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Showing posts from July, 2020

Mt. Fuji Marathon, Last Remaining Japanese Marathon of 2020 With >5000 Runners, Canceled

The organizers of the Nov. 29 Mt. Fuji International Marathon announced on July 31st that this year's race has been canceled. In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis organizers had previously postponed opening race registrations, but in consideration of the health and safety of local residents in Fujikawaguchiko who would serve as race volunteers, and of the inevitability of crowded conditions at the start and at water stations, the decision was made to cancel. In place of the marathon, the organizers plan to stage a virtual race in November. Runners from all over the world will be able to participate, and organizers are working hard on plans to make it an experience worthy of the Mt. Fuji name. Details will be announced in late August on the race website. Translator's note: With 7,200 finishers last time, the M.t Fuji International Marathon was the last remaining Japanese marathon in 2020 with over 5000 finishers that had not yet canceled. Only the Dec. 6 Fukuoka Int

World's #1 10-Miler, Dec. 6 Kumamoto Kosa Road Race Canceled for First Time

On July 29 the organizing committee of the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Mile Road Race , the world's premier 10-miler, announced that due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, this year's 45th running scheduled for Dec. 6 has been canceled. It is the first cancelation since the race was first held in 1976. According to organizers, they had taken steps to reduce the risk of infection at the race, but with the rapid spread of new cases within Kumamoto prefecture they decided it would be too difficult to still manage successfully. A JAAF-certified course, the race begins and ends at the Kosa village office. Last year 170 elite athletes domestic and foreign ran in the 10 mile (16.093 km) division with additional runners in the high school boys' 10 km, junior high school boys' 5 km and women's 5 km. Translator's note: Kosa is held the same day as the Fukuoka International Marathon, on the same island just to the southwest. source article:

Mar. 14, 2021 Shizuoka Marathon Canceled

At its general meeting on July 28, the organizing committee of the Shizuoka Marathon came to the decision to cancel next year's race, scheduled for Mar. 14, 2021. With no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, the organizing committee did not feel it would be possible to follow government coronavirus guidelines and ensure an environment completely free of infection risk for fans, volunteers, staff and others. The Shizuoka Marathon is a popular event that attracts roughly 14,000 runners from across the country and abroad. Following its cancelation this year in the early days of the crisis, this represents the event's second-straight cancelation. Translator's note: Shizuoka is at least the fourth large Japanese marathon of 2021 to have canceled so far. In its last running it had 9,802 finishers along with thousands more in accompanying shorter distances.  A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December, representi

Marathons and Ekidens at Risk of Extinction Due to Overly Strict JAAF Coronavirus Guidelines

an unsigned editorial in the Nikkan Gendai "The hurdles are just too high to overcome." Those are the words of a staff member at one of the Hakone Ekiden regulars. On July 27 it was announced that the Oct. 11 Izumo Ekiden had been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis. As the first of the Big Three University Ekidens, its cancelation is bound to have an impact not just on the Nov. 1 National University Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, but on the corporate league, junior high and high school national ekiden championships, the National Women's Ekiden and National Men's Ekiden, and the major marathons' chances of being held. "The JAAF's 'Road Race Staging Guidance' preconditions that it issued in June are extremely strict," commented the same university team leader. "It goes without saying that being able to stage a race depends upon any declaration of a state of emergency having been canceled, but if you look at the conditions

Top University Teams Join Okukuma Ekiden Field Following Izumo Cancelation

Ten top men's university ekiden teams centered in the competitive Kanto Region are expected to run the first edition of the Okukuma Ekiden in Tanagi, Kumamoto on Oct. 4. The new event will feature high school, university and corporate league teams racing each other over a 42.195 km course. Starting together, the  university and corporate team divisions will be divided into four stages, with the high school division dividing the longer stages to cover the same total distance in seven stages. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus crisis the Tanagi area has been battered by severe rain and flooding in recent weeks, but race organizers remain determined to stage the event with measures potentially including barring spectators from the course. "The roads on the course suffered no damage from the flooding," commented a race official. "The determining factor on whether the event can go ahead will be the situation regarding the coronavirus. We will make a series of dec

Yonezawa and Kanno Run World Leads in Sendai

Since July 23 official track time trials have returned to Miyagi prefecture. Despite this summer's National High School Championships having been canceled local high school athletes have been training hard, and the work they put in has paid off with good results. On July 25 the 41st Sendai Long Distance Time Trials meet took place at Athlete Park Sendai Field in Sendai's Miyagino Ward. Sendai Ikuei H.S. 2nd-year Nanako Yonezawa 16, produced the biggest result of the day in the women's 1500 m. Last season as a first-year she won the Second Stage at the National High School Ekiden Championships, contributing to Sendai Ikuei's team victory. In the 1500 m she led from the early stages of the race, kicking off the last corner to take the win. Her time of 4:18.52 was a PB that broke the 25-year-old Miyagi prefecture high school record. It was also the fastest U18 time in the world this year and second-fastest U20 time by just 0.22. "My goal was to hit the Nationa

Izumo Ekiden Officially Canceled

Still under discussion up to this point as to whether it could be held as scheduled on Oct. 11, the Izumo Ekiden has officially been canceled, with the municipal government of the event's host city, Izumo, Shimane, having already informed all major involved parties of its decision. Mayor Hideto Nagaoka , 69, held a press conference on July 27 to formally announce the move. Those involved in the event and fans alike had raised their voices in support of the event going ahead when news emerged last week of the likelihood that the city government would cancel it. Inter-University Athletics Union officials were desperate to avoid a cancelation as it would have a major impact on whether other major races including the National University Ekiden and the Hakone Ekiden will go ahead this season. But the coronavirus numbers continue to go up, not only in Tokyo but nationwide. The risks inherent in athletes and staff coming in from across the country coupled with the difficulty of s

Eighteen New Meet Records at 83rd Tokyo Track and Field Championships

Even more than in Osaka , top-level Japanese athletes turned out in big numbers for the 83rd Tokyo Track and Field Championships , stretched out over a leisurely four-day schedule this weekend at Komazawa Stadium. Despite terrible weather conditions throughout the long weekend they brought new meet records in eighteen events, breaking some records that had stood for over 50 years. All three men's sprints saw new meet records. 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics men's 4x100 m relay silver medalist Aska Cambridge (Nike) ran a meet record 10.29 (+0.3) to win his 100 m opening heat, improved that to 10.26 (-0.3) to take his semifinal, then took the record further again with a 10.22 (-0.8) win in the final. Keigo Yasuda (Daito Bunka Univ.) tied the men's 200 m meet record at 20.97 (-1.0) to win the final. Daichi Inoue (Nihon Univ.) ran 46.81 to break the previous men's 400 m meet record of 47.05, set in 1996 before he was born. Men's middle distance also had new meet r

Ten New Meet Records at 88th Osaka Track and Field Championships

In the midst of rapidly rising new coronavirus infection numbers, Osaka held the 88th edition of its prefectural track and field championships at the massive Nagai Stadium over Thursday and Friday's national holidays. Not usually a big draw for high-level talent, the lack of racing opportunities these days meant more big names than usual, including 2017 and 2019 World Championships men's 4x100 m bronze medalist Shuhei Tada (Sumitomo Denko), who won the 100 m final in 10.46 (-0.5), and women's discus throw national record holder Nanaka Kori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.), who dropped one of ten new meet records at the meet, six by women and four by men. A breakdown of the new records: Seika Aoyama (Osaka Seikei AC) ran the second-fastest 400 m time ever by a Japanese woman, 52.38, to win her qualifying heat in meet record time, going on to win the final in 54.11. Yuzu Nishide (Kansai Gaikokugo Univ.) took almost 15 seconds off the women's 3000 m steeplechase meet r

Hakone Ekiden Anchor Stage Record Breaker Yudai Shimazu Taking Leave of Absence From Soka University

On July 21 it was learned that Soka University third-year Yudai Shimazu , who at January's Hakone Ekiden broke the 13-year-old anchor stage course record to give Soka its first-ever top ten finish, first return trip to Hakone 2021, and first invitation to the Izumo Ekiden, has taken a leave of absence from the university. Shimazu started the Hakone anchor stage in 11th but succeeded in running down two teams to put Soka into 9th. He earnied special attention for having done it while being one of only 33 runners in the Hakone field of 210 not to wear Nike's Zoom X Vaporfly Next %, instead wearing a white pair of Mizunos. On the 21st, the Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) announced the seven teams it will send to the Nov. 1 National University Men's Ekiden Championships. In a normal year these teams would earn their places at June's Yosenkai qualifying race, each team fielding two runners in each of four heats of 10000 m on the track with teams scored b

Dec. 6 Shonan International Marathon Postponed to 2021

Earlier today the organizers of the Dec. 6 Shonan International Marathon , with 16,821 finishers last year one of Japan's biggest marathons and the only one left this year with over 10,000 finishers that hadn't yet canceled, published a press release announcing that the race will be postponed to an optimistic Feb. 28, 2021 date. The press release also said that in an effort to eliminate plastic garbage along the seaside course, there would be no drink tables provided at the race and that runners would need to carry their own drinks. The announcement of Shonan's postponement means there are just three significant marathons left in Japan from October through the end of the year. The Nov. 29 Mt. Fuji Marathon, 7,200 finishers in its last edition, is scheduled to make an announcement by the end of next week, its cancelation seeming all but a given. The Fukuoka International Marathon, also Dec. 6, has yet to make any public announcement. The Dec. 20 Hofu Marathon offered a

Cancelation Looms for Season-Opening Izumo Ekiden

In an interview on July 21, an official with the Oct. 11 Izumo Ekiden confirmed that organizers are examining canceling the race, the first of the Big Three university men's ekidens along with November's National University Ekiden and January's Hakone Ekiden. As the number of new cases of coronavirus infection in the Tokyo metropolitan area continues to climb there are growing concerns about the safety of the 2500 volunteers and race staff who must interact with athletes and fans coming from Tokyo, leading to more calls for the event's cancelation. Izumo mayor Hideto Nagaoka , 69, is expected to hold a press conference on July 27 to make a formal announcement. Held in Izumo, Shimane, the Izumo Ekiden is the season-opener for Japan's ultra competitive university men's ekiden season. Ten schools from the greater Tokyo area are scheduled to compete. A spokesperson from the Izumo City Sports Department commented, "As far as holding it goes, it's all or

January's Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon Becomes Third 10,000+ Japanese Marathon of 2021 to Cancel

We would like to extend our thanks to all of you for your understanding regarding the ongoing situation around our ability to stage our event. We have explored every option to hold the 40th anniversary edition of the Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon as scheduled on Jan. 10, 2021, but in the interest of preventing the further spread of the novel coronavirus and with the health and safety of our runners, volunteers, and local supporters being our top priority, we have decided to postpone the race for one year. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but ask again for your understanding. As an alternative event, we plan to hold a virtual race to commemorate our 40th anniversary. Details will be announced later, but we hope that by taking part you can still experience some of the beauty of our course and the bounty of locally-produced specialties, even from far away. We will continue to work with all our ability toward holding the 40th anniversary race in January, 2022 an

National High School Ekiden May Be Held Without Passing Tasuki

At an executive board meeting in Osaka, the organizing committee of the 71st National High School Boys Ekiden and 32nd National High School Girls Ekiden , both scheduled for Dec. 20 in Kyoto, agreed to consider a proposal to stage the race without teams passing a tasuki as a measure to counter the spread of the coronavirus. The committee also discussed other preventative measures, working on the assumption that both the prefectural qualification events and Nationals itself will be held as planned. Passing the tasuki, the sash worn over one shoulder and across the chest, is one of the ekiden's most characteristic features. But many athletes feel that it represents a high risk of becoming a vector for infection due to contamination with droplets from each runner.  The organizing committee is exploring alternatives to using a tasuki, taking into account JAAF guidelines for reducing infection risk at events. The committee aims to establish guidelines as to whether the opening and

2021 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon Canceled

We regret to announce that the 75th anniversary running of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon scheduled for Feb. 7, 2021 will not take place. After careful consideration we determined that, with no visible end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, for the health and safety of participants, volunteers, staff, medical and rescue personnel, fans along the course and everyone else involved with our event, our 75th running must be postponed for one year. We apologize to everyone who had anticipated taking part in our race, but we ask for your understanding of this difficult situation. We hope for a solution to the coronavirus situation and look forward to welcoming you all to our next race on Feb. 6, 2022. We will be busily preparing for that day and thank you all for your continued support of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon. Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon Organizing Committee Translator's note: This is the third major Japanese race of 20

Omi and Nishioka Win Mt. Ushimatsu Vertical Race

Ryunosuke Omi , winner of last month's Mt. Kosha Vertical Mile , returned Sunday to win Kyoto's Mt. Ushimatsu Vertical Race , a 2 km trail race with 464 m elevation gain, each runner covering the course twice with a two-hour break in between. With runners starting at 30-second intervals Omi had the fastest time among the 74 men in the race, covering two circuits of the course in 16:57 to win by over a minute. Triathlete Maki Nishioka beat international-level mountain and sky running specialist Yuri Yoshizumi to win the women's race in her trail debut, running 20:54 to Yoshizumi's 22:24. 3rd Mt. Ushimatsu Vertical Race Kinki Region Championships Kameoka, Kyoto, 19 July 2020 2.0 km, 464 m elevation gain run twice 4.0 km, 928 elevation gain total finishers: 74 men, 40 women complete results Men 1. Ryunosuke Omi 16:57 2. Tomofumi Miyagawa 18:10 3. Shin Futamata 18:14 Women 1. Maki Nishioka 20:54 2. Yuri Yoshizumi 22:24 3. Yuko Tateishi 22:25 © 2020 B

Breaking Down the Top Performances at the 2020 Hokuren Distance Challenge Series

After months off from competition, the athletes at this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge produced high-level performances across the board, with world-leading times at all four meets in the series and a string of Japanese national records. Using World Athletics scoring tables to compare performances across distances and meets, Rosemary Wanjiru (Starts) turned in the best run of the series with her world-leading 30:38.18 in the Abashiri meet 10000 m. Benard Kibet (Kyudenko) had the best men's performance of the series when he held off Bedan Karoki (Toyota) to win the Fukagawa meet 10000 m with a 27:14.84 world leader. Kibet was the only athlete male or female to have two performances inside the overall ten best in the series, his 13:11.77 win in the Abashiri 5000 m ranking at #9. Among Japanese athletes, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) had the top performance of the series with her 31:23.30 PB in the Abashiri 10000 m. Four Japanese women turned in five performances inside

Miura Runs Steeplechase World Lead, Ishida Breaks 5000 m High School NR to Wrap 2020 Hokuren Distance Challenge

With world-leading marks at all three meets in the series so far, the 2020 Hokuren Distance Challenge wrapped Saturday in Chitose with an unexpected bang as 18-year-old Juntendo University first-year Ryuji Miura delivered a world-leading 8:19.37 to win the men's 3000 m steeplechase. Showing zero fear over the last lap, in a sprint finish Miura overtook Kenyan Philemon Kiplagat Ruto (Aisan Kogyo) in the last 50 m for the win, taking down the collegiate and U20 national records in the process and just missing the straight up national record, set when Miura was a one-year-old, by 0.44, ranking him all-time #2. 3rd-placer Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) and 4th-placer Ryoma Aoki (Honda) also broke into the all-time Japanese top ten, Yamaguchi coming in at #5 in 8:25.04 and Aoki #6 in 8:25.85. And there were other records and all-time marks. On the women's side the best came in the 5000 m A-heat, where a lead group of eight went out even with NR pace with a 2:59 opening 1000

Today's Race - Live Streaming of Hokuren Distance Challenge Finale in Chitose

All three meets so far in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series have produced world-leading times. The series finale happens today in Chitose, Hokkaido. Live streaming starts at 14:30 local time, with the main races starting at 17:40. Meet schedule is here . Start lists in Japanese are here .

2021 Katsuta Marathon Canceled - 10,627 Finishers This Year

Due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus crisis, on July 14 the organizing committee of the 69th Katsuta Marathon , scheduled for Jan. 31, 2021, made the decision to cancel the race. After careful study and discussion the organizing committee determined that it would be impossible to stage the event in a way that would assure the safety of all participants and staff from infection. We apologize to all the runners who had looked forward to taking part in our event, to the volunteers who every year provide the warmest hospitality to the runners, and to the companies who generously support the race. We thank you all for your understanding. In addition to the Katsuta Marathon, the Dec. 6 Mihama Ekiden likewise held in the city of Hitachinaka has also been canceled. In place of the two events, we will hold a virtual marathon and running photo contest to provide runners with the opportunity to unite in running. Once finalized details on these events will be posted to the Katsuta Mar

Hattori Targeting 2:05:30 Before Olympics

On July 16 Tokyo Olympics marathoner Yuma Hattori (Toyota) talked to media in Abashiri, Hokkaido about his plans for the remaining year before the Olympic Games. "I have a lot of room to develop," he said. "I want to improve both my ability and my competitiveness." Setting himself a high bar to clear before the main event, he said, "I want to do a marathon where I go for breaking 2:05:30." On the 15th Hattori ran a 10000 m PB of 27:56.32 at the Hokuren Distance Challenge meet in Abashiri. "After the race I was relieved that I did it, but if I'm satisfied with a time like this then I'll never medal," he said. His coach Toshinobu Sato indicated that in early August Hattori will do a test run on the Olympic marathon course in Sapporo. In the fall he will do another 10000 m, then a marathon, likely either the Fukuoka International Marathon or Tokyo Marathon. source article:

Wanjiru 30:38.18 World Lead at Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet

Longtime Japan resident Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) turned in the run of the day at Wednesday's Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri meet in Hokkaido, soloing a world-leading 30:38.18 to win the women's 10000 m. In the very early going Wanjiru had company from Tokyo Olympic marathon team member Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal), but for most of the race she was completely on her own at a steady 3:03 to 3:04/1000 m. Wanjiru ended up just short of the 30:35.75 she ran for 4th at last fall's Doha World Championships, but her time bettered the world-leading time by almost a minute and took over 3 seconds off the Japanese all-comers' record of 30:41.85 set two years ago by Pauline Kamulu at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet. Ichiyama, who ran 32:03.95 for 2nd in this year's Fukagawa meet six days ago, was 2nd again in a PB of 31:23.30 that also bettered the previous world-leading mark of 31:34.94 set by Fukagawa winner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya). Sayaka Sato (Se

National University Ekiden Qualification System Left Up to Each Region

The method of determining team qualification for the 52nd National University Men's Ekiden Champiionships on Nov. 1 has been left up to each regional university athletics association. For the first time since 1997, the ultra-competitive Kanto Region will choose its allotment of non-seeded teams by combining team members' official 10000 m PBs rather than by a qualification race. The Kansai Region is also considering the same approach of qualification based on athletes' official 10000 m bests. According to the Inter-University Athletics Union of Kansai , three of the four slots awarded to Kansai based on last year's results at Nationals will be determined by the combined official 10000 m bests of each team's eight fastest athletes. The fourth team will be selected by Kansai officials based on discussions around the impact of the coronavirus crisis upon each school's ability to conduct team training and other limiting circumstances this year. In the Kanto Regio

Today's Race - Live Streaming of Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet

Both meets so far in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series have produced world-leading times. This is #3. Live streaming starts at 15:15 local time today, with the main races starting at 17:40. Meet schedule is here . Start lists in Japanese are here .

Golden Grand Prix to Go Ahead at Olympic Stadium Without Fans or Foreigners

On July 13 the JAAF officially confirmed earlier reports that the Seiko Golden Grand Prix meet originally scheduled to have been held in May will take place Aug. 23 at Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium. It will be the first track and field events staged at the rebuilt Olympic Stadium. As part of the World Athletics Continental Tour the Golden Grand Prix hosts some of the world's top international athletes every year, but amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis that is not possible this year and participants will be limited to athletes within Japan. Instead, the JAAF will offer some of the country's highest-potential high school talent the chance to compete in the meet against some of the biggest domestic names in hopes of making up for the cancelation of this year's National High School Championships. The meet program is still be finalized and will be announced when ready. The Golden Grand Prix will be held without spectators, but it will be broadcast by TBS and a livestr

Omuta High School Ekiden Team Helps Clean Up Elderly Alum's Restaurant After Kyushu Flooding

In the MIkawa neighborhood of Omuta, Fukuoka, the udon restaurant Donbeian was among the many victims of the large-scale flooding to strike Kyushu. Despite there being little chance the restaurant will be able to reopen in the foreseeable future, the entire local Omuta H.S. boys' ekiden team turned up on July 10 to help clean it out as a gesture of support for owner and Omuta H.S. alumnus Hirofumi Esaki , 66. Even as the rains continued to fall Esaki said, "Thanks to the kids I can at least see a way forward now. Donbeian will definitely be back." Floodwaters overcame the restaurant midday on July 6, rapidly rising to waist-deep level. Tables and seats from the customer area were strewn everywhere, with cooking utensils and bowls floating in the muddy waters. "I was in the second-floor office," recalled Esaki. "It was all I could do to get the heavy noodle-stretching machine away from the water and up to a higher place." By July 8 the floodwaters

With Half a Year to Go It’s Time to Figure Out How to Save Hakone

an editorial by Tadasu Imamura It’s still half a year away, but considering the current state of the coronavirus crisis it’s no sure bet that the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden will happen. The Yosenkai, Hakone’s Oct. 17 qualifying race, won’t be held on its traditional course starting at the Tachikawa SDF Base airfield and finishing inside Showa Kinen Park. To combat the spread of the virus the Yosenkai will instead be held without spectators on a multi-lap course inside the base . The Kanto Region’s qualifying event for November’s National University Ekiden was scheduled to have been held in June. But again, due to the coronavirus crisis that has changed, with the KGRR now planning to send the seven teams with the fastest combined eight-man 10000 m times to fill the region’s quota of non-seeded teams. The fact that the Hakone Yosenkai is happening probably indicates a hard-edged sense that the Hakone main event simply has to happen. With many universities still limiting team activiti

Golden Grand Prix Meet to Be Rescheduled Aug. 23 at Olympic Stadium

In an interview on July 10, an official confirmed that the JAAF is planning to reschedule the Seiko Golden Grand Prix meet, originally set to have been held in May at Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium, for Aug. 23. To make up for the cancelation of August's National High School Championships the JAAF is also looking at ways to add events in which high school athletes can compete to the meet. The Golden Grand Prix will be the first track and field meet held at the main venue for the Tokyo Olympics. Completed in December last year, in January it was used as the venue for the National Soccer Championships and National University Rugby Championships final matches. source article: translated by Brett Larner

"If I Could Tell the Younger Me What I've Accomplished He'd Cry" - Okinawa Record Holder Tatsunori Hamasaki

Running through driving cold rain, the pride of Okinawan long distance, Tatsunori Hamasaki , pushed on. The race was the Tokyo Marathon. The date, Mar. 3, 2019, was the culmination of 18 years of competitive life. At 5˚C he was chilled to the core and his eyes blurred. Runners ahead of him dropped out, the second-worst finisher rate in Tokyo history. Hamasaki's legs stiffened and he had trouble moving. "I knew my time would be laughable, but I kept going," he said. "I didn't want it to end in a DNF." That time was far from what he'd hoped, but still he made it to the finish line. The Tokyo Marathon was his chance to qualify for the Marathon Grand Championship Tokyo Olympic Games marathon trials. He finished 81st in 2:23:57. Telling himself, "I'm not going to give up until it's over," Hamasaki doubled back and ran the Apr. 21 Nagano Marathon, his absolute chance. He finished 9:22 off the time he needed to qualify. With no more chance