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Takaoka on Shitara: "He Can Compete With the Best in the World"

At Sunday's Tokyo Marathon, half marathon Japanese national record holder Yuta Shitara (26, Honda) ran 2:06:11 to set a new Japanese national record. Taking almost 3 minutes off his PB, Shitara bettered the old record set by Toshinari Takaoka in 2002 by 5 seconds. Shitara finished 2nd overall, 41 seconds behind winner Dickson Chumba (Kenya).

With his record having stood for almost 16 years, Takaoka gave his blessings, saying, "My record being beaten has made the path forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics brighter. When I saw Shitara's race in Tokyo last year I knew the day my record would fall was close at hand."

Comparing the 2002 race where he set the old record of 2:06:16 and this year's Tokyo Marathon, Takaoka said, "Running a Japanese national record requires the right combination of weather, competition, pacing, and physical condition. It was a great thing for Shitara that Hiroto Inoue was there running ahead of him as well. The most important thing that came out of this was that he was able to race as part of the lead group. In what's not visible to the eye you can feel his potential. If he's not afraid to run as one of the leaders no matter how fast the pace then I think he can compete with the best in the world."

source article: 
https://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/201802260000235.html
translated by Brett Larner

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Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

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The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …