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Showing posts from June, 2018

Gold Coast Marathon Preview

This weekend Australia's Gold Coast Marathon celebrates 40 years with a race that should see new course records in both the women's and men's races. On the women's side, favorite Agnes Barsosio of Kenya was quietly confident at the pre-race press conference, saying that she thought a time under last year's 2:25::34 course record was a probability and that a 2:23 wouldn't be surprising if the weather conditions were good enough. The forecast looks to be in her favor, so the main question will be how much support she can get from her strongest competition, fellow Kenyan Ruth Chebitok, local Jessica Trengove and the 2:27 Japanese duo of Ayaka Fujimoto and Miharu Shimokado.

Chebitok's 2:25:49 best from earlier this year in Barcelona puts her in range if she can repeat the same quality of performance. Trengove has the motivation of a $40,000 bonus from organizers for a time under 2:28. Coached by former men's half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sat…

2:27 Marathoner Shimokado Quits Corporate League to Go Independent

As always, thank you all for your support!

I would like to announce that I, Miharu Shimokado, have quit the Nitori women's running team to relaunch my career as an independent pro marathon runner. I've made this decision to go independent because day by day I've felt more strongly that to grow as an athlete I have to be able to express my own unique style and color, in both the on times and the off.

As an independent runner free from the threat of being crushed under the weight of other people's image of the marathon I'm ready to become a truly beautiful runner in every sense. As an immediate goal I'll pursue qualifying for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials. After that it's making the Tokyo Olympics marathon team. I want to show that you don't have to throw the woman part away to get stronger, that we are strong because we are women.

Please check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! And remember the name Miharu Shimokado!

Translator's not…

Track Star Suzuki to Make Marathon Debut in August

A Rio Olympian in the women's 5000 m, Ayuko Suzuki (26, Japan Post) is planning to run the August 26 Hokkaido Marathon. Japan Post head coach Masahiko Takahashi made the announcement on June 25. It will the first marathon for the proven track talent Suzuki, whose training partner Hanami Sekine  debuted in 2:23:07 in Nagoya this March.

Suzuki, who finished 2nd in Friday's 10000 m at the National Track and Field Championships, is aiming to make the marathon team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. At the Hokkaido Marathon her goal is to qualify for the MGC Race Olympic marathon trials event to be held in Tokyo in September, 2019. To qualify, she must win in a sub-2:32:00 time or finish inside the top six Japanese women and under 2:30:00.

source article:
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2018062501112&g=spo
translated and edited by Brett Larner

JAAF Announces Japanese National Team for Jakarta Asian Games

A day after the conclusion of the 2018 Japanese National Championships, the JAAF announced its team roster for August's Jakarta Asian Games. 23 women and 35 men are set to compete in what may be the best approximation in the next two years of the Tokyo 2020 conditions. No women are set to compete in any jumps, while despite having men in the 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m steeplechase and marathon, no Japanese men are entered in the 5000 m or 10000 m. All the development in men's distance seems to be channelled into the marathon, where one of the stars of this year's Tokyo Marathon, 2:06:54 man Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), will see what he can do in heat and humidity. The complete list of athletes, events and qualifying marks is as below.
WomenSprints
Chisato Fukushima (Seiko) - 100 m: 11.42     200 m: 23.35
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 100 m: 11.43
Nodoka Seko (Crane) - 100 m: 11.50 (relay)
Midori Mikase (Eniwa Kita H.S.) - 100 m: 11.63 (relay)
Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 400 m: 53.…

Yugami and Kanai Set National Records - Japanese National Championships Day Three Highlights

Masateru Yugami (Toyota) and Taio Kanai (Fukui Pref. Sports Assoc.) wrapped up the last day of the 2018 Japanese National Track and Field Championships in style, delivering national records in the men's discus throw and men's 110 m hurdles.

Coming into Nationals with a best of only 59.30 m, Yugami threw PBs on five-straight throws, breaking the national record set last year by rival Yuji Tsutsumi (Alsok) on his last three. By the time the dust settled he held a new record of 62.16 m, an improvement of almost a minute and a half over Tsutsumi's record. "I'm happy to get this," he said afterward, "but I know other athletes are coming up too and I hope that we can take it further together."

With a 0.7 m/s tailwind, the #4-ranked Kanai won the 110 mH final in 13.36, a PB by 0.17 and bettering both the year-old meet record and 2004-era national record. 3000 mSC winner Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.) came up short of the national record, but his 8:29.14 …

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Ishizawa, Seko and Yamagata the Stars of Japanese National Championships Day Two

The 100 m final got most of the attention on the second day of the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships, but arguably the best race of the day came in the women's 3000 m steeplechase. 4 of the top 5 women ran PBs and broke 10 minutes, winner Yukari Ishizawa (Edion) coming in at all-time Japanese #5 in 9:53.22, runner-up Nana Sato (Starts) all-time JPN #9 in 9:56.95, and 5th-placer Manami Nishyama (Matsuyama Univ.) running a PB 10:04.70 to land all-time Japanese collegiate #9.

The women's 100 m final provided one of the bigger surprises of the day, with the relatively unheralded Nodoka Seko (Crane) outrunning defending national champ Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) and national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Seiko) to win in 11.64 (+0.8 m/s). A tense men's 100 m final saw 2013 national champ Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) better national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) and 2017 London World Championships 4x100m relay team members Aska Cambridge (Nike) and Sh…

Marathoner Matsuda Dominates 10000 m - Japanese National Championships Day One Highlights

Returning from her stellar 2:22:44 marathon debut in Osaka in January, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) delivered the highlight of the opening day of competition at the 102nd Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Yamaguchi. Starting with a conservative 3:20 for the first 1000 m the pace gradually picked up thanks in large part to National Corporate Half Marathon runner-up Yuka Hori (Panasonic). Anxious to avoid a repeat of last year when she was outkicked by Matsuda over the last lap, 2016 national champ Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) launched a long surge from four and a half laps out, a move only Matsuda could follow. With one lap to go Suzuki had opened a 2 second lead, but it was nowhere near a margin of safety. Summoning up the same winning move as last year, Matsuda blew by Suzuki to win by 5 seconds in 31:52.42. Hori held on to 3rd in 32:05.52.

The day's other track final was the men's 10000 m. On a roll since his 2:06:54 breakthrough at the Tokyo Marathon in February…

Marathon National Record Holder Yuta Shitara Scores a Sweet Ride - "We're Going to Create a Legend Together"

At a ceremony in Sayama, Saitama on June 22, men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 26, was awarded a Legend luxury sedan by his corporate team sponsor Honda. Shitara was praised for cracking the national record with a 2:06:11 at February's Tokyo Marathon. "I didn't think I'd score a car out of it," he smiled. "I'm really happy to get it. I want to hit the road in it somewhere with my teammates."

The basic model of the car Shitara was awarded costs 7,000,000 yen [~$64,000 USD], but what he actually received came loaded with optional features. He was allowed to choose any model of Honda car he wanted, but it was the model's name, "Legend," that caught his attention. "I want to accomplish legendary things in the marathon," he commented. "The Legend and I are in to together for the long haul, and together we're going to create a legend."

【納車記念式典】#マラソン#日本記録 を樹立した #設楽悠太 選手に
所属会社 #Honda より「#LEGEND」が贈呈…

National Track and Field Championships Preview

Japan's National Track and Field Championships are happening this weekend in Yamaguchi. Somebody is always being selected for something at Nationals, and this year it's the Jakarta Asian Games. Most of the action will be streamed live on the JAAF site Friday through Sunday, with some breaks for the major events which will only be shown on TV.

In three of the biggest events the defending champs are absent. 100 and 200 m winner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Univ. of Florida) and 10000 m champ Suguru Osako (NOP), both U.S.-based, having bowed out with injury in Sani Brown's case and purportedly to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in Osako's. In the 100 m and 200 m the door is open for the other members of Japan's medal-winning relay squad to take home a national title, national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Nihon Seimei) the #1 seed in the 100 m and Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) ranked #1 in the 200 m.

The men's 10000 m is surprisingly weak this year, with no Japanese men und…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

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…

Yang Runs 10.11 NR, 5000 m Meet Records Fall at National University Individual Championships

Unusually cool weather throughout the weekend worked to the advantage of the athletes in distance events at Kanagawa's National University Individual Track and Field Championships, where the meet records fell in both the men's and women's 5000 m. The poorer cousin of September's National University Track and Field Championships, the individual meet features a reduced program, no team scoring, and some competition from Taiwan. Coming just a week before the National Track and Field Championships many of Japan's best collegians tend to give it a miss, but the level of competition is often high all the same.

In the women's race first-year Yuka Suzuki (Daito Bunka Univ.) surprised the field, breaking the meet record set six years ago by current top-level pro Rina Nabeshima by 6 seconds to win the B-heat in 15:46.84. Fourth-year Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) were both under Nabeshima's record in the A-heat in 15:49.37 and 15:5…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



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

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …

Barsosio Leads Gold Coast Women

For its 40th anniversary running Australia's Gold Coast Marathon has brought in a woman capable of giving the event a course record worthy of its gold label status, and maybe of taking a swing at the fastest marathon ever run on Australian soil, Naoko Takahashi's 2:23:14 gold medal run at the Sydney Olympics. Runner-up at last year's Paris Marathon in 2:20:59, Kenyan Agnes Jeruto Barsosio is the class of the field, almost five minutes faster than her strongest competition, fellow Kenyan Ruth Chebitok. Despite a scarcity of results this year it's Barsosio's race to lose.

That said, the long travel to Australia often takes a toll on the top competitors, leaving the top of the podium accessible to women in the 2:25-2:27 range. Along with Chebitok, Australia's Jessica Trengove and Japan's Ayaka Fujimoto (Kyocera) and Miharu Shimokado (Nitori) are positioned at exactly that level and should contend for top three at the worst. The 2015 Melbourne Marathon winner,…

City of Tottori Honors Two Men Who Saved Runner During Marathon

Two men who successfully performed emergency medical treatment upon a runner who had collapsed at March's Tottori Marathon were honored by the Tottori city government. Keitaro Noguchi, 44, a doctor who had been running in the race, and Shinya Niwasaki, 56, a spectator who had been standing nearby, received certificates of recognition for their actions.

According to the city government, during the race a man in his 40s suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness near the 24 km point on the marathon course. 10 meters further along the course at the time, Noguchi heard spectators' shouts and returned to perform CPR. Niwasaki got hold of an AED and prepared it for use while directing the flow of traffic. The male runner survived thanks to their assistance.

Tottori mayor Yoshihiko Fukazawa personally presented the certificates to the two men at a ceremony at city hall. Noguchi told him, "To be honest I was in a bit of a panic, but despite that I kept my focus and I'm glad w…

Isahaya Holds Support Event for Asian Games Marathoner Hiroto Inoue

The town of Isahaya, Nagasaki held a support event June 9 for native son Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) ahead of August's Jakarta Asian Games where Inoue will run the marathon. In front of 140 people including his parents and coaches Inoue vowed to succeed, saying, "I'm where I am thanks to all of you who have supported me this far. I want to get back to basics and put everything I have into winning the gold medal."

Inoue graduated from Iimori J.H.S. and Chinzei Gakuin H.S. in Isahaya before attending Yamanashi Gakuin University. At February's Tokyo Marathon he ran 2:06:54 for 5th to earn his place on the Asian Games team.

The support event was organized by the Isahaya Track and Field Association and the trustees of Chinzei Gakuin H.S. Isahaya Track and Field Association chairperson Atsuhiro Ogawa told Inoue, "The high temperatures in Jakarta will have a serious impact on the body, making it a race of attrition.  I hope that you arrive there in peak condition and show…

Former World-Class Marathoner Hara Admits to Shoplifting During Athlete Days Due to Coach's Severe Weight Restrictions

Accused of shoplifting 380 yen [~$3.50 USD] worth of candy from a supermarket in Ota, Gunma in February while under probation in another shoplifting case, former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 36, now a restaurant worker, underwent questioning in her second trial at Maebashi District Ota Branch Court under judge Masaya Okuyama.

Crying as she spoke, Hara confessed to having shoplifted as an elementary school student. She said that as an athlete she had developed an eating disorder due to the strict weight restrictions and had resorted to stealing food. Even after retiring, she said, "I would throw up food after eating it."

"I was always hungry, always felt thirsty," Hara said of her time as an athlete. "They put severe restrictions on my weight that went way beyond what any other university or corporate team would do." She said that after joining the corporate leagues her coach would take her wallet away from her at training camps so that she…

Hitomi Niiya Runs First Race in Almost Five Years: "I Still Totally Hate Running"

One of Japan's best long distance women is back on track. 5th in the women's 10000 m at the 2013 Moscow World Championships before declaring her retirement in January, 2014, Hitomi Niiya (30, Nike Tokyo TC) ran her first race in almost five years in the 3000 m at the June 9 Nittai University Time Trials meet. Post-race she said, "Yeah, it's been a while. Feels like I'm on my way back."

Describing herself as, "an athlete whose history is only in the past," Niiya ran 9:20.74 for 2nd in the 3000 m A-heat at Nittai. "That's a really half-assed time, huh," she said afterwards. Her bib number was 30, the same as her age now. "That pissed me off," she laughed. "I'm not happy about it." Sounding just like her old self there was no doubt that her sharp tongue, at least, hasn't lost its edge.

After running in the 2012 London Olympics, in November that year at the age of 25 Niiya was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis i…

Asian Junior Championships Day Four Highlights

Japan capped the final day of its role as host nation for the Asian Junior Athletics Championships with a pair of championships records that erased marks set by China way back in that nation’s 90’s heyday.

Nozomi Tanaka, newly-graduated from high school and opting for the club runner life like her mother, sub-2:30 amateur Chihiro Tanaka, got the party started with a 9:04.36 record in the girls’ 3000 m that took almost 6 seconds off Li Xin Lan’s 1997 mark. Her high school and club teammate Yuna Wada wasn’t far off Lan’s old record with a 9:14.13 for silver more than 20 seconds ahead of China’s Fan Liu.

The Japanese girls’ 4x400 m likewise took down a Chinese record set in 1997, running 3:38.20 for gold. India and Sri Lanka were a distant 2nd and 3rd, with China nowhere to be found in the final. One member of Japan’s 4x400 m squad, Kasumi Yoshida, doubled after winning an individual gold in the 400 m hurdles earlier in the day in 58.43. Her teammate Natsumi Murakami missed silver by 0.0…