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2019 Japanese Distance Rankings - updated 11/4/19

2019 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.

Past years:
2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016 ・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Shitara to Go For National Record in Tokyo: "I Care About the 100 Million Yen Bonus More Than the Olympics"

In his first race since finishing 14th at the Sept. 15 MGC Race Olympic marathon trials, former marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) ran the Nov. 3 East Japan Corporate Men's Ekiden, finishing 2nd on its Third Stage. "Even if you're tired, that's no excuse," he said. "I went to the starting line with confidence and ran the best I could according to how I'm feeling right now."

There's a lot of attention right now on the last remaining spot on the 2020 Olympic marathon team. The first two spots were secured by the 1st and 2nd-placers at the MGC Race, Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) and Yuma Hattori (Toyota). To claim the last remaining spot, someone has to break the Japanese national record and run at least 2:05:49 at this winter's Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon or Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. If nobody succeeds, the spot will go to MGC 3rd-placer and current national record holder Suguru Osako (ex-Nike Oregon Project…

Osako Criticizes People Who Think He Is Doping, Calling Them "Really Simple-Minded"

On Nov. 10, men's marathon national record holder Suguru Osako took to Twitter to lash out at people who suspect him of doping. Sponsored by Nike, Osako was a longtime member of the Nike Oregon Project team. The team's head coach Alberto Salazar was recently suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for four years as the result of an investigation into his misuse of restricted substances and methods.

Osako posted his opinions on his Twitter account @sugurusako at 8:46 a.m. on Nov. 10, denying that he has doped. "It seems like people seem to think that what happened with the Oregon Project means that I'm already guilty of doping, but anyone who thinks that way is really, really simple-minded," he wrote. "My coach never even once told me to take drugs or get injections that I didn't understand, and I've checked every single supplement and throat lozenge that's gone in my mouth."

At the Nike Oregon Project Osako was not coached…

Kobe and Osaka Marathon Elite Fields

Two of Japan's main fall amateur marathons are stepping up their game this year with their best-ever elite fields. Looking to upgrade its IAAF label from bronze to silver, the Nov. 17 Kobe Marathon has an elite field with three women under 2:30 and three men under 2:11 in the last three years. Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and Betty Jepleting (Kenya) lead the women, with Eliud Barngetuny (Kenya) and Weldu Negash Gebretsadik (Norway) fronting the men.

The men's race will almost definitely see an international winner, with veteran Chiharu Takada (JR Higashi Nihon) the top Japanese man at 2:11:25 on the Gold Coast two years ago, but the women's race has a good chance of seeing a Japanese winner. Along with Yoshida, it has sub-2:30 woman Yurie Doi (Tos Planning) and amateur duo Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto), both with low-2:33 PBs earlier this fall and keen to join the sub-2:30 club.

With a field of 30,000 the Osaka Marathon is one of the world's…