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Showing posts from 2019

Two People Permanently Banned After Using Bicycle at Shanghai Marathon

Two runners who cheated at the Nov. 17 Shanghai International Marathon have been permanently banned from the event. According to organizers and domestic media, one of the two rode a bicycle to make up part of the race's distance.

China is currently in the midst of a major boom in the popularity of running and marathons, but incidents of cheating are spreading at the same pace. At this year's Shanghai Marathon four people were penalized for violating race rules and regulations. The most brazen among them was a female runner who ran with a male bib number and was caught riding a bicycle, according to The Beijing News.

Race organizers said that the woman, identified by her last name Zhao, has been permanently banned from all their events, commenting, "The orderly conduct of the race was significantly disturbed." The man whose bib the woman wore was also permanently banned for "being involved in committing fraud and for failure to prevent the events from happening.…

Jepchirchir Wins Saitama, Yugeta Breaks Own 60+ WR, Yamaguchi Breaks Own Nara CR - Weekend Marathon Highlights

Two of Japan's main year-ending marathons celebrated anniversary runnings this year, with the Saitama International Marathon holding its 5th edition and the Nara Marathon marking ten years.

Former half marathon world record holder Peres Jepchirchir (Kenya) dropped the competition at 30 km to win in Saitama. Within the first kilometer an all-African lead group had left top Japanese entrants Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and Kasumi Yoshida (Nitori), and Nina Savina (Belarus) behind. The lead group quickly rounded down to four, Jepchirchir and Ethiopian trio Fatuma Sado, Belaynesh Oljira and Rahma Tusa. #1-ranked Oljira slipped off early in the second half, and when the pacers stopped at 30 km Jepchirchir had no trouble getting rid of Tusa and Sado.

Jepchirchir took 1st in a PB of 2:23:50, with Sado a distant 2nd in 2:26:45. After 35 km Tusa ran into trouble, stopping and stretching out her legs and losing ground first to Oljira, 3rd in 2:27:11, and then Savina, who ran a PB 2:28:44 for …

Hironaka Breaks 5000 m Junior National Record and 2020 Olympic Standard

Just two weeks after her 19th birthday, Ririka Hironaka, star rookie for 2019 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champions Japan Post, ended the year in style with a nearly 18-second PB of 15:05.40 to break the great Kayoko Fukushi's U20 national record by 5 seconds and become just the second Japanese woman so far to break the 2020 Olympic standard in the 5000 m.

Running at Yamaguchi's National Corporate Women's Time Trials, after Kenyans Martha Mokaya (Canon AC Kyushu) and Hellen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) led the pack through opening splits of 3:01, 3:04 and 3:03, Hironaka took off in pursuit of the 15:10.00 Olympic standard, covering the next two 1000 m splits in 2:59 and 2:58. Along with breaking Fukushi's 2001-era junior record and clearing the Olympic standard, Hironaka moved up to all-time Japanese #5, following Nozomi Tanaka's all-time #2 15:00.01 at October's Doha World Championships to make this a pretty good year for the 5000 m by Japanese women…

Additional Cost of Moving Olympic Marathons and Race Walks to Sapporo Expected to Total Almost $100 Million

Multiple officials confirmed on Dec. 6 that the total additional cost of the IOC's decision to move the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks to Sapporo will be under 10 billion yen [~$92 million USD], likely totaling in the 7 to 8 billion yen range [~$65 million to $75 million USD]. The exact amount is still undetermined due to the IOC's rejection of the Organizing Committee's proposed two-lap course earlier this week, but the Organizing Committee intends to go ahead with this budget estimate.

Initially the IOC had decreed that the events should start and finish at Sapporo Dome. But with no access gate capable of handling a marathon, the construction costs necessary to make Sapporo Dome a suitable venue were said to be in the area of several billion yen [tens of millions of USD]. When the IOC made its proclamation that the road events would be relocated to Sapporo, the Citizens First Association group within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimated that the cost…

No Consensus Reached on Olympic Marathon Course - Impact on Athlete Preparations Inevitable

The IOC held an executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Dec. 4. With regard to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathons and race walks, which the IOC decreed last month must be moved to north as an effort to combat expected high temperatures, the IOC's executive board turned down a plan from the Tokyo organizing committee for the marathon to be held on a two-lap course through the Sapporo city center. The board did accept an out-and-back race walk course along the major street in front of Sapporo Station.

The schedule for the marathons was settled, with the women's marathon to be held Aug. 8 and the men's on Aug. 9. A start and finish point at Odori Park and a first lap consisting of 20 km were also finalized, but an agreement on the rest of the marathon course could not be reached. Tadashi Fukushima, head coach of the Fujitsu corporate team whose runner Shogo Nakamura won September's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials, called for a decision to be made as quickly a…

2020 Sapporo Olympic Marathons and Race Walks to be Held With Four-Day Schedule

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathons and race walks having been moved to Sapporo by the IOC, organizers have settled upon a four-day period for the events to be held and are currently in the final stages of settling the exact schedule. The men's marathon will be held as scheduled on the final day of the Olympic Games, Aug. 9, with the women's marathon moved from its original Aug. 2 date to Aug. 8. The three men's and women's race walk events will be held Aug. 6 and 7. Multiple sources involved in the planning confirmed the information.

The marathons will start and finish at Sapporo's Odori Park. The course will likely be a two-lap course through the city center as preferred by the organizing committee. World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, has insisted on a more compact course of around six laps, but in the interest of the Olympic Games having some sort of lasting legacy a proposal to use the course for a two-lap Olympic marathon as a half marat…

Singapore, Kosa, Minato and Nittai - Weekend Highlights

The Fukuoka International Marathon and Osaka Marathon were the two big headline-makers on the Japanese scene this weekend, but they were far from the only action to be had.

Just 13 days after running a four-minute CR of 2:27:39 to win the Kobe Marathon, Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) ran the first nighttime edition of the Singapore Marathon. Starting conservatively, Yamaguchi moved up through the field mid-race to be in four-way contention for 3rd place. In the last dash to the finish she ended up 5th in 2:37:29, the fastest time ever by a Japanese woman on Singaporean soil by almost 10 minutes. Among those she beat was Ethiopian Aberash Feysa, who outkicked Yamaguchi for the win at June's Stockholm Marathon.

In Okinawa, local Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanji AC) won the 35th edition of the Naha Marathon in 2:22:48. Corporate leaguer Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) won the women's race in 2:42:40.

In Kumamoto, the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler held its 44th running. Locally-based Kenyan Abraham Kapsis…

Mekuria and Tefera Bring Osaka Into the Game With Course Record Wins

The Fukuoka International Marathon is the traditional major player on Japan's December marathon calendar, but resting on traditional can only last so long. The Osaka Marathon, one of the world's ten largest mass-participation marathons, this year got into the elite game in a big way with its best-ever fields and a race date that put it head-to-head with Fukuoka.

Bidding to get into the IAAF/World Athletics road race label game, Osaka brought in enough quality internationals to keep its mostly amateur domestic field off the eight-deep podium. Aberu Mekuria (Ethiopia) dominated the women's race with a 2:26:29 course record, more than two minutes ahead of Kenyan mercenary runner-up Monica Jepkoech (Bahrain). 2017 Osaka winner Yumiko Kinoshita (Japan) ran the second-fastest time of her career, 2:35:16, but finished off the podium in 9th.

The men's race must have had the Fukuoka organizers sweating, as Ethiopian Asefa Tefera dropped a 2:07:47 course record for the win, lik…

Dazza Downs Fujimoto For Fukuoka Win

It came down to a race between #1-ranked El Mahjoub Dazza (Morocco) and top Japanese man Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) after 30 km, but the Moroccan proved the stronger as he pulled away to win the Fukuoka International Marathon in 2:07:10.

Japanese men had to run under the national record of 2:05:50 to score the last spot on the 2020 Olympic marathon team. Fujimoto, 2:08 man Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) and ambitious 2:12 guy Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) were the only ones to really give it a go, staying up front in the lead pack with most of the internationals, with Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) laying down the law at the head of the pacer group. A secondary lead group quickly separated off the back of the lead group, with Japan-based Kenyan Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo), 2:09:52 man Jo Fukuda (Nishitetsu), Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) and others cutting back to 2:07 pace. European marathon champ Koen Naert (Belgium) and Pan-Am Games gold medalist Christian Pacheco (Peru) were more co…

Fukuoka, Osaka, Kosa and More - Weekend Preview

The Fukuoka International Marathon is traditionally the main event on the Japanese calendar the first Sunday in December. Internationally its star is fading as Valencia's rises, but Fukuoka has still managed to pull together the kind of boutique field that has been its signature for decades. Moroccan El Mahjoub Dazza ran 2:05:26 in Valencia two years ago and leads four guys including 2018 European marathon champion Koen Naert (Belgium) under 2:08 plus the debuting Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya) and 9 others in the 2:08~2:09 range.

Domestically Fukuoka is the first race in the Final Challenge series, the chance for a Japanese man to steal the third spot on the 2020 Sapporo Olympic marathon team if he can break ex-Nike Oregon Projector Suguru Osako's 2:05:50 national record. There's not much chance that'll happen, but there are three people who could conceivably come close, Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin), 1:02:04 through halfway in Tokyo this spring, Taku Fujimoto (Toyota), 2:0…

61-Year-Old Mariko Yugeta Becomes First 60+ Woman to Go Sub-Three

61-year-old Mariko Yugeta of Saitama has become the first 60+ woman in history to run faster than three hours in the marathon. At the Nov. 3 Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon Yugeta ran 2:59:15 for 3rd place, smashing the 60+ world record of 3:02:50 by a wide margin. It was her 99th marathon and just shy of her PB of 2:58:05. When reporters visited her for an interview she was in the middle of a track session with a high school track team, doing a menu of 3000/2000/1000 m intervals in 11:23, 7:22 and 3:33. Yugeta said her daily routine includes 3 minutes standing on an inclined board every morning while brushing her teeth, and that she believes she can run 2:57.

source article:
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Keitany Leads 12 Under 28 Minutes at Hachioji Long Distance Meet, 138 Go Sub-29

Two of the year's biggest 10000 m time trial meets went down in miserably cold and wet conditions Saturday in Tokyo's western and southern suburbs as part of the buildup toward the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.

At Hosei University, the Hachioji Long Distance meet saw Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) lead twelve Japan-based Kenyans under 28 minutes in the fastest heat. No Japanese men did it, but sub-61 half marathoner Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) turned in the fastest Japanese time of the weekend with a 28:06.51 PB to win the A-heat. Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) was almost as fast in the B-heat, winning in a PB of 28:08.80. Komazawa University's star first-year Ren Tazawa made an impressive debut in 28:13.21 for 2nd behind Mogi, the fastest collegiate time of the weekend. Special mention to D-heat winner Shoya Kawase (Kogakkan Univ.), and 4th-placer Takato Imai (Ritsumeikan Univ.) whose times of 28:26.37 and 28:31.76 were new regional records for their western J…

Japan Post Leads Start to Finish to Win National Corporate Women's Ekiden

2016 national champion Japan Post led start to finish to win the 2019 Queen's Ekiden, the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships in one of the closest finishes in the event's history. Running on her 19th birthday, Japan Post's star rookie Ririka Hironaka took control early, pushing the pace and kicking from 2 km out on the 7 km First Stage to open 20 seconds on two-time defending champ Panasonic and break the course record by 18 seconds. Miyaka Sugata more than doubled the lead on the 3.9 km Second Stage, with third runner Ayuko Suzuki, one of the two women to have qualified so far for the 2020 Olympic marathon team, losing only 6 seconds to Panasonic's Yuka Hori.

Hori brought Panasonic back into 2nd after a rocky Second Stage, but further back last year's 2nd and 3rd place teams Tenmaya and Daihatsu got off to slow starts, Daihatsu 8th on the opening stage and only up to 7th by the end of the Third Stage, and Tenmaya going from 11th to 18th and back …

Hachioji, Keio and the National Corporate Women's Ekiden - Weekend Preview (updated)

It's yet another big weekend of racing in Japan. Saturday sees two of the year's biggest 10000 m meets, both in the greater Tokyo area. At Kanagawa's Keio University the Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials will have two tiers of scholarship money from the KGRR for any men who break 29 minutes or 29:20 and for women who go under 34 minutes or 34:20. Most of the top Hakone Ekiden programs will have big numbers of people there, with one of the most notable entries being the return of Meiji University's Hiroki Abe, 27:56.45 this time last year but out with injury so far this season.

Most of the top collegians though will be out in Tokyo's western suburbs at Hosei University for the Hachioji Long Distance Meet. 2019 World University Games half marathon medalists Akira Aizawa (Toyo Univ.) and Tatsuhiko Ito (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) are entered, along with #1-ranked 1st-yr Ren Tazawa (Komazawa Univ.) who is also entered at Keio. All three won their stages earlier thi…

Ohtawara City Government Plans to Drop Its Two Major Public Events, the Ohtwara Marathon and Yoichi Festival

On Nov. 20 it was learned that the Ohtawara municipal government is seriously considering discontinuing two of the city's major events, the Ohtawara Marathon and the Ohtawara Yoichi Festival. Due to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Tochigi National Sports Festival the two events are likely to not be held for a period of at least three years, but due to the financial burden on the area including construction of a new city hall, city officials will undertake a serious review of all municipal expenditures.

The Ohtawara Marathon began in 1988 as the only JAAF-certified full marathon course in the prefecture of Tochigi. It has served as a gateway to the marathon for young athletes, with top placers earning invitations to the Paris Marathon. Over 85,000 people have run it, bringing a tangible financial benefit to the region. But in recent years the spread of mass participation marathons across the country has impacted the event. For this year's 32nd running only 3,500 people en…

Saitama International Marathon Elite Field

The first women's race in the 2020 Sapporo Olympic marathon team Final Challenge, the chance for a Japanese woman to pick up the third spot on the Olympic team by running 2:22:22 or better, in its 5th edition the Saitama International Marathon continues its slide toward oblivion as an elite race. The international field is good, and well-positioned to set it up for a Japanese woman to attack that kind of time with 2:21:53 Ethiopian Belaynesh Oljira and debuting 1:05:06 Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir in the foreground, but Japanese women have almost entirely given it a miss. Only one independent runner, Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and one semi-corporate leaguer, Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) are on the  entry list, raising the obvious question of why bother?

Saitama is popular as a mass-participation race, and it is raised a little higher by the quality of internationals it attracts. But as a national team selection race, it seems like only a matter of time before it loses that status to the…

SGH Group, Toyota and YKK Win Final Three New Year Ekiden Qualifiers

The last two qualifying races for the 64th New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships on Jan.1 took place Nov. 17. At the 62nd Kansai Corporate Ekiden in Wakayama, 14 teams competed for the 4 spots available at the New Year Ekiden. The SGH Group team covered the 7-stage, 80.45 km course in 3:57:43 to claim its first win in 2 years. Sumitomo Denko was 2nd just 13 seconds back from SGH Group, with Osaka Gas taking 3rd in a team record performance. Last year's winner NTT Nishi Nihon placed 4th to round out the list of qualifiers.

At the Chubu / Hokuriku Corporate Ekiden, local powerhouse Toyota ran 3:55:38 for the 7-stage, 80.5 km course to win the Chubu region division for the sixth year in a row. On the Fourth Stage Toyota dropped back from leader Toyota Boshoku, but after getting back on track with quality runs from captain Minato Oishi on the Fifth Stage and 2020 Olympic marathon team member Yuma Hattori on the anchor stage the team succeeded in opening a 2:14 ma…

Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.

After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed …

Japanese Amateur Yamaguchi and Ugandan Kusuro Break Kobe Course Records

Amateur Japanese club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro had dominant wins at the 9th running of the Kobe Marathon Sunday, both running PBs and winning by almost 4 minutes in course record time.

Yamaguchi, who ran a PB 2:33:06 in Sydney in September and dropped a surprise 31:58 at last weekend's East Japan Women's Ekiden, slipped away early, never challenged by the pack of invited African elites or by friend and rival club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto). Going through halfway faster than her half marathon PB in 1:13:08. She slowed slightly in the second half, especially on the large bridge out to the island finish line, but her win was never in doubt as she broke the tape in 2:27:39. Previously, the fastest pure amateur Japanese women's marathon performance was Chihiro Tanaka's 2:29:30 in Nagoya in 2002. Breaking that by almost two minutes, Yamaguchi staked her claim as Japan's best-ever amateur.

2nd through 5th were close together…

800 m High School National Record Holder Clay to Attend Texas A&M

2019 men's 800 m national champion and Soyo H.S. 3rd-year Aaron Tatsunami Clay will enroll in America's Texas A&M University next September, it was learned on Nov. 14. Until then he plans to remain based at Soyo in preparation to go for the win at next year's National Championships and to clear the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard.

The prestigious Texas A&M is where Donovan Brazier (U.S.A.), winner of the gold medal in the men's 800 m at this fall's Doha World Championships, is enrolled. Soyo H.S. head coach Mitsuru Zeniya, 53, who accompanied Clay on a visit to see the university, was supportive of Clay's decision and goals, saying, "He just barely missed the World Championships qualifying standard. If he trains with athletes who are stronger than him he'll grow more."

Last year at the October Niigata Autumn Time Trials meet Clay set a national high school record of 1:47.51 for 800 m. At the National Championships in June this yea…

IOC's Coates Insists Sapporo 2020 Men's Marathon Be Held on Last Day of Olympics

Speaking about the relocation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics road events to Sapporo at a press conference in Sydney on Nov. 13, IOC coordination committee chairperson John Coates reiterated the IOC's insistence that the men's marathon be staged on the final day of the Olympics, Aug. 9, saying, "It is to be held on the last day of the Olympics, and the athletes must be put on a plane and returned (to Tokyo) in time for the closing ceremonies."

In response to the IOC's edict that the premier event of the Olympics, the men's marathon, be moved out of Tokyo to Sapporo, 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori had indicated that the date of the men's marathon would be changed in order to overcome the logistical impossibilities created by the move to Sapporo. The IOC responded by saying the marathon was still to be held on the 9th. "No final decision has yet been made, but the organizers should be prepared to hold it on the s…

Olympic Marathon Trials Winner Nakamura on Sapporo: "Decide On the Course As Soon As Possible"

2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) sat for interviews with the media on Nov. 12 in Chiba. With regard to the IOC's decision to move the marathon to Sapporo he said, "All I have to do is add specific preparation for the features of the course. If they can settle on the course as soon as possible then there will be more time to prepare for it. How I train will change depending on whether it's flat or has uphills."

Nakamura said that after winning the Olympic marathon trials on Sept. 15 he took a month off to recover mentally and physically, and is now back to training. His corporate team Fujitsu finished 17th at the Nov. 3 East Japan Corporate Ekiden, meaning that Nakamura won't run in the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships. "That doesn't really have a big impact," he said. With regard to his upcoming plans before the Olympics he said, "I'm not planning to do another marathon. I think I'll probably do…

Mazda Wins Fifth-Straight Chugoku Corporate Ekiden

The regional qualifier for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships, the Chugoku Corporate Men's Ekiden took place Nov. 10. Eight teams competed for the four places at the New Year Ekiden up for grabs.

Aiming for a fifth-straight win, the Mazda team led from the start. On the Second Stage Chudenko overtook them for the top position, holding on to the lead through the Third and Fourth Stages. But with a stage record-breaking run on the Fifth Stage Mazda's Masatoshi Teranishi succeeded in turning the team's fortunes around, putting it in position for a first-ever fifth-straight Chugoku title and leading it on to the New Year Ekiden. Chudenko, Chugoku Denryoku and JFE Steel all likewise qualified.
58th Chugoku Jitsugyodan EkidenSera, Hiroshima, 11/10/19
8 teams, 7 stages, 80.8 km
complete results

Team Results - top 4 qualify for New Year Ekiden
1. Mazda - 4:00:10 - CR
2. Chudenko - 4:02:35
3. Chugoku Denryoku - 4:03:51
4. JFE Steel - 4:06:13
5. Takeda Yakuhin - 4…