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Showing posts from August, 2013

'Great North Run: "Citizen Runner" Yuki Kawauchi to Compete' Along with Kawauchi, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara  (Miki House) will run his first race of 2013 at the Great North Run after recovering from a long injury following December's Fukuoka International Marathon.  Among the other Japanese men competing at the Great North Run,  Ryuji Watanabe  (Team Toyota Kyushu) and Tomohiro Tanigawa  (Team Konica Minolta) both beat Kawauchi at July's Shibetsu Half Marathon, making for an interesting race-inside-a-race.   Ryota Matoba  (Team Komori Corp.) and female athletes Ayaka Hitomi  (Team Shimamura) and Misaki Kato  (Team Kyudenko) round out the Japanese contingent appearing at the Great North Run with support from JRN.

Gokaya and Watanabe Win 2013 Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner With Japan's premier summer marathon bringing back its elite field this year, corporate league runners Koji Gokaya  (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Yuko Watanabe  (Team Edion) scored their first marathon wins, taking the men's and women's Hokkaido Marathon titles in 2:14:26 and 2:29:13 on Aug. 25 in Sapporo. Following an early break by Shingo Igarashi  (Team Subaru) and by 2010 Nobeoka Marathon winner  Masaki Shimoju  (Team Konica Minolta), Gokaya, who finished 7th at the 2011 Chicago Marathon in 2:12:15, ran in a dense lead pack through 35 km before turning it on, grinding down Shigeki Tsuji  (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to open a margin of 19 seconds before crossing the finish line.  Tsuji, the only runner to try to stay with Gokaya, was a comfortable 2nd in 2:14:45, 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack led by Shimoju, who held off past Gold Coast Marathon winner Dickson Marwa (Tanzania) in the last sprint for 3rd in 2:15:15.  Early leader Igarashi faded

Kaori Yoshida's Suspension for Positive Test at Honolulu Marathon Extended to Two Years translated by Brett Larner The Japan Sports Arbitration Agency announced on August 20 that it had approved an appeal from the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) to increase the suspension of marathoner Kaori Yoshida , 32, for a positive drug test at last December's Honolulu Marathon from one year to two years.  It is the first time arbitration of a case involving a doping violation has resulted in more severe punishment for the athlete.  Testing indicated that Yoshida had taken the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO) which acts to increase stamina, but accepting her explanation that the drug had unknowingly been part of a medicine she had been prescribed to treat anemia, the sentencing panel entrusted with handling JADA's findings gave her a shorter than usual suspension of only one year.  JADA appealed the sentence on the grounds that Yoshida did not exercise sufficient caution about what she w

Kawauchi Plans to Give Up On Rio Olympics If He Fails At Asian Games translated and edited by Brett Larner The Japanese National Team for this year's Moscow World Championships returned to Tokyo's Narita Airport on August 20.  Having finished 6th in the world as part of the men's 4x100 m relay team, Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) said that he will not race again until the Oct. 4-8 National Sports Festival at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium, wishing to focus himself on building his basic strength. After having finished 18th in the men's marathon, Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) signaled a potential retreat from pursuing future places on the National Team for summer championships depending on the outcome of the Dec. 1 Fukuoka International Marathon. A hardened expression never leaving his face, Kawauchi confirmed that he has established winning the marathon in the Sept.-Oct. 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, as the door that will open or close his &q

Kawauchi to Run ING New York City Marathon translated and edited by Brett Larner Having finished 18th in the Moscow World Championships marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) announced prior to his departure from the Moscow airport on Aug. 19 that he has accepted an invitation to run November's New York City Marathon. "I wasted my race in Moscow," he said, "so it's important that I take on the international challenge again." In preparation for New York he will take part in the Melbourne Marathon in October. He also plans to run the Fukuoka International Marathon in December in a bid to make the Japanese team for next year's Asian Games. Moscow 5th place finisher Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) said that his next marathon will be either Tokyo in February or Biwako Mainichi in March. "I've gotten to the point where a medal is in sight," he said. "Next it's 2:07 and the win." Note: Ka

Moscow World Championships Men's Marathon Broadcast Earns 26.9% Peak Viewership Rating translated by Brett Larner As part of its nine-day broadcast of the Moscow World Championships beginning August 10, TBS' broadcast of the August 17 men's marathon earned an average viewership rating of 23.1%, with peak viewership logged at 26.9%.  The highest viewership ratings came at 8:59 p.m. near the 9 km point of the race with a shot of members of the Japanese team in the lead pack chasing after breakaway leader  Tadese Tola  (Ethiopia), at 10:24 p.m. near 36.8 km when Kentaro Nakamoto  (Team Yasukawa Denki) was running in 6th in pursuit of the lead group, and at 10:26 p.m. when Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) ran past a group of supporters from his hometown of Kuki near the 35 km point. The Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team also earned good ratings on the August 18 broadcast.  With an overall average viewership of 13.0% for the broadcast slot from 9:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., viewership increased gradually from 10.2% at 9:4

Seko and Others Discuss How Nakamoto's Run Shows the Way for Japan's Marathoners to Compete With the World translated by Brett Larner On the 8th day of competition at the World Championships, August 17 in Moscow on a loop course starting and ending at Luzhniki Stadium, Kentaro Nakamoto  (Team Yasukawa Denki) ran 2:10:50 for 5th place.  Faced with the impossible task of following the Africans' wild pace changes, he pushed on steadily at his own pace to continue Japan's eight-championship streak of finishing in the top eight.  London Olympics champion Stephen Kiprotich  (Uganda) won in 2:09:51.  Among the other Japanese team members, Masakazu Fujiwara  (Team Honda) was 14th in 2:14:29, Kazuhiro Maeda  (Team Kyudenko) 17th in 2:15:25, and Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) 18th in 2:15:35. Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) was a DNF. We talked to three prominent members of the Japanese running industry, former marathon great and current DeNA Running Club executive head coach To

Moscow World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

by Brett Larner With 100 m national champion Ryota Yamagata  (Keio Univ.) off the team with a hamstring injury few expected the young Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team to make the final on the last night of the Moscow World Championships, but strong runs and impeccable exchanges from high school star Yoshihide Kiryu  (Rakunan H.S.), Yamagata's replacement Kenji Fujimitsu  (Team Zenrin), third man Kei Takase  (Team Fujitsu) and 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka  (Chuo Univ.) on anchor saw Japan leading the U.S. partway through the anchor leg of their heat before finishing 2nd in a season best 38.23 to advance.  Things went less smoothly in the final where alternate Fujimitsu started late, the choppy exchange from Kiryu that resulted putting Japan behind. Iizuka crossed the line 7th in 38.39, but the team was later elevated to 6th following Great Britain's disqualification.  For a young, inexperienced team without one of its strongest members or the pressure of expectat

Nakamoto 5th in Moscow World Championships Marathon

by Brett Larner In his third-straight appearance on a World Championships or Olympic team, Kentaro Nakamoto  (Team Yasukawa Denki) confirmed his position as Japan's best marathoner, building on his 10th-place finish at the 2011 Daegu World Championships and 6th-place finish last summer at the London Olympics with a characteristically steady and relentless race for 5th in 2:10:50 in the Moscow World Championships marathon after spending most of the race in the leading pack with eventual medalists Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), Lelisa Desisa  (Ethiopia) and Tadese Tola  (Ethiopia) and defending Chicago and London Marathon champion Tsegay Kebede  (Ethiopia). After a slow first 10 km the leading group settled onto a mid-2:10 pace where it stayed for the remainder of the day.  Nakamoto and Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't) were quick to position themselves near the front of the pack, with Kazuhiro Maeda  (Team Kyudenko) and Masakazu Fujiwara  (Team Honda) hanging back at the

Moscow World Championships - Day Seven Japanese Results

by Brett Larner On the seventh day of competition at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, national champions Hitomi Shimura  (Saga T&F Assoc.) and Yuki Ebihara  (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) were both eliminated in the opening rounds of the women's 100 m hurdles and women's javelin.  200 m men Kei Takase  (Team Fujitsu) and Yuichi Kobayashi  (Team NTN) were likewise cut out in the heats, Kobayashi run down in the final meters of Heat Four after running virtually even with world record holder Usain Bolt  (Jamaica) coming off the curve.  2010 world junior champion Shota Iizuka  (Chuo Univ.) took 3rd in Heat Six to advance to the semi-finals, but with only a slight improvement there he was unable to advance to the final.  Iizuka remains the anchor of the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team, but the team's hopes have been dimmed by the withdrawal of ace Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) with a hamstring injury sustained in the 100 m heats. Moscow World Championships Day Seven Mos

Japan's Five 2:08 Marathon Men Appear at Moscow Press Conference to Discuss World Championships Goals translated and edited by Brett Larner The Japanese men's marathon team for the ongoing Moscow World Championships appeared at a Moscow-area press conference on Aug. 15 to talk about their ambitions for the Aug. 17 race.   Kazuhiro Maeda  (Team Kyudenko), Yuki Kawauchi  (Saitama Pref. Gov't), Hiroyuki Horibata  (Team Asahi Kasei), Kentaro Nakamoto  (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Masakazu Fujiwara  (Team Honda) all took part in the press conference.  With all five men having run 2:08 to earn a place on the team, talk of making the top eight on Saturday was the main topic. Civil servant runner Kawauchi has taken his own unique approach to preparing for his second-straight World Championships, running a large number of races.  In the last World Championships in Daegu he finished 18th, b

Moscow World Championships - Day Six Japanese Results

by Brett Larner Three Japanese national champions took part in opening-round competition on the sixth day of the Moscow World Championships.  All three crapped out.  Them's the breaks, unfortunately. The men's 4x400 m relay team did better in its heat, delivering a season-best 3:02.43 for 4th but missing the cut to advance to the final on time, Brazil taking the slowest spot in 3:01.09. Moscow World Championships Day Six Moscow, 8/15/13 click here for complete results Women's 200 m Heat Four 1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) - 22.78 - Q 2. Elyzaveta Bryzgina (Ukraine) - 22.84 - Q 3. Kai Selvon (Trinidad and Tobago) - 23.14 - Q 4. Franciela Krasucki (Brazil) - 23.20 5. Justine Palframan (South Africa) - 23.64 6. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 23.85 7. Melissa Breen (Australia) - 23.95 Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat One 1. Jamaica - 3:00.41 - Q 2. Great Britain - 3:00.50 - Q 3. Venezuela - 3:02.04 4. Japan - 3:02.43 5. Dominican Republic - 3:03.61 6. Sp

All Smiles, Fukushi Returns to Japan, Saying of the Marathon, "I've Had Enough. I Won't Do Any More." translated by Brett Larner Moscow World Championships women's marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) returned to Japan on August 15 at Osaka's Kansai Airport, saying with a wide, ironic smile, "I guess I'm about to get buried by the consequences of this."  Fukushi ran on the track in four World Championships, but in her first appearance in the marathon she finally achieved what she has secretly wanted all along, a medal.  In the Kansai Airport arrival lobby she received an ovation from the crowds of Obon holiday travelers, never losing her smile as she dryly said, "A medal is pretty super awesome.  I'll be sure to tell my ancestors." With regard to her plans for future marathons she said, "I might change my mind at some point, but I've had enough.  I won't do any more."  She plans to take an extended break, returning in time for Dec

'Kipyego Targets Even Higher Glory' It seems as though this article on 2012 Tokyo Marathon winner Michael Kipyego  (Kenya) is truncated, but it is still a good read ahead of Saturday's Moscow World Championships marathon.

Kawauchi Impersonator Takashi M. to Pray at Peak of Mt. Fuji for Real Item's World Championships Victory translated by Brett Larner Saitama Prefectural Government civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi  professional impersonator athlete  Takashi M.  (28), has announced that he intends hold a special "Mt. Fuji Prayer Marathon" on Aug. 15 to pray at the peak of Mt. Fuji for a Kawauchi victory in Saturday's Moscow World Championships Marathon.  He intends to run up the World Heritage Site mountain to Fuji Sengen Shrine at its sacred summit to offer his prayers, saying that since he cannot cheer Kawauchi on in person he wants to send his voice westward from the peak of the mountain that is the envy of the rest of the world. Takashi M. regularly appears as Kawauchi at marathons and ekidens across Japan, gaining a reputation as the country's leading "comedian runner."  A graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University , where he was the team's manager while a student, he has long know

Moscow World Championships - Day Five Japanese Results

by Brett Larner Only two events saw Japanese competitors on the fifth day of the Moscow World Championships.  National champion Misaki Onishi  (Team Sekisui Kagaku) made zero impact in the women's 5000 m, finishing second from last in her heat nearly a minute slower than her winning time from Nationals in June.  The men's 50 km racewalk squad accorded itself better, with Takayuki Tanii  (Team Sagawa Express) taking 9th for the second Championships in a row, and Hirooki Arai  (SDF Academy) clocking a PB 3:45:56 for 11th.  10000 m racewalk national record holder Koichiro Morioka  (Team Fujitsu) struggled at the longer distance, finishing only 23rd in 3:53:54. Moscow World Championships Day Five Moscow, 8/14/13 click here for complete results Women's 5000 m Heat One 1. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:34.70 - Q 2. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 15:34.93 - Q 3. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 15:40.91 - Q 4. Shannon Rowbury (U.S.A.) - 15:50.41 - Q 5. Tejitu Daba (Bahrain) - 15:56.74

Moscow World Championships - Day Four Japanese Results

by Brett Larner Day Four of the 2013 Moscow World Championships was a slow one for the Japanese contingent.  In the men's 5000 m heats, all-time Japanese #3 Yuki Sato  (Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran despite having twisted an ankle during the 10000 m, largely passive except for one move in the final kilometer before finishing 11th in 13:37.07.  He did not advance to the final.  400 m hurdler Takayuki Kishimoto  (Team Fujitsu), a strong prospect for the final, also did not advance after he false started.  In the women's 20 km race walk, national record holder  Masumi Fuchise  (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) went out fast and was in range of the bronze medal pack until the very last stage of the race when she faded to 29th in 1:33:13.  Among those who overtook her was teammate Kumi Otoshi  (Team Fujitsu), who took 26th in 1:32:44. Moscow World Championships Day Four Moscow, 8/13/14 click here for complete results Men's 5000 m Heat Two 1. Muktar Edris (Ethiopia) - 13:20.82 - Q 2. E

A Little Love for Hitomi Niiya, Please

by Brett Larner photo by Mika Tokairin split chart courtesy of Dr. Helmut Winter Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Hitomi Niiya . She received little more than passing mention, if that, in most English-language coverage of Sunday's Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m, but she deserves a lot of credit for making the race regardless of its predicable outcome. Prefigured precisely by her meet record 31:06.67 win at June's National Championships, where she took the lead just past 3000 m and ran alone right on national record pace to lap the entire field, and by the London Olympics where she led a significant portion of the race to make the top ten in a PB of 30:59.19, a performance that you would think should have earned her enough respect to be called by her name rather than just "Japanese girl" by at least one prominent American outlet covering Moscow, Niiya took over from struggling American rabbit Shalane Flanagan  after 3000

Moscow World Championships - Day Three Japanese Results

by Brett Larner On the third day of competition at the Moscow World Championships the biggest Japanese performances came in the men's 400 m hurdles and men's pole vault. Takayuki Kishimoto  (Team Fujitsu) finished 3rd in his 400 m hurdles heat to gain an automatic qualifying spot for the semi-final, the only one of Japan's four male and female hurdlers to advance at this distance and with a realistic chance of making the final.  In the pole vault, national champion Seito Yamamoto  (Chukyo Univ.) cleared 5.75 m to take 6th, a PB by 4 cm that made him the only athlete in the top ten to set a new PB at the World Championships.  Hammer great Koji Murofushi  (Mizuno) also took 6th, throwing a season best 78.03 m.  Along with hurdlers Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex AC), Yasuhiro Fueki  (Team Aima) and Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo Univ.), men's 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru  (Team Otsuka) also missed out on advancing, finishing last in his semi-final heat in 46.28. M

Yamagata Out of 4x100 m Relay Team With Pulled Muscle translated by Brett Larner Japan's sprint ace Ryota Yamagata  (Keio Univ.) has been removed from the 4x100 m relay team after suffering a pulled muscle in the rear of his left thigh.  The injury occurred during the men's 100 m heats on August 10.  It was diagnosed as a muscle pull on the 11th, and after consultation with the team doctor and trainers Yamagata was removed from the relay team.  According to Rikuren sprint director Koji Ito , "He can walk, but it is not a light injury." Yamagata ran the same heat as world record holder Usain Bolt  (Jamaica), his reaction time of 0.172 the ranking him fifth in the heat.  "Up to halfway I couldn't open up to top speed," Yamagata reflected of his race, where at halfway he quickly looked around and found he was in competition with four or five other athletes.  Dueling with a South African athlete in the lane to his right, Yamagata crossed

Moscow World Championships - Day Two Japanese Results

by Brett Larner National champion Hitomi Niiya  (Team Universal Entertainment) ran exactly the race prefigured by her win at June's National Championships and in last year's London Olympics, going out right behind early rabbit Shalane Flanagan  (U.S.A.) in the Moscow World Championships 10000 m, taking the lead after 3000 m and setting the pace all the way to the last lap before finishing 5th in a PB 30:56.70.  In a tearful post-race interview she said, "There's no reason to be at Worlds if you can't medal," but her fearlessness in setting her own pace and her improvement of her standing as all-time third-fastest Japanese for the second time at a major international championships did credit to both her and her coach Yoshio Koide .  Kyushu-based Sally Chepyego  (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) also turned in a PB performance, taking 7th in 31:22.11. In other events, 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru  (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) finished last in his qualifying heat but s

Kawauchi and Men's Marathon Team Leave Narita for Moscow: "It's Do or Die. There is No Next Time." translated and edited by Brett Larner Promising a race of "action," Japan's strongest amateur, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi  (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) left Tokyo's Narita Airport with other members of the men's marathon and javelin squads on Aug. 11 for Moscow where he will run his second-straight World Championships marathon.  The day before, women's marathoner Kayoko Fukushi  (Team Wacoal) won a bronze medal, raising spirits and creating great excitement in the Japanese athletics world. Kawauchi, who finished 18th in 2:16:11 two years ago in the Daegu World Championships, was upbeat but serious, saying with determination, "Last time I blew it.  This time is going to be full of action.  I'm in good shape, and I am going to bring everything I've done and learned up to now into play.  I'm ready to achieve

Moscow World Championships - Day One Japanese Results

by Brett Larner With the highlight of the first day of competition at the 2013 World Championships from the Japanese perspective having been Kayoko Fukushi 's bronze medal in the women's marathon , five other events also saw Japanese athletes in the ranks.  In the men's 10000 m, all-time Japanese #5 Tsuyoshi Ugachi  (Team Konica Minolta) brought a season best 27:50.79 to take 15th, with #1-ranked collegiate Suguru Osako  (Waseda Univ.) faltering in the late going and dropping to 21st in 28:19.50.  #3 Yuki Sato  (Team Nissin Shokuhin) was a surprise DNF after falling off the pace early.  Japanese-trained Africans took three of the top six places including two medals, with former Honda athlete Ibrahim Jeilan  (Ethiopia) missing a defense of his world title half a second behind rival Mohamed Farah  (GBR) in 27:22.23 and Kyudenko runner Paul Tanui  (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) a step behind for bronze in 27:22.61.  Tokyo-based Bedan Karoki  (Kenya/DeNA RC) took 6th in 27:27.17 after

Fukushi Bronze on First Day of Moscow World Championships

by Brett Larner The day Japanese marathon fans have been waiting for for years finally arrived as half-marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi  (Team Wacoal) finally stepped up to inherit the legacy of Olympic gold medalists Naoko Takahashi  and Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) with a bronze medal in the women's marathon on the hot opening day of the 2013 Moscow World Championships, tough in the heat as the favorites faded. Noguchi, making a long-awaited comeback to world-level competition, was a DNF in the rough conditions, but third team member Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) ran a solid and steady race to take 4th. Both Fukushi and Noguchi went with the fast early pace set by Italy's Valeria Straneo , but by 10 km Noguchi, running her first world-level marathon since her 2004 gold in Athens, could not keep up.  Fukushi stayed at the back of the lead pack as the numbers dwindled from eight to seven to four.  Kizaki stayed in the second pack for the first quarter of th

Moscow World Championships Japanese Long Distance Preview

by Brett Larner Click here for JRN's men's and women's marathon team previews. Japan's long distance track squad for the Moscow World Championships is small but high on quality, by Japanese standards at least.  It's not likely many people outside Japan will pay much attention to the men's 10000 m team on Saturday, but with Japanese all-time #3 Yuki Sato  (Team Nissin Shokuhin), all-time #4 Suguru Osako  (Waseda University) and #5 Tsuyoshi Ugachi  (Team Konica Minolta) making up the team after finishing 1-2-3 at June's National Championships what's not to like?  Sato and Osako, both graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S., have had an intense rivalry going over the last two or three years with Osako beating the older Sato more often than not including at April's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational where both went under the 27:40.00 Moscow A-standard, but when it has mattered, i.e. both last year and this year's National Championships, Sato