work, attaching phrases such as "we assembled a list" and "our table," and republishing it.  I'm not from Texas but where I come from that would generally be described as "theft." It's a strange coincidence that "Credit Where Credit is Due" was published exactly three years ago to the

Sho Matsumoto Looking to Take Down Kawauchi and Pick Up His Ticket to Worlds translated by Brett Larner At the Nov. 25 Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon , Kawagoe resident  Sho Matsumoto , 27, won overall in a course record time of 1:05:33.  As a first-year at Tokyo University he showed his determination by making the 2005 Hakone Ekiden on the Kanto Regional University Select Team.  Crossing Kawagoe's finish line with arms outspread almost eight years later, he outran all the invited university runners in the field.  "That was a lot faster than I planned," he said with a rueful smile.  "I'm surprised too.  Maybe I overdid it a little....."  The truth is that Matsumoto is entered to run next weekend's Fukuoka International Marathon, a selection race for the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  "I just planned to go out at a moderate, conservative pace, but it was feeling easy and I found myself running in 2nd.  With 500 m to go I kicked for the win.  I'm prob

Batochir and Simon Win Osaka, Takahashi and Ouchi Take Kobe translated and edited by Brett Larner In their second editions the Osaka Marathon and Kobe Marathon moved to the same day, Nov. 25, meaning that one greater metropolitan area held two large-scale marathons simultaneously with combined fields of 50,000. In Osaka, men's winner Serod Batochir  (Mongola) ran 2:11:52 to set a new course record.  The top Japanese finisher, Yasuyuki Nakamura  (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), was 2nd in a PB 2:15:37, while half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato  (Team Chugoku Denryoku) was 3rd in 2:16:26.  Defending men's champion  Elijah Sang  (Kenya) faded badly after running the first part of the race in the lead pack, finishing 8th in 2:33:33. Defending women's champion Lidia Simon  (Romania) won in 2:33:12 by more than one minute over Kenyan Julia Mumbi , w

Hasegawa Hits World Champs 10000 m B-Standard, 17 Collegiates Sub-29 in Tokyo

text and Kanto video by Brett Larner Hachioji video by B1853264 Two major time trial meets focusing on the men's 10000 m took place in Tokyo Nov. 24, the pro-oriented Hachioji Long Distance Time Trials meet in Tokyo's western suburbs, and the Kanto Region University Long Distance Time Trials meet at the National Stadium. The focus in the A-heat in Hachioji was on the 2013 World Championships A and B qualifying times of 27:40.00 and 28:05.00.  With impeccable pacing from Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B) in 14:00 through 5000 m, former Jobu University ace Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B), 2011 year-leader Tsuyoshi Ugachi  (Team Konica Minolta) and Kenyans Patrick Mwaka  (Team Aisan Kogyo) and  Alex Mwangi  (Team YKK) cleared the B-standard, Hasegawa going sub-60 on his final lap to deliver a 15-second PB of 27:50.64.  With outstanding conditions four other men in the top ten ran PBs of 20 to 45 seconds, led by 2012 Waseda University graduate Yusuke Mita  (Team JR Higashi

Asahi Kasei Dominates Final New Year Ekiden Qualifier translated and edited by Brett Larner For the third year in a row Team Asahi Kasei  won the seven stage, 78.8 km Kyushu Corporate Men's Ekiden, dominating the race's 49th edition on Nov. 23.  With Olympian Ryuji Ono  taking the lead on the Third Stage with a stage best run, anchor Takuya Fukatsu  setting a new stage record and every team member finishing in the top four on time on their stage, there was little question of the team securing its 42nd win in the event's history. Team Yasukawa Denki  presented a challenge in the early going with Hiroki Kubota running the fastest time on the Second Stage, but anchor Kentaro Nakamoto , the London Olympics marathon 6th placer, faded and could not maintain position.   Team Toyota Kyushu  started slow, only getting into the game with a stage best run by ace Masato Imai  on the Third Stage

Ueno Solos Second-Straight Fuchu Tamagawa Half Win translated and edited by Brett Larner The 35th Fuchu Tamagawa Half Marathon took place Nov. 23 in Tokyo's western suburb of Fuchu.  In their last road race before the Jan. 1-2 Hakone Ekiden, defending Fuchu Tamagawa winner Wataru Ueno  and teammate Toshiaki Nishizawa  of 2012 National University Men's Ekiden champion Komazawa University  went 1-2.  Both athletes ran well from the start, running together through 10 km before Ueno made a move to go alone into the lead just before 13 km, leaving Nishizawa behind to fade away.  Looking calm and composed he ran as though there was nothing else, taking the win in 1:05:01.  At the other end of the spectrum, Nishizawa's face showed the strain of the second half of the race and he drifted to a distant 2nd in 1:06:20.  In terms of their placing they showed the characteristic Komazawa strength, but neither athlete was able to reach his time goal.  Both athletes gave comments after the race. Wataru Ue

Kenya Over Japan for Second-Straight International Chiba Ekiden Win

by Brett Larner For the second year in a row, Kenya and Japan battled back and forth for the lead of the International Chiba Ekiden all the way, with Kenya pulling ahead in the final two km to a narrow victory in 2:05:06 to Japan's 2:05:16.  All three Kenyan women on the team won their stages,  Gladys Cherono  and anchor Joyce Chepkirui  setting new records on their legs.  Olympic 10000 m medalist Galen Rupp  won his stage to bring the U.S.A close to the leaders but could not improve his team's position, the U.S.A. taking 3rd in 2:06:36.  Russia, the Japanese University Select Team, Canada, New Zealand and hosts Chiba Prefecture rounded out the top eight, with New Zealand's twins Jake  and Zane Robertson  winning their stages.  Although times were slower than last year in the cold rain the day brought, in all it felt like the highest-level, most truly international edition of Chiba since the switch to the joint men's and women's team format. The Japanese Univ

International Chiba Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner Continuing on with its unique and entertaining format of alternating men and women on each stage the Nov. 23  International Chiba Ekiden boasts its strongest overall field since switching from separate men's and women's races, with London Olympics medalists Priscah Jeptoo  and Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya and American  Galen Rupp crowning the lists.  The race will be broadcast live nationwide on Fuji TV beginning at 1:00 p.m. local time.   Keyhole TV  has reportedly not been working recently, leaving limited viewing options for international fans.  JRN will cover the ekiden via Twitter  @JRNLive .  Please note that this is not the regular  @JRNHeadlines  feed, so follow both to be sure to get all updates.  Live results should be available after each stage on  the official race website .   Fuji's race website  is also worth a check. Defending Chiba winner and course record holder  Kenya is the favorite again this year, with Jeptoo, Longosiwa, Edwin Soi  

2012 NCAA XC and 2012 National University Men's Ekiden Championships Top Five Teams Compared

by Brett Larner Just under two weeks after the Japanese IUAU 's Nov. 4 Japanese National University Men's Ekiden Championships , the American NCAA held its National Cross-Country Championships on Nov. 17.  Although different styles of racing and on different surfaces, the fall national championship events of the world's two leading university men's distance running systems focus on similar distances, the eight-man Japanese collegiate teams averaging 13.35 km and each of the seven men on the NCAA teams running 10 km.  With the athletes in both systems peaking at almost the same time for races of almost the same distance it's worth a look at how the top five teams in each national championship event compare. Given the overall emphasis on longer distances in the Japanese collegiate system and on shorter distances in the American system evident in the tables below, 5000 m, the only distance at which almost all athletes from all ten schools have posted PB marks, a

Ekiden Weekend Roundup - Olympic Marathoner Ryo Yamamoto Returns to Action

by Brett Larner Along with weekend's major domestic races, the Ageo City Half Marathon and Yokohama International Women's Marathon, no less than five major ekidens took place across the country. At Saturday's cold and rainy 74th Biwako University Ekiden , the eight stage, 83.6 km year-end championship for men's university teams from western Japan, Kyoto Sangyo University pulled off a third-straight win after a disappointing 2012 season. Never far from the front, Kyoto Sangyo took the lead on the 7.3 km Second Stage, losing it momentarily on the 11.0 km Third Stage to rival Daiichi Kogyo University 's Kenyan ringer John Kariuki but returning on the next leg thanks to a stage win by Naoto Nakai . Kyoto Sangyo's next two runners built the team's lead up to 2:18, but a weak run by seventh man Makoto Kan cut the margin by a minute and left anchor Naoya Yoshioka with 1:16 to try to hold off Ritsumeikan University 's 1500 m specialist Toshiki Imazeki o