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Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard option. Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) made a quality debut with a 2:25:46 for 9th, negative splitting by over a minute to overtake the fading Ohara. High-volume amateur Tomomi Sawahata (Sawahatters) ran up to ability with a 2:40:50 for 24th, breaking her incredible streak of marathon wins.

On the men's side in Berlin, Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) celebrated his 26th birthday by taking 4th in 2:08:16, a two-minute PB that put him at all-time Japanese #25. Placing-wise Nakamura added to a solid year for Japanese men at the Abbott World Marathon Majors, following Yuta Shitara's national record 2nd-place finish at February's Tokyo Marathon and Kawauchi's Boston win in April. Next up, Chicago. Having cracked 2:09 in Tokyo, Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) was 6th in 2:09:18, with fellow Olympic Trials qualifier Daisuke Uekado (Otsuka Seiyaku) 8th in 2:11:07. The lone dud among the finishers was Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), who ran 2:09:50 for 2nd at July's Gold Coast Marathon and, at the direction of head coach Masayuki Nishi, attempted to double with a faster performance in Berlin. Predictably, he finished 16th in 2:15:37. Asahi Kasei, the two-time defending New Year Ekiden national champion and traditional marathon powerhouse, has yet to qualify a single athlete for the 2020 Olympic Trials. One can only hope that if they come up empty-handed Nishi and other members of the senior staff will get the axe they deserve. Also a flameout was Kenya-based former Hakone Ekiden uphill star Daichi Kamino (New Balance), who dropped out after 30 km.

Murayama's twin brother Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei), the 10000 m national record holder who brilliantly paced Shitara to the marathon national record in Tokyo, was scheduled to run the Copenhagen Half Marathon but ended up a no-show (see above for recommended consequences for the coaching staff). Elsewhere, a large group of Shitara's former Toyo University teammates including his twin brother Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) turned up at the race where he set the half marathon national record a year ago, the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon. 30 km collegiate national record holder Yuma Hattori (Toyota) finally ran a half marathon worthy of this name, taking two minutes off his PB with a 1:01:40 for 6th. Sub-2:09 marathoner Kenji Yamamoto (Mazda) was 13th in 1:03:55, while Shitara, who holds a 1:01:12 best, was 17th in only 1:05:12. More active internationally this year than any other Japanese woman, Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) was 8th in the women's race in 1:11:43.

At Australia's quasi-gold label Sydney Marathon,  Norikazu Kato (Yakult) was the top Japanese man at 5th in 2:19:53. Another Asahi Kasei runner, Takumi Honda, unsurprisingly crapped out with a 2:20:50 for 6th. Amateur Mai Fujisawa was the top Japanese woman at 7th in 2:47:57 just a week out from her medal-winning run at the 100 km World Championships. Tatsuya Sato (Komazawa Univ.) landed the top Japanese men's spot in the half marathon and 2nd in 1:05:18, just one second behind winner Ben St. Lawrence (Australia). Hirono Shintate (Noritz) was likewise 2nd in the women's race in 1:18:04.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Andrew Armiger said…
A huge step forward! Signifies a strong development system.

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