Skip to main content

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In Prague both Shitara and his coach Satoshi Ogawa told JRN that he planned to run "marathon pace," 3:00/km, ahead of a planned shot at 2:07 in Berlin. Finding himself right behind eventual women's winner Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya), Shitara ratcheted up the pace and ended up as the top Japanese finisher in 28:55.

A week later and he was way faster, going through 10 km just off the Japanese NR in 28:10 and rocking steady to beat all the other next-generation Hakone stars transitioning to life in the longer distances, Suguru Osako (NOP), Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), his twin brother Keita Shitara (Saitama T&F Assoc.) and others, to Sato's antique 1:00:25 mark.

Surely that's faster than his planned pace in Berlin. It has to be a confidence builder, but it''s almost equally surely too much a week and a day out from a hard marathon. After Tokyo Shitara said he would definitely go with the leaders next time. Ogawa told JRN in Prague that compared to Tokyo Shitara's stamina is far improved now. As wiser people have said, it's such a fine line between brilliant and stupid. If he gets away with it in Berlin, Shitara and his coach are geniuses. If not....well, he still set the half marathon national record, so it's not exactly stupid.

Considering the possible outcomes, Shitara's fellow Saitama native Yuki Kawauchi told JRN, "The only thing you can say for sure is that he's definitely, 100%, going to go with the lead group." If Shitara does and makes it to 30 km alongside Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia), Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) and Wilson Kipsang (Kenya), one way or the other he'll be in for a hell of a last 12 km.


Usti nad Labem Half Marathon

Czech Republic, 9/16/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Barselius Kipyego (Kenya) - 59:14
2. Josphat Tanui (Kenya) - 59:22
3. Ismail Juma (Tanzania) - 59:30 - NR
4. Wilfred Kimitei (Kenya) - 1:00:12
5. Philip Tarbei (Kenya) - 1:00:13
6. Aziz Lahbabi (Morocco) - 1:00:15
7. Solomon Yego (Kenya) - 1:00:16
8. Yuta Shitara (Japan/Honda) - 1:00:17 - NR
9. Isaac Langat (Kenya) - 1:00:25
10. Kenneth Keter (Kenya) - 1:01:05

Women
1. Violah Jepchumba (Bahrain) - 1:06:06 - NR
2. Nancy Kiprop (Kenya) - 1:07:22
3. Lucy Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 1:07:23
4. Stacy Ndiwa (Kenya) - 1:09:09
5. Yvonne Jelagat (Kenya) - 1:10:25

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Hakone Champ Tokai University the Heavy Favorite at Izumo Ekiden

University men's ekiden season kicks off Monday with the Izumo Ekiden, the first race in the three-month buildup to January's Hakone Ekiden main event. Last year four-time Hakone champ Aoyama Gakuin University outran up-and-coming Tokai University at both Izumo and November's National University Ekiden but fell short of stopping Tokai at Hakone. This year AGU is significantly down on strength, while Tokai is stronger than ever. But while Tokai is the clear favorite, it's got a serious challenge coming from at least one, maybe two familiar faces.

The average stage length for Izumo's six stages is about 7.5 km, requiring a balance between 5000 m and 10000 m skills. Despite missing captain Ryoji Tatezawa Tokai leads the way in both departments, its top six 5000 m average of 13:47.22 the fastest among the seven schools with sub-14 minute averages and its 10000 m average of 28:39.35 likewise leading the way among the six sub-29 programs. Half marathon credentials don&#…

JAAF Sets Tokyo Olympics Medal Bonuses at Same Level as for Rio

At an executive meeting in Tokyo on Oct. 10, the JAAF set the amounts for medals and top eight finishes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A gold medal will earn 20 million yen [~$185,000 USD], a silver medal 10 million yen and a bronze medal 800,000 yen. 4th-place finishes will be worth 300,000 yen, with 5th or 6th-place finishes worth 200,000 yen and 7th or 8th-place finishes 100,000 yen.

The amounts are the same as awarded for performances at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. All members of relay teams will be eligible for bonuses including those who only run in qualifying rounds or the final, with the bonuses to be paid out at half the above amounts. In the unlikely event that an athlete earning a bonus is disqualified due to a doping violation or other reason, they will be liable to repay the entire amount.

source article:
https://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20191010-00000089-dal-spo
translated and edited by Brett Larner

5th-Ranked Koku Gakuin Pulls Off Last Km Upset to Win First-Ever Izumo Ekiden Title

In the modern era of systematic mass-production of quality by dominant teams like Tokai University and Aoyama Gakuin University it has been years since an underdog came through with a surprise win on Japan's university men's ekiden circuit, but that's just what happened at today's Izumo Ekiden to kick off the 2019-20 Big Three University Ekiden season.

The race was expected to be between defending champ Tokai and Buddhist powerhouse Komazawa University, with threats from AGU and fan favorites Toyo University. Like last year Tokai struggled a bit to get on its feet, lagging as a core leading quartet coalesced over the first half of the race's six stages. Running better than expected, #5-ranked Koku Gakuin University was right up in it along with AGU, Komazawa and Toyo, its second and third men Taiga Nakanishi and Yuhei Urano taking 3rd on their stages and Urano one of six men on the Third Stage to break its course record.

The leading quartet broke up into two pairs…