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Showing posts from May, 2013

'Marathon Runner Yoshida Gets One-Year Doping Ban' Thank you to reader Robert McKenzie for bringing this unfortunate article, which I missed while in Manchester last weekend, to my attention.  Very sad news of a positive EPO test by  Kaori Yoshida  (Puma RC) at last December's Honolulu Marathon.  As far as I am aware this is the first time an elite-level Japanese marathoner has had a positive test.  Anyone with knowledge of any previous Japanese positive tests please feel free to post factual details in the comments section. Yoshida won the 2006 Hokkaido Marathon, 2008 Casablanca Marathon and 2012 Gold Coast Marathon, setting her 2:29:45 PB at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. photo (c) 2010 Dr. Helmut Winter all rights reserved

Akaba and Kawauchi Top Japanese Entries for Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner photo courtesy of Gold Coast Airport Marathon The Gold Coast Airport Marathon has announced that it has recruited its best-ever lineup of elite Japanese athletes for this year's running on July 7.  Passed over for the Moscow World Championships despite running 2:24:43 for 3rd at April's London Marathon, Yukiko Akaba  (Team Hokuren) is a coup for organizers and should make short work of Eriko Asai 's twenty-year-old course record of 2:29:29.  Hoping to join her is Sydney Marathon course record holder  Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 4th in last year's race in 2:13:26 and looking to improve on both his placing and the 2:10:01 men's record in his last marathon before the World Championships.  If both are successful it will be the first Japanese sweep since 2007. Eri Okubo  set her best of 2:26:08 at last year's Tokyo Marathon and will be making her first major appearance since quitting the Second Wind AC team earlier this spring.   T

National University Women's Invitational Ekiden to Return After Three-Year Absence Dec. 23 at Mt. Fuji translated by Brett Larner National University Athletics Federation director Kosuke Hori , 78, appeared at a press conference on May 27 together with Shizuoka prefecture governor Heita Kawakatsu , to announce that the towns of Fuji and Fujinomiya at the base of Mt. Fuji will be the new hosts of the National University Women's Invitational Ekiden this Dec. 23.  The ekiden was held in Tsukuba, Ibaraki for three years beginning in 2007, but has been suspended indefinitely since 2010.  Its return on a new course around Mt. Fuji will be its first running since then. Governor Kawakatsu smiled broadly as he told reporters, "Dec. 23 is the Emperor's birthday, so it is going to be a very wonderful day.  His Majesty was gracious enough to send a message saying, "I am looking forward to seeing our collegiate women run in the foothills of Mount Fuji." According to race organizers, the ekiden will be

Omwamba Secures Triple Title; More World-Class Sprinting at Kanto Regionals

by Brett Larner After doubling in the 1500 m and 10000 m last weekend, Yamanashi Gakuin University sophomore Enock Omwamba  took his third title of this year's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, outrunning #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Suguru Osako  (Waseda Univ.) and fellow Kenyan Daniel Kitonyi  (Nihon Univ.) for the win in the Div. I 5000 m, clocking a solid 13:31.54.   Kosei Yamaguchi  (Josai Univ.), 6th in 13:55.85, deserves special mention for running the 5000 m just after winning his fourth-straight Kanto Div. I steelechase title.  The Div. II 5000 m was a nearly perfect replica of the Div. I race, Duncan Muthee  (Takushoku Univ.) outkicking Yudai   Okamoto  (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) and Ethiopian Leul Gebrselassie  (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) for the win in 13:56.22. Earlier the same morning, Takumi Honda  of 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University  took the honors in the Div. I half marathon, running 1:04:25 just ahead of a 1:04:38 photo finish between

Kawauchi Gets Kurobe CR in Payback for Last Year's Runner-up Finish translated by Brett Larner 6098 people completed the May 26 Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon .  First among them was the race's star invited athlete, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi  (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who set a new course record of 1:03:58 in taking the win.  In 26-degree temperatures Kawauchi ran head-to-head against locally-based corporate team YKK's ace, Naohiro Yamada , 28.  Suddenly taking off at the 13 km point, Kawauchi shot away from Yamada and ran all-out for the final 8 km to secure the win and record. The race was Kawauchi's fifth half marathon this month, but despite the accumulated fatigue and the 26-degree heat he obliterated the 1:04:46 record set in 2010 by YKK's Tetsuo Nishikawa .  "It was really hot out there," Kawauchi said afterward.  "I drank at every water station."  After finishing he poured cups of water over his head, thirstily gulping down Ku

Ishikawa and Fujiwara Crack Top Ten in Manchester

by Brett Larner Running in their first road race since clocking 2:08:51 and 2:09:10 at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, teammates Suehiro Ishikawa  and Masakazu Fujiwara  of the Honda corporate team both cleared the top eight at the May 26 Great Manchester Run , Ishikawa improving on his 8th-place finish at last year's race with a 28:56 clocking for 6th but Fujiwara, a member of Japan's marathon squad for August's World Championships, running 29:32 for 8th after coming down with a cough on race morning.  Double Commonwealth Games gold medalist Moses Kipsiro  (Uganda) won in 27:52 in a tight sprint finish over London Olympics marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang  (Kenya) and multi-world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie  (Ethiopia), who set a 40+ world record of 28:00.  Unusually for a gold label race, athletes from nine different countries placed in the top ten. Tirunesh Dibaba  (Ethiopia) soloed a course record of 30:49 in the women's race, running a stun

Fujiwara and Ishikawa Face Gebrselassie and Kipsang at Sunday's Great Manchester Run

by Brett Larner Moscow World Championships men's marathon squad member Masakazu Fujiwara and his Honda teammate Suehiro Ishikawa  will make a return to the roads at Sunday's Bupa Great Manchester Run 10 km for the first time since running 2:08:51 and 2:09:10 at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.  Appearing through the support of JRN, the two Japanese athletes will face a field including former marathon world record holder and four-time defending champion Haile Gebrselassie  (Ethiopia), London Olympics marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang  (Kenya) and more.  The great Tirunesh Dibaba  (Ethiopia) leads the women's field along with home-soil tops  Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain) and Gemma Steel  (Great Britain) and marathoners Jelena Procopcuka (Latvia) and Christelle Daunay  (France). Fujiwara, the Japanese debut marathon and collegiate marathon national record holder at 2:08:12, will be making his debut on U.K. soil, while Ishikawa will be seeking to improve

Noguchi Leaves for Altitude Training in U.S. translated by Brett Larner 2004 Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (34, Team Sysmex) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on May 22 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado. Interviewed prior to her departure, she said that she is aiming to make the 2016 Rio Olympics. Following her withdrawal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics Noguchi struggled with injuries for years, but after a 3rd-place finish at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon she made her first national team in ten years, qualifying for the Moscow World Championships marathon squad and signaling that she is well on her way to a complete return to form. "Last year I didn't have it in me [to make the Olympics], but since Nagoya I've felt the way I used to," she said. "My injury problems have finally gone away." Noguchi will be training in Boulder together with the

Omwamba Dominates First Weekend of Kanto Regionals With 1500 m and 10000 m Double

by Brett Larner For the second-straight year, Kenyan Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) pulled off the 1500 m - 10000 m double on the first weekend of the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 18-19 in Tokyo's National Stadium.  Despite high winds in Saturday's Division I 1500 m final, Omwamba went out hard with a 55-second opening lap, holding on alone to take a full 4 seconds off the meet record with a new best of 3:39.16.  Runner-up  Hiroki Matsueda  (Juntendo Univ.) was more than 10 seconds behind, narrowly beating Kazuki Miyake  (Chuo Univ.) for 2nd with both cracking 3:50.  Division II winner Masaki Toda  (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) also got under 3:50 with the fastest Japanese time of the day, 3:49.52. A day later, Omwamba won again against a tough field in the Division I 10000 m.  Facing Nihon University's new Kenyan ace Daniel Kitonyi , 2013 Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage winner Shota Hattori  (Nittai Univ.), Meiji University star Shuho Dairokuno

Tanui Sets 10000 m World Leader at Kyushu Corporate Championships

by Brett Larner 2011 World Cross Country silver medalist Paul Tanui  (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) delivered the biggest run of a weekend of regional corporate track and field championships, setting a meet record at the Kyushu region championships 10000 m in a world-leading 27:21.50. His teammate Sally Chepyego  (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) likewise brought her best with a meet record 15:17.47 in the women's 5000 m.  Moscow World Championships marathon team members Kazuhiro Maeda  (Team Kyudenko) and Kentaro Nakamoto  (Team Yasukawa Denki) both ran well behind Tanui to go sub-29, Nakamoto for only the second time in his career. Less than an hour after Tanui's world leading run, London Olympics 10000 m 5th-place Bedan Karoki  (Kenya/DeNA RC) flashed the flamboyant colors of the new DeNA uniform to win the East Japan region 10000 m in 27:30.65, the fastest time in the world this year behind Tanui.  Ethiopian Asmeraw Mengistu  (Team Honda), hired as the Honda team's B-African behind 201

Tadese Over Mathathi for Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon CR; Tufa Gets Women's CR in Close Race With Kirwa

by Brett Larner video by Nick Ramsay World record holder Zersenay Tadese  (Eritrea) took down defending champion Martin Mathathi  (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) at Sunday's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon , getting away early to set a new course record of 1:00:31.  Leading a pack of six through a 14:14 opening 5 km split, Tadese dropped a 14:04 over the next 5 km to take the race out of the competition's comfort zones and go ahead alone.  With a 37-second lead over the chase group of Mathathi, Jacob Wanjuki  (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) and Cyrus Njui (Kenya/ Team Hitachi Butsuryu) at 15 km Tadese backed off to a 14:34 split from 15 to 20 km, but despite Mathathi and Wanjuki picking it up and closing the gap they were too far away and had to settle for a duel for 2nd, Mathathi proving the stronger as he crossed the line in 1:00:54, two seconds ahead of Wanjuki.  Moscow World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), running just a week after going sub-64 at th

Japanese Federation Establishes Sexual Harassment and Abuse Counseling Service translated by Brett Larner The Japanese Federation, Rikuren, announced on May 17 that it is establishing a new counseling service effective May 20 to help deal with the problems of sexual harassment and physical abuse.  Those in need of assistance and consultation can contact the service through a dedicated telephone hotline or the official website. Within the track and field world, problems have recently arisen including a national champion-level high school coach who repeatedly employed corporal punishment against team members , and how punishment should be dealt with.

A Million Times

Today JRN received its millionth visitor since it began in 2007.  Thank you.  A million times.

Kanto-Region Collegiates Osako and the Shitara Twins Lead Push Into New Era of Japanese Men's Distance Running - Kanto Regionals Preview

by Brett Larner This weekend is the first of two for the biggest meet in Japanese university athletics, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships . Thanks to the presence of the legendary Hakone Ekiden the Kanto region or KGRR is the center of Japanese university men’s distance running, and its regional championships are both deeper and higher-quality than the National meet where a limited number of KGRR schools compete with universally weaker schools from other parts of the country. With a 27:38.31 by 21-year-old Waseda University senior Suguru Osako last month at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational , sub-28 runs from identical twin Toyo University seniors Keita and Yuta Shitara , both 21, at last week’s Golden Games in Nobeoka and much more there has been a rush of activity by Japan’s 18-22 set recently. It’s time for an update of JRN’s ongoing comparison of the best of this group with their counterparts in the United States’ NCAA, a comparison to wh

1:01:16 Half Marathoner Tsubota Takes Over as Ekiden Head Coach at Hosei University translated by Brett Larner Hosei University announced on May 15 that ekiden assistant coach Tomoo Tsubota , 35, has been promoted to the team's head coach position. Previous head coach Michihiko Narita , 56, moved to the assistant director's office in April. Tsubota joined the Konica Minolta team in 2000 after graduating from Hosei, running the 10000 m at the 2003 World Championships.  Since 2010 he has been acting as assistant coach at Hosei on special assignment from the Konica Minolta corporation.

Fujiwara Not Planning to Race Until At Least Autumn; "I Just Have to Take My Time Recovering" translated by Brett Larner London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara  (31, Miki House), working through a slow recovery from an injury, said at a Tokyo-area event on May 12 that he is not planning to race next until the fall at the earliest.  "I just have to take my time recovering.  There's nothing else I can do," he said. Fujiwara pulled out of February's Tokyo Marathon after developing problems in his left leg.  He took time off in March before starting to jog again in April.  "There is still time before the next Olympics, so now I am targeting a time goal.  I want to get to 2:06," he said, confirming that he is targeting Toshinari Takaoka 's Japanese national record of 2:06:16.

Mogusu and Noguchi Win Sendai International Half Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner Past greats returned to the top of the 23rd Sendai International Half Marathon on May 11, as Moscow World Championships marathon team member Mizuki Noguchi  (Team Sysmex) won the women's race in a virtually solo 1:10:36 and sub-60 Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Nissin Shokuhin) took a hard-earned 1:01:54 win over 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau  (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) and defending Sendai champion Johana Maina  (Kenya/Team Fujitsu). Noguchi easily outdistanced 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi  (Team Wacoal) for her third Sendai title and first win since 2008, one of her last races before the injury that knocked her out of the Beijing Olympics and far beyond.  Coming on the heels of her strong 2:24:05 for 3rd at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon her win suggests that Noguchi is still on the way back up to her former greatness leading on to Moscow. For Mogusu, winner of most of Japan's other top-level half marathons durin

21-Year-Old Shitara Twins Sub-28 at Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m

by Brett Larner photo by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu video by Ekiden News Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University 's identical twin stars Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara delivered a piece of history Saturday in the men's 10000 m at Japan's best spring meet, the Golden Games in Nobeoka.  Running steadily, patiently and under control behind 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi  (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and grinding down all other competition, Keita, who earlier this season set the Japanese collegiate 30 km record of 1:29:55 in Kumamoto, kicked away from Mathathi with 200 m to go to win in a meet record 27:51.54, breaking the legendary Toshihiko Seko 's age 21 best of 27:51.61. Mathathi also cleared the old record in 27:52.65.  Right with them until the last surge, Yuta, who last year set a stage record at the Hakone Ekiden, outkicked World Half Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.) at the New York City Half Marathon for

Golden Games in Nobeoka Lead Off Three Straight Weeks of Track Action

by Brett Larner Ekiden News is scheduled to live stream the Golden Games in Nobeoka Meet, with the major events beginning at 7:00 p.m. Japan time on May 11. Watch live here. This weekend marks the start of three straight weeks of regional championship track action in the lead-up to the June 7-9 National Championships.  The biggest meet of the weekend is Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka , where the focus will be on the men's 10000 m.  2007 Osaka World Championships bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/ Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) leads a field of thirteen, many collegiate men, looking to get under 28 and hopefully closer to joining Suguru Osako  (Waseda Univ.) and Yuki Sato  (Team Nissin Shokuhin) under the Moscow World Championships A-standard of 27:40.00.  From Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University  are Keita  and Yuta Shitara , looking to become the first Japanese twins to both go sub-28, and from National University Ekiden course record holder are Komaz

Moscow World Championships Marathoners Kawauchi and Noguchi Headline Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner In its second edition since being cancelled after the 2011 tsunami, the May 12  Sendai International Half Marathon plays host to Moscow World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Mizuki Noguchi  (Team Sysmex). Having moved to a mass-participation format with a scaled-back elite field that has largely moved to the new Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon a week later, Sendai nevertheless still presents Kawauchi with tough competition.  Defending champion Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) returns after improving his PB at Feburary's Marugame International Half Marathon.   Mekubo Mogusu  (Kenya) has run sub-60 to win the Marugame, Sapporo International and Ichinoseki half marathons but has never finished better than 2nd in Sendai and will be looking to remedy that situation.  2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau  (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) and Mogusu's college-era rival Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) round ou

Top Hakone Ekiden Coaches to Speak at Tohoku H.S. Incoming Student Event translated by Brett Larner Tohoku High School will hold a welcoming event for incoming students on May 11 in Sendai.  Together with their friend and Tohoku head coach Takehiko Shibuya , 53, a number of coaches from top-finishing teams at this year's Hakone Ekiden will appear to take part in a panel discussion, including Kenji Beppu , 47, who led Nittai University to its first Hakone win in 30 years, runner-up Toyo University 's Nao Sato , 60, and Takayuki Nakano  of Teikyo University , whose 4th-place finish was its best showing since 2000.  Tohoku H.S. alumnus Hatsuo Okubo , 58, who won the Hakone Ekiden's uphill Fifth Stage all four years of his university career, will also appear.  The discussion of Hakone's run up the mountain should be a good one. This year Tohoku's hopes are high with two superb athletes who ran well for Miyagi in last summer's National Junior High School Championsh

Atsushi Sato Aiming for Fukuoka in Second Year Based Back in Fukushima translated by Brett Larner On leave from the Hiroshima-based Chugoku Denryoku company team, this month half marathon national record holder and Beijing Olympian Atsushi Sato , 34, marks two years since relocating his training base back to his native Fukushima.  "I want to do my part in helping rebuild Fukushima," he said of his move back to his hometown of Aizubange-machi.  For the last year Sato has been busy, coaching training sessions and giving lectures for local athletes, studying as a research fellow at Fukushima University, and getting coaching advice from Fukushima University head coach Kazuhisa Kawamoto . Last November Sato finished 3rd at the Osaka Marathon, but after developing problems with his right leg he was unable to race at 100% and missed his goal of making this year's World Championships marathon team.  He is now focused on being ready to race December's Fukuoka International Marathon. As

Kawauchi Declines Prizes After Winning Toyohiragawa Half Marathon: "I'm Here for the People" translated and edited by Brett Larner Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi  (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the 25th anniversary Toyohiragawa Half Marathon in Sapporo on May 5, running a solo 1:05:45.   A day earlier , Kawauchi also ran the May 4 Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon at home in Saitama.  "That's a first even for me," he said.  After finishing Toyohiragawa, he declined to be named winner and turned down the prizes.  With no top-level corporate or university competition in the race, Kawauchi said, "It wouldn't be right to accept prizes.  I'm here for the people, and if that helps make the race more popular then I've accomplished my mission."  He then went out into the crowds to greet fans, smiling and talking to them one by one. Appearing onstage as a presenter at the award ceremony, he was gree

'World Lead for Melich in Tokyo - IAAF World Challenge' Click here for complete results from the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet.

Kiryu Confident Ahead of Shot at First Japanese Sub-10: "I Want to Go Out There and Have Some Fun" translated by Brett Larner At a Tokyo-area press conference on May 4 promoting the May 5 Seiko Golden Grand Prix Tokyo track and field meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, the new star of the men's 100 m,  Yoshihide Kiryu  (17, Rakunan H.S.), appeared confident before his shot at the first Japanese men's sub-10 clocking, revealing that his mental keywords ahead of the race are "fun" and "second half." At the April 29 Oda Memorial Meet Kiryu ran 10.01, the all-time second-fastest Japanese men's time and both tying the world junior record and clearing the Japanese Federation's criteria for the Moscow World Championships team.  "That time surprised me too," said Kiryu.  "but I've gotten myself together mentally and I'm ready to take on this race." Having reviewed videos of his race at home he feels that he now understands what he needs to do to achieve a 9

A Year and a Day

Adam Yauch, 8/5/64-5/4/12. R.I.P.

Kawauchi Meets Kawauchi Impersonator translated and edited by Brett Larner click here for a photo of Kawauchi reluctantly posing with his impersonator Moscow World Championships marathon team member and civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't) made a special guest appearance at the 25th anniversary running of his local Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon on May 4.  Starting at the absolute rear, he passed almost the entire field of 5755 to cross the finish line in 10th. Kawauchi also had a run-in with an imitation Kawauchi.  In the men's 10 km division, professional impersonator Takashi M.  ran wearing a uniform identical to Kawauchi's emblazoned across the chest with "Saitama Prefectural Government," finishing in 34:46.  After the race Takashi M. met the real item and the two posed for a dream (nightmare?) picture together, but the real Kawauchi had a somewhat offended