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Sakamoto and Kawauchi Return to Stockholm Marathon (updated)

Amateur winners of two of the world's biggest marathons, 2016 Osaka Marathon champ Yoshiko Sakamoto (YWC) and 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) return to Sweden to run the Stockholm Marathon for the second year in a row this Saturday with support from JRN. For its 40th running Stockholm features a new course designed to cut most of the hills out of the first half of the race, but with temperatures expected to peak at 27C the quality elite field may not be able to take full advantage of the new configuration.

5th last year, Sakamoto is fresh off a 2:35:40 PB at February's Tokyo Marathon. She faces defending champion Konjit Tilahun Biruk (Ethiopia), seven-time winner Isabellah Andersson (Sweden) and #1-ranked Kumeshi Sichala (Ethiopia), the only woman in the field with a current sub-2:30 time. The 2:28:24 event record set way back in 1988 by the great Grete Waitz (Norway) will be a stretch, but however fast it goes Sakamoto hopes to at least ma…

Tokyo Olympics Marathon Course Announced

At a Tokyo-area press conference on May 31, the organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games announced the course for the men's and women's marathons. Passing many of Tokyo's prime tourist spots, the Tokyo 2020 course will not be the sort of circuit course that has become common in international championship marathons in recent years. Executive Koji Murofushi commented, "This will be the greatest Olympic course ever."

A hybrid of the historic Tokyo International Marathon course and the new Tokyo Marathon course introduced in 2018, the Tokyo 2020 course features an elevation difference of 33 m. Starting and finishing at the new Olympic Stadium, it will head down a 30 m drop hill, turning around in front of Kaminarimon in Asakusa near the 15 km point and passing through the Nihonbashi and Ginza areas before hitting another turnaround near Tokyo Tower and Zojoji atround 25 km.

After that the course will turn around again at around 33 km at Ni…

Two-Time 10000 m Winner Osako Backs Out of National Championships

On May 30 long-distance runner Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) announced on his Twitter feed that he is withdrawing from a shot at a third-straight 10000 m national title at next month's Yamaguchi National Championships. His management company said that he is not injured and instead wants to focus on "preparing for what comes next."

At last December's Fukuoka International Marathon Osako, 27, ran 2:07:19, what was at the time the 5th-fastest time ever by a Japanese man, to finish 3rd overall. He won February's National Cross-Country Championships and ran the World Half Marathon Championships in March. Osako skipped a spring marathon in order to try to break the 10000 m national record earlier this month at the Payton Jordan Invitational, but he dropped out of that race near the 6000 m mark.

source article:
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20180530/ath18053020220001-n1.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Stadium Where Kiryu Broke 100 m National Record Renamed 9.98 Stadium

On May 27th at the Fukui Prefectural Track and Field Stadium where last fall Yoshihide Kiryu became the first Japanese sprinter to break the 10 second barrier for 100 m, a ceremony was held to unveil the stadium's renaming as 9.98 Stadium. The prefecture hopes to convey the stadium's place in history to the rest of the country through the recognition of Kiryu's achievement.

Governor Kazumi Nishikawa, Prefectural Assembly Chairperson Fumio Yamamoto, Fukui Athletics Association Director Seiichiro Yagi and other officials took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the stadium's giant new Sunrise Red name board 11.5 m tall and 6.7 m wide. The three numerals making up the number 9.98 each measure 1.75 m tall, the same height as Kiryu.

A commemorative ceremony was held on the track. Kiryu could not be present himself but addressed participants in a video message played over the stadium's giant screen, saying, "I am deeply honored. It is my hope that many ot…

1919 People Run Kinshuko Road Race Led by Boston Winner Kawauchi

The 38th Kinshuko Road Race took place May 27th on a course starting and finishing in front of Nishiwaga Town Hall's Yuda Building. Runners from the town and from other parts of the country enjoyed the fresh greenery along the shores of Lake Kinshuko. A total of 1919 people were entered in the event's 14 divisions, up from 1899 last year. The scenic JAAF-certified course included 30 km, half marathon and 10 km races.

At the time of the start weather conditions measured at race headquarters nearby the start point were 23.1 C with 34% humidity according to race organizers. The 30 km and half marathon divisions started at 10:00 a.m., with the 10 km starting 5 minutes later. Under strong sunshine runners ran in the shade of the springtime greenery along the road, bathing in the sight of Lake Kinshuko. Local supporters cheered participants on from along the roadside.

錦秋湖マラソンスタート! pic.twitter.com/CMxha4aCMu — yuchiko (@yucchiru178) May 27, 2018
After becoming the first Japanese ath…

Wambui, Kisaisa and Sekiya Double - Kanto Regionals Day Four Highlights

The final day of the 97th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships kicked off as usual with the D1 and D1 men's half marathon. Logistics of the meet's new location this year at Sagamihara Gion Stadium in Kanagawa meant a complicated course, with the two divisions starting 9 minutes apart with four laps of the track, twelve laps of a 1.58 km road loop, and a track finish. In both divisions the runners-up from Thursday's 10000 m taking the top spot. In D2 Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.) ran the fastest time of the day, 1:03:09, for his second-straight win. In D1 it was Dominic Nyairo (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) in 1:03:49, his third-straight D1 Kanto Half title.



The men's 5000 m went to both divisions' 10000 m winners, with D1 champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) taking the top spot in his race in 13:45.30 to score his third-straight Kanto double and D2 winner Josphat Ledama Kesaisa (Obirin) leading his in 13:49.86. 3rd in the D1 10000 m, Kazuya S…

'Semenya Dominates, Kigen and Houlihan Surprise in Eugene - IAAF Diamond League'

https://www.iaaf.org/news/report/semenya-kigen-houlihan-eugene-diamond-league

Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) finished 9th in the Prefontaine Classic women's 5000 m in her Diamond League debut. Her time of 15:10.91 moved her up to all-time Japanese #9.

Congrats to Japan's reigning 5000m champ Rina Nabeshima on PB'ing (15:10.91) at @preclassic today in her first-ever @Diamond_League race. Glad to see Rina & Coach Masa Takahashi take the step up to this next part of her career. pic.twitter.com/bcJ6tp9PiR — Boulder Wave (@BoulderWave) May 27, 2018

Takekawa Over Ejima for Pole Vault Meet Record - Kanto Regionals Day Three Highlights

Takekawa
Hosei univ.
5m60
7lefts#boutakachannel#polevaultpic.twitter.com/WCuSQ6Qfmr — Boutaka Channel (@BoutakaChannel) May 26, 2018
A great D1 men's pole vault brought most of the entertainment value to the thid day of the 97th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships Saturday at Sagamihara Gion Stadium in the back corners of the Kanagawa badlands. Kosei Takekawa (Hosei Univ.) cleared 5.60 m to set a new Kanto Regionals meet record, beating Kanto Region record holder Masaki Ejima (Nihon Univ.) who could only clear 5.50 m this time out the gate.



The D1 men's 3000 mSC final was also solid, with Takekawa's teammate Ryoma Aoki (Hosei Univ.) running a PB 8:42.11 for the win over Tsubasa Komuro (Toyo Univ.), whose 8:43.62 was a school record. For comparison, at almost the same time the U.S.-based Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State Univ.) and Takeshi Okada (UC Berkeley) ran only 8:48.03 and 9:10.41 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round meet in Sacramento.
97th Kanto Region…

Hirosawa Breaks 400 m Region Record - Kanto Regionals Day Two Highlights

Despite windy conditions that put legal marks out of reach in most events, day 2 of the Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships saw one notable new record. In the D1 women's 400 m Mae Hirosawa (Nittai Univ.) ran 53.45 to break the meet record by 0.30 and the Kanto Region record by 0.11. Both of the previous records were set by Kazue Kakinuma (Chuo Univ.) back in 1995 before Hirosawa was born. Hirosawa now stands at all-time #6 among Japanese collegiate women.



In its first season without now-graduated national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu, Toyo University showed continued growth in its sprinting. First-year Daisuke Miyamoto (Toyo Univ.) won the D1 men's title in 10.11 (+3.2 m/s), then boosted the Toyo men's 4x100 m team to a 39.03 school record for the win. Toyo's investment in first-rate facilities for Kiryu looks like it will continue to pay dividends in the years to come.



Times were slow across the 1500 m, with indoor mile national record holder Ryoji…

Kisaisa, Sekiya and Wambui Lead Kanto Regionals Day One

Japan's biggest university meet kicked off Thursday at a new home in the wildlands of suburban Kanagawa. Day 1 of the 97th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships started off hot, humid and sunny, shifting toward cool and windy as the afternoon wore on. Not ideal for the day's main final, the women's and men's 10000 m.

The women's 10000 m was probably the best race of the day. #1-ranked Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.), the only woman in the race with a PB under 32:30, predictably took control early, challenged mid-race by the talented Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) but effortlessly dropping her after 7000 m. An unexpected challenge to Sekiya's second-straight Kanto 10000 m title came from unknown mid-33 runner Yukina Ueda (Tsukuba Univ.). As the other competition dropped away Ueda stayed locked to Sekiya looking fresh and ready to go. But in the back straight on the final lap Sekiya inched away, opening a 5-second lead to win in 33:29.53. Ueda shav…

What Value Does Four-Straight Hakone Ekiden Titles Have for Aoyama Gakuin's Athletes and Staff?

An editorial by Nikkan Gendai.

Nothing rings in the New Year like the Hakone Ekiden. With TV viewership ratings around 30% it's one of the most popular sports programs in Japan. The king of that cash cow is Aoyama Gakuin University, winning four-straight Hakone titles since its first victory in 2015. But no matter how well its students perform, every school in Hakone gets the same share of the proceeds, a uniform 2,000,000 yen [~$18,000 USD at current exchange rates].

The AGU team currently includes 44 athletes on its roster. Although athletes can get preferential admission, their tuition is the same as for other students and there are no exemptions or reductions. First year tuition in the Department of Social and Information Studies is around 1,520,000 yen [~$14,000 USD], and with additional fees including dormitory and training camp expenses the burden upon students' parents is considerable.

By comparison, in the United States the NCAA has made its collegiate sports a succes…

Olympian Kobayashi Gives Lecture to New Employees at Echizen City Hall

1500 m women's national record holder and Beijing Olympian Yuriko Kobayashi, 29, gave a lecture on the value of having a dream to new employees at Echizen City Hall as part of their training. The lecture was part of the "Dream Classroom" series, a partnership project between the city government and the Japan Football Association to have top-level athletes teach classes at local elementary and junior high schools. Kobayashi's session was the first in the series aimed at recognizing the dreams of adults.

Speaking to a group of thirty city employees, Kobayashi spoke about her experience running in the National Championships while still in high school, the dedication she and her friends put into becoming the best ekiden team in Japan, and other parts of her career as an athlete, stressing the importance of steady achievement at small goals in the pursuit of a larger dream.

At the Beijing Olympics, one of her major goals, she missed her objective of making the top eight …

Weekend Track Roundup

As regional corporate track meets wound themselves down, the weekend's biggest results came at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Osaka. A quick women's 3000 m saw 10 of the 11 starters go under 9 minutes, six in PB times. Japan-based Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Toto) led the way in 8:47.24, with the Pre Classic-bound Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) running 8:51.72 to land 4th both overall and on the Japanese all-time rankings. First-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Meijo Univ.) ran 8:58.63 for 8th overall, just missing the 1994-era national collegiate record by 0.31 seconds.

The men's 3000 m was also solid, with seven men breaking 8 minutes, six of them Japanese and five in PB times. Kenyan Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) won in 7:54.05 with Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) just behind in a best of 7:54.73. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) broke into the all-time Japanese collegiate top ten, running 7:57.56 for 6th. Australian Ryan Gregson won the men's 1500 m in 3:37.72 over American Patrick Casey

Weekend Overseas Road Race Results

2nd in the women's race at last year's Riga Marathon, Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz) returned to take 4th in 2:35:03 in this year's record-breaking edition, three and a half minutes slower than her solid run last year but still good enough to be the second-fastest time run outside Japan this year by a Japanese woman. More on the men's and women's races here.

At Sweden's Goteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, 2015 National University Half Marathon champion and 2015 World University Games half marathon silver medalist Tadashi Isshiki and his GMO teammate Hiroki Yamagishi were ineffectual, Isshiki five minutes off the win in 1:06:37 for 17th and Yamagishi 23rd in only 1:08:20.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

Ekiden Runner Who Got Team Disqualified at National Championships Arrested on Fraud Charges

A woman who received cash from scam victims as part of a swindling group was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department after attempting to defraud an elderly woman. The arrested woman was a former member of one of the top corporate league women's ekiden teams.

Miho Shimada, 20, an unemployed resident of Gotemba, Shizuoka, was arrested on suspicion of calling an 80-year-old woman in Taito-ku, Tokyo and telling her, "I lost a check for funds to set up a company. I need 3 million yen," in an attempt to steal the elderly woman's cash. "I did it because I wanted money," she said in admitting to the charges.

Translator's note: A star member of the Yamanashi Gakuin High School girls' ekiden team who ran times of 9:01.23 for 3000 m and 15:43.35 for 5000 m while still in high school, Shimada joined the Toyota Jidoshokki corporate women's team after her graduation in 2016. The 2nd-place team at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships t…

Debate Continues on Tokyo Olympics Ticket Pricing Scheme

On May 15 the organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games held a hearing to consider expert opinion on sales strategies for tickets for the games. The plans presented included setting the maximum ticket price for the opening ceremony at the same level as for the 2012 London Olympics, 288,000 yen [~$2600 USD], but others called for a wider range of pricing options. With no agreement reached discussion of ticket pricing is set to continue.

The committee did manage to set pricing for some Olympic events, ranging from 2000 yen [~$18 USD] for first-round soccer matches to as high as 108,000 yen [~$980 USD] for athletics. Opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games will max out at 144,100 yen [~$1300 USD], with individual event tickets ranging from 1000 yen [~$9 USD] to 6500 yen [~$59 USD]. However, saying, "This has become a debate about creating a more dynamic range in pricing," session chairperson Sadahiko Kano, professor emeritus at Waseda University, …

Weekend Track Roundup

The first round of regional corporate track and field championship meets made up most of the weekend’s track action. Fresh back from going sub-32 at Payton Jordan, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) was the star of the Kansai Region meet as she repeated her 5000 / 10000 m double from last year with 15:45.58 and 33:00.26 wins. Men’s times were unremarkable, Shohei Morikawa (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) taking the 5000 m in 14:06.58 and Aoyama Gakuin University grad Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) the 10000 m in 29:16.56 in his corporate league debut.

Split between two weekends, the Chugoku Region meet featured only 5000 m this week. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) won the men’s race in 13:59.82, with Miharu Aoki (Tenmaya) claiming the women’s title in 16:19.79.

The Chubu Region meet produced some quality men’s 10000 m times, with two-time defending champ Rodgers Shumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) leading three Kenyan men under 28 minutes in 27:53.73, the fastest of his three wins to date. Daiji Kawai (Toenec) was the to…

Matsumoto and Abe Win Sendai International Half Marathon

In a race that came down to an uphill battle near 20 km, Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) emerged on top of a lead pack of five to win the men's race at the 28th Sendai International Half Marathon. Matsumoto outkicked Rio Olympics marathon team member Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) on the track to take the win in 1:03:05, the fastest winning time by a Japanese man in Sendai history. Sasaki returned from the injury that kept him out of March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marahton to finish 2nd in 1:03:10, holding off collegiate runners Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) and Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.).

Defending champion Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) suffered some sort of injury in the late going, shuffling down the home straight and almost walking across the finish line to take 5th in 1:03:39. Just behind him, 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) nicked 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) at the line after sitting on Kawauchi the entire race, both…

Getting a Late Start at Age 25 - Minami Yamanouchi

Back in 2010 JRN spotted 17-year-old high school student Minami Yamanouchi at a local 14 km road race in northern Ibaraki, where she beat the high school boys' course record by more than four minutes. At the time we wrote, "If Yamanouchi keeps running post-high school and lands at the right team, university or pro, we may have been lucky to see the first appearance of a future great." Now 25 and coached by former half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato at the Kyocera corporate team, in the last few weeks Yamanouchi has really come into her own.

Minami Yamanouchi (Kyocera) took the top Japanese spot at 4th overall in the 5000 m at the April 28 Oda Memorial Meet in Hiroshima, one of the top-level track meets in Japan. A former amateur runner, she only joined the corporate leagues last August. Seeing her progress in less than a year of serious training, her coach Atsushi Sato, the 6th placer in the 2009 World Championships marathon, called her "exceptional.&qu…

2:08 Marathoner Wataru Okutani Launches New Marathon Training Program

On May 8 the organizers of the Nov. 3 Gunma Marathon held the first session of the Gunma Marathon 180 Day Project, a new training support program aimed toward first-time marathoners, at Jomo Hall in Maebashi. Project leader Wataru Okutani, head coach of the Subaru corporate team and a two-time World Championships marathon team member with a 2:08:49 best, took questions from the 26 participants and told them, "Don't try to do the impossible. It's the accumulation of the little things you do daily over a long span of time that make up the body of success."

source article: 
https://www.jomo-news.co.jp/sports/gunma/51035
translated by Brett Larner

Collegiate Athletics and Amateurism in Japan

A new TV commercial featuring the head coach and team members of four-time Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University, with the coach's wife endorsing a kitchen cleaner and its healthful benefits in her cooking for the team.

adidasのCMじゃなくてキッチン泡ハイターって言うところがまたいい😂

30秒Ver pic.twitter.com/J5ynFUgMtW — A i (@maimai_aogaku) May 7, 2018
The Aoyama Gakuin University ekiden team Twitter feed also has a pinned tweet with an Adidas commercial featuring the team and coach.

夏場から時間をかけて作って頂いたモチベーションムービーです

箱根駅伝まで残り1ヶ月

『刻んだ日々は、うらぎらない。絶対に。』

その言葉を胸に自信を持って挑みます#刻め青学#青学駅伝#アディゼロpic.twitter.com/6zNvHNg8Mg — 青学大陸上競技部(長距離ブロック) (@aogaku_rikujyou) December 1, 2017

Late-Bloomer Hiroko Yoshitomi Dropping One Course Record After Another

There’s a woman in her 30s who has been breaking marathon course records left and right. A native of Saga, her name is Hiroko Yoshitomi (34, Memolead). In the last year she has broken course records at three domestic marathons including a 2:33:57 at March’s Saga Sakura Marathon. “In terms of my age, I’ve still got years left to be breaking records,” Yoshitomi says. “If you approach your running in terms of that kind of thinking then it’s totally natural that the times are going to come.” At one point she had thought about retiring this season, but for now she’s determined to push on.

Tokyo-based running Industry conglomerate Rbies recently launched the Marathon Challenge Cup (MCC) series, a grouping of 33 domestic marathons across the country. In the 2017 season 19 of those member races saw a total of 23 new course records. The only person to set multiple new course records was Yoshitomi. Along with these records, at December’s Honolulu Marathon, February’s Tokyo Marathon and April’s…

'Double Japanese Glory at Rotorua Marathon'

Yoshimatsu 2nd in Harmony Geneva Marathon

Recording what may have been the only negative split in the entire field on a hot day illuminated by piercing sunshine, Japan's Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) ran down half the Harmony Geneva Marathon elite women's field in the last 15 km of the race to take 2nd in 2:39:30.

Running with support from JRN, Yoshimatsu and 2017 Osaka Marathon runner-up Mitsuko Ino (Team R2), a late addition to the field a week before the race after another athlete scratched, fell off the African quartet of Ruth Waithera (Kenya), Fekadu Amelework (Ethiopia), Lema Alemitu (Ethiopia) and Berha Lemelem (Ethiopia) in the first few km. Running her marathon debut, Waithera made an early break to drop the Ethiopian trio. The Japanese pair worked together through the first half but were over three minutes behind the leaders at the halfway mark.

From there Yoshimatsu went to work on the course's long downhill stretch along the French border, dropping Ino and overtaking Lemelem. The remaining trio …